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Ontario Budget 2023 a missed opportunity to create affordable co-op homes

Today, the province of Ontario released its 2023 budget. We appreciate the government’s additional investment in Indigenous supportive housing and homelessness prevention, as well as a long-term commitment to build new market housing supply. However, the budget was a missed opportunity to create more affordable co-op homes for low- and moderate-income households, a significant part of the population feeling the real effects of the housing crisis.

Nearly half of the 44,000 co-op homes that exist in Ontario today are a product of dedicated provincial programs that supported co-op and non-profit development over thirty years ago. These co-op homes have been one of Ontario’s most resilient housing solutions, particularly in recent years as rents have soared and households face rising food costs.

A recent report by housing researchers showed that typical co-op housing charges for one and two-bedroom apartments are approximately one third less than comparable market rents in most major cities across Canada, and that the gap widened sharply in recent years. For co-op members in Ottawa and Toronto, this translates into an average of $400-$500 in savings per month, per household. We know that hundreds of thousands of Ontarians would be better able to make ends meet if they had access to a co-op home.

“The co-op housing sector is ready to do our part to solve the housing crisis,” states Tim Ross, Executive Director of CHF Canada. “We want to work with the province of Ontario to offer more co-op housing options for people across the province. Every day, co-ops in Ontario hear from people looking for affordable homes. Our members are committed to growing the co-op housing sector so that more people can experience the security and community co-operative housing has to offer.”

Not only do co-ops become increasingly affordable over time, they help build healthy communities. Co-op housing exists halfway between rental and homeownership. Members are responsible for the success of their co-op, and are actively engaged in the decisions that affect their community.

Alongside economic and housing policy leaders, CHF Canada continues to call for a new made-in-Ontario affordable housing program to help address the severe shortage of housing affordable to low- and moderate-income households in the province. There is a growing consensus that based on current trajectories market-based housing solutions will likely never be affordable to many Ontario households. While Budget 2023 was a missed opportunity, CHF Canada looks forward to working with the government of Ontario to find lasting solutions to our housing crisis that benefit everyone.

A renewed partnership with the co-op housing sector is essential to creating a lasting solution to Ontario’s housing crisis.

CHF Canada is the national voice of co-operative housing, representing 2,200 housing co-operatives, home to a quarter of a million people in every province and territory. In Ontario, we represent 550 co-ops, home to 125,000 people. Co-operative housing is a well-documented success story. For over 50 years, co-ops have provided good-quality, affordable housing owned and managed by the community members who live there.

For more information please contact: Simone Swail, Senior Manager, Government Relations, 416-605-4432, sswail@chfcanada.coop