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Videos from the National Housing Strategy consultations on the future of sustainable, affordable, inclusive and flexible housing in Canada.


(Visual: Title screen with various chalkboard buildings)

(Visual: Canada wordmark)

Text on screen: “Let’s Talk Housing” “LIVE STREAM WILL BEGIN SHORTLY” “” “#LetsTalkHousing”

Evan Siddall, President of CMHC: Good morning everyone and welcome. A special welcome to those of you who are participating via Facebook Live. A first experience for me and, I think, for the Minister. And to those of you participating across the country in National Housing Day events celebrating what we are doing here today.

(Visual: Evan Siddall, President of CMHC and Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development sit next to each other in front of a kitchen set. There is an oven, cupboards and a little snowman doll behind them. An audience sits in front of them and Evan addresses them.)

I am Evan Siddall, President of CMHC, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. And we’re going to kick this off!

Evan Siddall (via an interpreter): I am here with Minister Duclos. Minister, carry on, I am with the honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

We have representatives with 20 housing groups here. We are in Ottawa in the community housing unit called Beaver Barracks to celebrate this special day for the Canadian housing sector.

A day during which we recognize the importance of housing to our communities.

Evan Siddall: National Housing Day is a chance to acknowledge and celebrate the great work that is being done across the country to improve the lives of Canadians through housing.

And importantly to thank the people and the organizations such as those of you who are here, who are doing it.

Happy National Housing Day Minister Duclos.

Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development: Thank you, Evan. I think it is a happy day for all of us.

(Visual: Jean-Yves smiles and addresses the audience.)

Jean-Yves Duclos (via an interpreter): On behalf of the Canadian government I would like to thank and congratulate CMHC whom you represent Evan, for the key work you have done connecting with our community over the last month.

It was a collaboration that required the co-operation of lots of Canadians whom we’ll be talking about shortly. As well as communities and representatives, some of which are in this room.

So it’s a great day for the CMHC. It’s a great day for the Canadian government and more importantly, I think it’s a great day for all Canadians.

Evan Siddall: This celebration has generated more than the usual interest. With the promised release of the report on our consultations concerning the national strategy on housing.

(Visual: Audience members listen as Evan speaks. Some of them take notes.)

This is a conversation in which we have been engaged with Canadians over the past few months.

Jean-Yves Duclos: Well, Evan, I am certainly excited as I said to (be here) with you and with all of those who are able to join us on Facebook Live.

We are here to share the outcome of the national housing strategy consultations. I would like, of course, to thank the folks here at Beaver Barracks for hosting us today.

I am delighted, as I said, to be joined by people across the country from St John to Whitehorse to Victoria.

I’m told, in particular, several hundred people are watching us from the BC Non-Profit Housing Association Affordable Housing Conference in Richmond. You are far from our sight but you are close to our heart.

Jean-Yves Duclos (via an interpreter): I would also like to emphasize that we are meeting here today on the unceded traditional Algonquin territory.

Evan Siddall: Over the past few months CMHC has been helping the Minister and the government reach out to Canadians, to housing experts, and to stakeholders such as your organizations, to indigenous people and others to learn how we can achieve better housing outcomes for Canadians.

We have led a pretty extensive consultation process.

Jean-Yves Duclos: That is right Evan and the response has been tremendous both in quantity and in quality.

Thousands of Canadians have taken the time to answer online surveys and to submit ideas through social media channels.

Many others have contributed as you have to expert and stakeholder roundtables, participated in focus groups that submitted ideas through the Let’s Talk Housing website.

Jean-Yves Duclos (via an interpreter): Obviously housing is key to all Canadians and I can’t wait to respond to what we’ve heard during our collective work with Canadians over the last few weeks.

And my work in particular with the other federal ministers and my provincial and territorial counterparts in order to develop the national housing strategy which will be presented to Canadians in 2017.

It is a priority for our government for two reasons.

The first reason being that it is a priority within our overall framework intended to strengthen the middle class and to promote inclusive growth, and get more people out of poverty.

It’s also a priority because we know that housing is a key condition for our communities to work.

Jean-Yves Duclos: … last year’s budget 2.3 billion new dollars in new affordable housing investments for the next two years.

As you know, this funding, this short-term funding is being used to address what we know to be the most pressing housing needs in the short term.

That is going to be improving the living conditions of lower-income Canadians and middle-class Canadians across Canada and in particular, in older Inuit and First Nations communities.

However, we also recognize that much more needs to be done and that’s why new approaches are needed.

You have, as with many other Canadian families, you have seen the tremendous energy and the enthusiasm that this re-engagement of the federal government is generating.

That’s because families are struggling to meet their basic housing needs.

Much of the affordable housing that we do have is old or, at least, older than what it used to be, and is in need of significant repairs.

There are also significant gaps in our housing system that we need to address.

Jean-Yves Duclos (via an interpreter): Having said that, no order of government alone can solve all of these problems.

That’s why the national housing strategy is so important in order to pool our efforts and establish a common vision and common goals.

Now, over the last few months, you also know that our consultations demonstrated that there was a lot of real enthusiasm to do that together.

Evan, once again, I emphasize on the word “together” because we are privileged today to be connected through social media, but also with people right here in the room to tell all Canadians how we will do this work together.

The partners and the families presented a series of viewpoints to us that we have now in the report What We Heard.

Jean-Yves Duclos: … that have been made to consult with people who live in difficult housing circumstances every day of their lives. And those therefore that stand to benefit most from a national housing strategy.

We held focus groups with homeless people, newcomers, low-income Canadians, and seniors, and people with disabilities, just to name a few.

We have also engaged with indigenous people, indigenous communities, those that endure probably some of the most difficult housing conditions in Canada.

CMHC with your team has hosted expert roundtables on rural, removed and urban indigenous housing as well as northern housing.

CMHC has also met with the five national indigenous organizations and supported their own consultation forums.

Evan Siddall: Indeed, I couldn’t agree with you more, Minister. Improved housing outcomes for indigenous people and for the vulnerable populations in our country really is at the heart of what we are trying to achieve.

Evan Siddall (via an interpreter): We have to mobilize and listen carefully in order to understand the issues and the possible solutions. Why not talk about the report itself? What we learned thanks to the consultations.

Jean-Yves Duclos (via an interpreter): Very good question, Evan. There is a clear message that came out of those consultations that you see in the report which is that Canadians want better housing outcomes for housing especially for those who need the help the most.

These results will enable us to support this vision that was supported and this was a vision that we initially proposed for the national housing strategy.

Canadians, among other things, agree that all Canadians, all citizens of our vast country should have access to housing meeting their needs, a house that is affordable.

And that housing is one of the cornerstones for sustainable community development and inclusive communities and a vibrant Canadian economy in which everybody can have an opportunity to thrive.

Jean-Yves Duclos: Making affordable housing a catalyst for achieving many other benefits connected to good housing conditions.

If people have a home that is affordable, stable and that they are able to call their own then they are better equipped to continue their education, to sustain their employment and to support their family.

Affordable housing that is designed and built with other factors in mind such as being close to jobs, public transportation, community services, public space, daycare facilities and other amenities, also make it easier for people to connect with others. And to participate fully in the lives of their communities both the economic and the social, and the political lives as well.

This in turn has a snowball effect which revitalizes the economy and contributes to urban renewal and the creation of vibrant communities.

Now, no one will be surprised to hear that the issue of stable, long-term funding on the part of governments and the federal government in particular was raised by many participants.

Canadians expect governments to make the needed investment in housing to bridge the gaps between those who can access good housing and those that cannot.

Jean-Yves Duclos (via an interpreter): They also told us that we need innovative strategies to support our common vision and to help solve the most pressing problems in housing.

Canadians almost unanimously—well, for those who were generous enough to communicate with us—they told us that the government, aboriginal leaders and the private and not-for-profit sectors should work together to pool together their resources and the momentum generated by the consultations that we noticed over the last few months.

Canadians also believe that we should pay more attention to collecting, analyzing and sharing housing data in order to back up this innovation and common, and enlightened (decision-making) leading to more inclusive, more open, more transparent processes and more accountability to Canadians.

Jean-Yves Duclos: We need to focus our attention?

Evan Siddall: Yes, Minister where?

Jean-Yves Duclos: Well, that is a very good question—you’re very quick.

(The audience laughs)

Jean-Yves Duclos: An excellent question. Let me try to answer. Now clear themes, as you know Evan, and as all know by now, have emerged.

On the whole, Canadians agree that the national housing strategy must include measures to address the pressing housing needs of lower-income Canadians and vulnerable Canadians.

We need to end homelessness and make sure that seniors and lower income families can afford shelter as well as food and other necessities. It's more than just about bricks and mortar.

It’s about giving people the best opportunity to succeed and build better lives for themselves and for their families and for their communities.

Canadians also believe that we need to strengthen the capacity of housing providers to promote innovative financing models that will be better able to support the development of new affordable rental housing.

Jean-Yves Duclos (via an interpreter): Special attention needs to be paid to improving the housing conditions of indigenous people wherever they may live including, obviously, in the North.

Canadians believe that the solution involves a partnership that is more inclusive and more integrated, and that it requires greater housing autonomy on the part of the decision-makers, the communities and the indigenous groups.

We also heard that the national housing strategy should take care of the growing challenge in terms of affordability of housing for low-income and middle-income Canadians in many communities.

That includes having a full continuum of housing options including rental housing that his affordable and encourage housing real estate purchases in markets that are very overheated.

Canadians finally told us that the solution to the housing problem would need solutions that also integrate climate change concerns.

Jean-Yves Duclos: The consultations did more than pinpoint problems.

Many of them, many problems we do face but they also, more importantly, identified opportunities and innovative solutions to address these problems, and helped focus on measurable outcomes.

So all of this information and insight will be taken into account as we move forward with the strategy.

Now, it’s difficult, as you know Evan, to capture four, even five months of intensive consultations in the time available to us today.

Therefore I encourage all of us to visit the Let's Talk website and read the very impressive, at least that's my opinion, very impressive What We Heard report that was prepared independently.

Therefore have access to the more detailed analysis of what hundreds and thousands of Canadians have been generously telling us about housing.

Evan Siddall: I agree. In fact, I do think it's impressive and I don’t think we’re patting ourselves on the back when we say that because as you say, Minister, it was prepared by the Conference Board of Canada.

I’m sure what people in the room and our viewers on Facebook are wondering is what comes next and you should continue that so that I can follow…

Evan Siddall (via an interpreter): Canadians can expect the national housing strategy to be implemented. What shape will that take?

Jean-Yves Duclos (via an interpreter): Excellent question. The national housing strategy will help better harmonize our efforts with the other levels of government, provinces and territories, being our primary partners with whom we will now be reporting now that the report is available.

Jean-Yves Duclos: The whole government approach to developing the national housing strategy which also says that I have the obligation to work with my other colleagues in the federal Cabinet.

To engage with them on making sure that the opportunities created by this report, in terms of partnering with other partners across Canada, but partnering with other ministers in our government are fully taken into account.

That includes, as I said, issues of safety, issues of social inclusiveness, seniors, people living with disabilities, indigenous families, includes addressing public transit connections with housing, includes the environmental challenge that we all know are pressing and important in the minds of so many Canadians.

It's connecting people together and connecting dimensions together, that is the next challenge in building the national housing strategy.

Evan Siddall (via an interpreter): Thank you Mr. Minister for this introduction. Now let's take questions from the public and from the social media.

Evan Siddall: … magnificently. We have questions from around the country.

By the way, I am very happy to say that Let's Talk Housing, #letstalkhousing, is now trending in Canada. So, congratulations, we are getting some attention.

The first question comes from Michelle who evidently is from Kelowna. Her question she posts through Facebook.

She asks, “There used to be a federal incentive for developers to build rental housing. Is this back on the table? The rental availability in many communities is very low” and she cites Kelowna as an example of that.

Jean-Yves Duclos: Thank you for the question, Michelle. As I said earlier, we have a two-step strategy to re-engage the federal government in assisting the housing needs of Canadians.

The first step was announced in March 2016, and I’ll come back to that in a moment, the second step is what we are doing today: to build a national housing strategy and embark the federal government over the longer term, in fact, over the next ten years.

Now, that budget in March 2016 announced two important measures to support rental housing. The first is called an innovation fund. Now the call for proposals for that innovation fund was launched in August.

It’s possible for communities, organizations and other partners to submit their application in order to profit from the innovation fund that is going to support innovative matters of supporting the rental housing system.

The second thing that was also announced last March is the financing initiative, again to support rental housing. That program is going to be launched in the next few weeks.

 It’s going to provide significant lending resources for communities again, organizations, stakeholders, again to assist the rental housing needs of our families.

Evan Siddall: Indeed, and you have asked CMHC to manage that program for you and we will be making an announcement shortly on applications processes, and all of the rest of that Minister.

Evan Siddall (via an interpreter): We received a question from Isabelle on Facebook in French which says, “What have you heard about helping young families?”

Jean-Yves Duclos (via an interpreter): This is the question that was asked a lot by those who were there with us over the last few months.

The challenges in terms of access to adequate and affordable housing are particularly acute for young families because these are families that are facing economic challenges that were not familiar to the previous generations.

There are precarious work salaries that are not always up to par given the needs of these families that have young kids.

There are community challenges such as childcare and transportation, and quality, adequate public services. In many of our communities families have major challenges when it comes to buying a home or even renting a house.

So the initiative that I mentioned will support the development of the rental market and that will help them. Longer term, the investments we’ll be making in affordable housing in partnership with all communities and our partners will also make a major difference.

Evan Siddall (via an interpreter): Absolutely.

Evan Siddall: The BC Non-Profit Housing Association is meeting in Vancouver at their central conference and we have a question from them.

You can see them virtually through the camera;“Local governments play an important role in supporting the federal mandate to provide and maintain affordable housing stock in municipalities across Canada. How will the federal government be working more directly with regional and municipal governments in not only developing, but implementing a national housing strategy?”

Jean-Yves Duclos: I like that question very much. It has been an important question in my respectful, engaged, and nice discussions with my colleagues from provinces and territories.

We have had an open debate on the value of having a more open, inclusive partnership with other levels of government including municipalities, with other partners, those that are found in communities that are there with both a great deal of availability and a great deal of capability to support our investments.

We are going to develop ways and means to be both respectful of our primary partnership with provinces and territories, as well as being more open and transparent and accountable in the use of the resources of the federal government is going to provide over the long term.

Evan Siddall: About a month and a half ago, you and I met with the Big City Mayors’ Caucus of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

There’s a question here from Jason—excuse me, from Roger on Facebook and he says, “Let's talk about social housing in small communities. What are your thoughts on small communities versus the larger urban centres from a social housing perspective?”

Jean-Yves Duclos: Small communities face challenges that are different from those we find in larger cities.

Small communities are where families often have more difficult transportation issues, and more difficult access to good quality childcare services, more difficult—or at least—lengthier or more complicated access to good education for their children.

And, of course, the economic development of smaller communities is often surrounded with challenges of globalization, displacement, natural resource development.

We know that these challenges of smaller communities are different from those of larger cities and particularly for housing. The housing stock has also become older in those smaller communities.

There are often more seniors. The average age of families, I mean they are often also a bit larger, so with age comes a different set of needs and priorities. We want to be flexible and able to meet those different needs.

Evan Siddall: Great. We have a microphone if anyone…

(Visual: Evan searches the audience.)

Evan Siddall (via an interpreter): … in the room has any questions? Yes sir.

(Visual: Evan finds someone. The room laughs quietly.)

Evan Siddall: Can we get a microphone around the back there? Just so they hear you on Facebook Live.

Audience Member: Hi Minister, David (inaudible) from the Canadian Home (inaudible) Association.  I think the report is an excellent basis for moving forward.

(Visual: A man wearing a black suit in the back row has the microphone.)

Audience Member: I was going to just focus on one aspect of the report that maybe is implicit throughout it, but that we could focus on a bit which his capacity building, and knowledge generation, and spreading best practices, and that sort of thing.

I am just wondering whether we can work together further on building the institutional capacity to do new and different things over time.

Of course, indicators will be supportive of that, and also the whole development of forums for research and analysis, and also forums for building partnerships and ventures between the private sector and the public sector.

Jean-Yves Duclos: This is part of a broader ambition that we have for CMHC.

(Visual: Jean-Yves talks as Evan listens.)

Jean-Yves Duclos: CMHC we hope will be both willing and able to play an increased role in doing exactly what you just said; providing, first, better information and second, better understanding of both the situation of the housing conditions of our families, and how to improve on that situation in an institutional/partnership manner. Evan, that’s going to be a challenge for you. Are we ready to address that challenge?

Evan Siddall: We are ready and that’s a bit of a soft-ball Minister, thank you.

The Minister and I have had many conversations about this: about our responsibility to build capacity and to convene discussions such as what you are talking about. And quite importantly, to build our database and information flow with Canadians.

We have started that but we have some work to do and as the Minister knows we are going to be giving him a report at the end of the year on our plans for addressing data and research gaps.

I saw another question right nearby here. Sir?

(Visual: Evan finds another audience member.)

Audience Member: John Dickie the president of the Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations. In both the questions today and the report, we see a great deal of discussion of the needs of occupants, residents in social housing and, of course, those needs are important. But, in addition, we must not forget that a million Canadian households are in core housing need.

(Visual: A man in a striped red tie asks a question has the microphone. Other audience members listen, and a photographer takes pictures.)

Audience Member: Indeed, many are in deep core housing need and apart from their social assistance benefits or their very modest earnings they are receiving no assistance for housing.

What did the CMHC and the government hear concerning those concerns and are you able to share today any thoughts as to how the government may address those concerns of those people?

Jean-Yves Duclos: Yes, we have heard—if I may summarize what you said in a different manner—we have heard two separate sets of concerns. Let's call them people-centred concerns and place-centred concerns.

(Visual: Jean-Yves)

Jean-Yves Duclos: The people-centred concerns very much turned around what you just said; the fact that what matters are people. We want to make sure that wherever Canadians in need are found they are able to receive the support that they need and they expect from their government.

(Visual: Evan and Jean-Yves)

Particularly if they live in very difficult housing or economic circumstances. It’s an issue and the ideas have been provided around that issue, and now the next step is to see how to digest those views and ideas.

As I said, with provinces and territories which do have a role to play in the way that you just mentioned, but also in the federal government which is there to promote social inclusion and reduce poverty as well.

Evan Siddall: I think we have time for maybe a couple more questions. Josh from Facebook poses one. He asks you Minister, “How will the federal government support community services that go beyond just providing the bricks and mortar of housing?”

Jean-Yves Duclos: That’s a question that I also like very much. It comes back to the point that I made earlier when I said we want to connect partners together. We also want to connect the dimensions of the lives of our families together.

We know that housing itself is very important, not only for pure physical safety, but also because housing connects importantly with other dimensions of the lives of families.

Let me take just the example of seniors. For seniors, the ability to transit, to transport themselves and have access to a safe environment, to have access to home care, to health care, to keep their participation in social and economical life.

We recognize and we have heard the importance of including dimensions in this broad housing agenda. Again, clearly we’ll need to partner with the communities to do that.

The federal government is not the best designed to support health care services, and home care services, and doesn’t have all the answers—the right answers when it comes to full social and economic inclusion of our families.

Partnership with local organizations, municipalities and with provinces and territories is going to be key in doing just that.

Evan Siddall: Absolutely. And a microphone is on its way over to you. We have a question here in the room.

Audience Member: Good morning. Thank you, Mr. Minister. My name is Michael Bach, Canadian Association for Community Living, and we work with, we support people with intellectual disabilities. There are many Canadians with disabilities who lack access to affordable housing.

(Visual: A man in the back near the window has a microphone.)

Audience Member: One of the big challenges though is that many people with disabilities are living in congregate facilities, are in acute care hospitals, are in large group homes in the community, are having to go into nursing homes at ages 25 and 35.

In part it’s because of a lack of income security and in part it's a lack of the support services in the community that you have talked about.

But there are also many of our organizations on the ground who have this kind of stock, who have expertise in supporting people to make their own independent pathway into the housing market.

You’ve talked about working with governments, with municipalities; there’s immense capacity among community organizations but they’re going to need assistance to turn some of their thinking around, their housing stalk around, to develop new partnerships.

It sounds soft, but unless we build a new relationship and support their transformation, I don’t think we’re going to be able to get some of those who are in the ‘hardest to serve’, if you will, into the housing market.

Can we anticipate seeing a relationship with the federal government to support that kind of transformation of civil society capacity, community capacity on the ground?

We very much appreciate the commitment to social inclusion, but making that real, building the social infrastructure for it on the ground is going to take investments in that kind of capacity and transformation.

Jean-Yves Duclos: I appreciate and I am grateful for your input. Two keywords, I think, proactivity or flexibility and transformation.

(Visual: Jean-Yves and Evan)

Jean-Yves Duclos: I am feeling, as you do, tremendous ability of our communities to use their human resources and their experience and expertise to support the objectives of governments.

Therefore, in that context we want to be flexible and we want to be proactive in allowing for investments. I’m not sure exactly how that will be done.

This is certainly a key input we have received in consultation, in allowing for the federal investment to be proactively supporting the energy of communities.

Because this is where, as you said, again the expertise, the energy and the experience lie. Very much.

The second thing is transformation because we always want to do better. There are things we have learned over the last decade that perhaps did work fine but could work much better.

Learning on the basis of that learned experience is going to be key for advancing the goals of the national housing strategy and we’re counting on you for that.

Evan Siddall (via an interpreter): Mr. Corriveau wants to ask another question.

Audience Member (via an interpreter):  Hi, I am Stephane Corriveau of the Canadian Urban Housing Renovation and the Quebec Housing Network. Thank you, the report is exemplary and the approach was really inspiring. Thank you for that.

(Visual: A man with a clean white shirt has the microphone.)

Audience Member Question (via an interpreter): A few weeks ago you were in Quito for an international conference and the Canadian government send a declaration saying that, basically, the right to housing is fundamental.

And it was a repeat of the previous commitment by the federal government. In Canada, there are people living in housing that is more or less acceptable, and 1.6 million people living in substandard housing because of the poor quality of the housing.

(Jean-Yves nods.)

Is the Canadian government, or the question is, what can we do - those of us in the room and across Canada who are listening to you - what can we do to help you to work to make sure that your Cabinet colleagues and your provincial counterparts can understand and accept the notion that housing is a fundamental human right and that the measures or means of the federal and provincial counterparts will be sufficient to meet the needs?

Because housing has all the spinoffs—the effects—on housing, work, health and all of that. What do you expect from us? What can we do to help you now and throughout the other steps in this process to ensure that the means will be there for the issues we have identified?

Jean-Yves Duclos (via an interpreter): Thank you, Stephane. I would like to congratulate and thank through you all of the other partners who were in Quito like you, but who over the last few months, helped us develop this report. Because it is a collective result this report.

(Visual: Jean-Yves and Evan)

As Evan just said, we simply put it together. The input is from you. From the communities.

So what can the community do in the short-term and in the longer term to support our wish to further support what you are doing well.

Two things; the first is to continue to express your viewpoint in the forum that you can access and to continue, I think, to speak up about the importance of a more open, more inclusive and more accountable partnership that is with the different partners who are willing to work to improve the housing conditions of our families.

The second thing is longer term.

Obviously, after the strategy has been officially announced and once the Canadian government commitments in the long term (inaudible) will be ready to answer the call that you will be receiving because, as I just said, we want to make sure that your energy, your expertise can, as much as possible, help us to help you.

Because the Canadian government will always be limited in its capacity to take action correctly because resources are always limited. What we hope, what we wish is that you be available and that you put your expertise to work so that those resources that we will be ear marking have the most impact in the families.

Evan Siddall (via an interpreter): Do you want to take another question from the Federation of Quebec Housing Builders on Facebook?

“After the consultations do you intend to set up concrete measures to improve access to housing?”

Jean-Yves Duclos (via an interpreter): Well, this is an issue. Access to housing is part of the continuum.

Jean-Yves Duclos (via an interpreter): Depending on the housing circumstances, we know that when we can help families from an economic and housing standpoint to take them into growing through this spectrum of housing, then it means that we have a greater chance of ensuring that families who wish to do so can acquire a home.

It’s by working on housing affordability and including affordable rental housing, and it’s by working also on preserving our social housing stock.

By rehabilitating and renovating and broadening that stock of rental housing. It's by working on that whole continuum of housing that we will be able to support our families’ capacity of buying a home.

We know that many of the families wish to do so but in some communities it’s very hard right now.

Therefore, by playing on the continuum and, I repeat, by working with our partners who often have an even more important role to play in terms of housing acquisition, and it’s the role of the municipalities when it comes to urban planning, that’s where we can maximize the opportunities for families who want to buy a home.

Thank you.

Evan Siddall: Thank you everyone for your thoughtful questions here in the room and your insights into the What We Heard report.

I should assure you that we are not ending this here. In fact, CMHC will continue to respond to questions on social media.

Evan Siddall (via an interpreter): Thank you Mr. Minister Duclos for coming, for being here to talk about the report and for taking our questions.

I meet the Minister regularly to discuss housing issues and CMHC will continue to support the elaboration and the implementation of a national housing strategy which was enriched by all of your contributions and by the thousands of people from one end of the country to another.

Jean-Yves Duclos: … a collective outcome from a collective effort.

I am very grateful to all of you in this room and in many more outside of this room for your contributions to the consultation on national housing strategy.

Jean-Yves Duclos (via an interpreter): You took the first steps towards achieving this vision that is now a shared vision that is that all Canadians should have access to housing according to their needs and that it should be affordable.

That access to housing is the cornerstone to the development of sustainable, inclusive communities, and communities that will underpin economic development that will strengthen the middle class and all of those who want to belong to it.

Evan Siddall (via an interpreter): Have a good day everyone. Thank you very much, goodbye.

(The audience members applaud as the session finishes.)
Text on screen: “Let’s Talk Housing” “Parlons logement”
(Visual: End slide, Chalkboard houses, Speech bubbles, Canada wordmark)

Lets Talk Housing: What We Heard Live Event held November 22, 2016.


Michel Tremblay: Good afternoon everyone. Obviously I'm not Evan Siddall. This is really a trains, planes and automobiles day. He is stuck in traffic but he is on his way back and will make it for the closing remarks.

So I'm sure it's been a long day for all of you but there seems to be a lot of excitement in the room.I'm sure everyone is eager to share their findings with the larger group. But before we do that I want to take a minute to welcome everyone who is viewing the closing session on-line.

Representatives of 25 national stakeholders organizations have been meeting throughout the day to explore new ideas and approaches to improve house, socio-economic and employment outcomes for Canadians, we are helping to inform the development of Canada's national housing strategy. The day was organized around a number of breakout sessions where participants discussed specific housing-related themes. We've asked them to share their thoughts on a number of ideas that have been brought forward through our consultations today, to identify the most promising proposals and improve on them wherepossible.

We will now call upon the representative of each group to give us a summary of what achievements or observations and their solutions is, after which I, myself or evan, will speak briefly of the next steps before we end the meeting. I invite tim richter to come to the stage please. Tim.

Tim Richter: Now, our group had a fairly free-wheeling conversation and I'll try and paraphrase. There is a few things we noted. One, that -- and we've heard this through today that I guess CMHC is hearing from Canadians about homelessness is being prioritized as an area for attention of the national housing strategy, which we certainly support.

Also earlier today we saw outcomes presented where a proposal for an outcome that homeslessness -- that we target -- homelessness in Canada be very brief and nonrecurring, which we also support. We were asked in one of the questions as well to address potential strategies for achieving this outcome. Lots of different things were discussed.

We noted I think that there are many places in Canada that are having success in reducing homelessness. Notably calgary, edmonton, red deer, medicine hat, lethbridge and most recently hamilton, ontario. In these communities we have some important lessons we could embed in the national housing strategy.

One of the things that we talked about in some length was a belief that we should be prioritizing those Canadians in greatest need. And we noted that in communities where we're living in a lot of people who are in deep need who are -- many who are at risk of homelessness are not receiving service. So,prioritizing those in greatest need first with a focus on housing and importantly the supports that go with it. So it wasn't just housing but it was important as well to provide the medical, mental health and addiction supports.

We also talked about some of the lessons from the places that we noted in Canada and what has been successful. First thing is the importance of getting much better data on homelessness. I mention that, you know, a place like walmart they can tell you every product on every shelf in every store anywhere in the world but we can't tell you who is experiencing homelessness in Canada. And that data, knowing people by name, is critical and it is a critical success factor and many communities are reducing homelessness.

Also the importance of co-ordinating that local effort. And it was felt quite strongly that funding for homelessness should not flow through the provinces, right? Directly into communities. And that it was important for the government under the national housing strategy if they're going to be paying attention to homelessness to be paying for the outcomes namely the housing outcome we want to achieve.

And, finally, the third question is, what is the role of the federal government? Federal leadership is important but homelessness lives locally and there must be critical local leadership, and the vehicle for this would be the upcoming renewal of the homelessness partnering strategy and a revisioning of that role.

Michel Tremblay: Thank you, Tim. Next up for seniors individuals with distinct needs we have Jay Stephen reporting.

Jay Stephen: I guess I'm tall enough. For the first question what outcomes would you like to see in the future in this area? One of the suggestions was to unlock the rrsp contribution to accommodate for disabilities, for seniors, to renovate their homes. In the need of a disability or a life-changing experience for families that want to bring in seniors into their family home for them to be able to use that RSP money to build on to their current home.

Create a better tax rate in terms of to be paid back at a later date. Creating housing renovations for people with disabilities, so affordable renovations. So it would be also with the – people that would affect mobility. Create some HST, GST credits.

People that want to stay in their own home we should foster an environment where they're able to stay in their home for as long as possible. Homes that I guess we design homes to utilize life-changing options to be promoted for seniors such as elevators, new builds.

It was also -- we were also asked to look at it through an indigenous lens. One of the solutions that -- on reserve housing to schedule maintenance visits. So many homes for seniors with stairs, they are not able to access some areas of their homes and so there are some portions of their homes that are not as well travelled as others.

The second question what strategies, solutions are needed to move us to desired outcomes? Access to government programs for financing options. So it would be a qualification for development of programs to seek assistance for seniors to stay in their home longer. A program to support seniors at home for as long as they are able to stay there. Maintenance schedules, again to help seniors. Don't duplicate overlapping services but work together. This would be the federal and provincial government we're talking about.

Communication strategies to ensure that families are being, I guess, checked on by the health department, social department, while maintaining their privacy. For the -- again for the indigenous lens, bands to ensure that there is regular check-ins from various departments. A need for better transportation services.

The last question, what roles do several stakeholders have moving forward. The need to remove current barriers such as the provincial level. It was discussed at our table that building permits in the available to new builds takes a long amount of time. Reduced barriers for home purchases, create tax incentives. So again the provincial taxes or the gst rebate.

Other things we talked about was working with cra to have tax rebate within the income tax form for seniors. Again, trying to keep them in their own home versus in nursing homes and publicly funded areas. More senior-friendly financing options. Lots of seniors have some of the means but not all of the means.

Work with just different jurisdictions to keep property tax affordable so it can keep them in their house longer. And create an event where the provincial and federal government communicate with one another, again speaks to the nursing home.

Right now we have two levels of government that don't really, as most of the people at our table thought, don't really communicate with one another to effectively help keeping people in their homes longer. Thank you.

Michel Tremblay: Thank you, Jason. Next up is Indigenous housing. I'll ask Dwight Dory to come up please.

Dwight Dory: Okay. Well thank you. First of all I might say I think this morning's session was a very good one in terms of hearing about what this process is undertaking and the engagement of people, very knowledgeable people here in regards to what the strategy is.

For us as indigenous people representatives here, myself in particular, also from the friendship centres and the inuit, this is a little bit of putting the cart before the horse. Because we have requested, and we will be engaging in internal dialogue with our own experts and knowledgeable people in the housing area, and those subjects have not yet to be held.

So in our -- when we're getting into actual solutions, or discussing what they think, what we think they should be, we're not prepared to do that today. So basically we're pleased to see the process organized as it is. And once we get talking to our own people, who are knowledgeable in the field and in terms of our regions, what the real needs are there, because we know they vary across the regions, then we'll be able to have more meaningful input and come up with some concrete solutions for the process. Thank you.

Michel Tremblay: Thank you, Dwight. I'll ask Jeff Morrison to report on social housing.

Jeff Morrison: So I'll try and be very succint here. When talking about the outcomes that we identified for social housing we broke it into short term, medium term, long term. Short term, we believe there should be no net loss of the amount of units currently subsidized in Canada. Medium term, there needs to be immediate investment in capital repair and retrofit of existing units. And longer term is we need to see an expansion in the system such that both current and future needs are being met. And what would cross cut all that, essentially

The move towards a more sustainable funding and operational model for social housing. From a northern lens, and I'll do each of these by northern and indigenous lens. Frankly we see an outcome and there shouldn't be a discrepancy between housing standards for those living in northern Canada versus those living south of 60.

From an indigenous lens, again, same discrepancy. There shouldn't be a discrepancy in the housing with respect to social and affordable housing between indigenous and nonindigenous households.

With respect to some of the strategies and solutions, we understand for social housing that really we need to be moving to a mix of public kind of grant funding versus more external financing alternative financing arrangements for social housing.

We understand that there's a number of models that are out there that have been proposed that an organization has put forth on how to allow users to leverage additional funds and that needs to be supported but that alone will not solve that problem. There needs to continue to be a public role in terms of grant role for new and maintenance of existing.

We also understand there needs to be some transitional support. If we're asking social housing providers to up-end the way they do things with operating agreements the fact is that a lot of them don't have the means or the resources to do the transition work. So we're looking for the federal government to provide transitional support, resource, or resources to enable those providers to do that.

From a northern perspective, the fact is that there will probably have to be more on the grant side. There simply isn't the base, the population in northern Canada to allow for alternative financing so we'll need to see continuing public support for social housing units.

From an aboriginal -- excuse me, an indigenous perspective, two ideas. One, there needs to – we need to look at ways that indigenous communities can extract greater wealth from resource extraction from within their regions. And the establishment of a separate and distinct indigenous housing trust, which was recommended by the national aboriginal housing association back in 2009.

And then lastly in terms of roles, responsibilities, the federal government, as I mentioned, is really to look at how they can – the federal government can leverage its fiscal capacity in that financing arrangement, their spending power.

We talked about smart objectives and all this is great and nice but unless you can measure it then who knows how we're doing. It's really only the federal government that can do the measurement of the indicators.

The provinces and territories need to be accountable for how money is spent and so they should do it in incremental perspectives. And the private sector can play a role in a financial model. There is probably a role for the private sector. And lastly in terms of roles, from an indigenous perspective, is with greater, hopefully greater indigenous funding and focus from a housing perspective there needs to be greater indigenous representation on various governance bodies. So in fact CMHC should look at increasing its indigenous representation on its governance bodies and that can apply to the alternative financing mechanisms we talked about as well.

And from a northern perspective not much different. From a territorial perspective putting the same responsibilities on them as we have from a from the provinces in terms of transparency and accountability. I hope that was three minutes.

Michel Tremblay: I hope it comes through on the web stream the passion that is in the room on these issues. Next up is John Dickie he is going to do two of them. Supply and renewal and then supply affordability. So that's six minutes, John.

John Dickie: I think I can do that. In terms of rental supply and rental renewal, we focused on developing solutions. We picked three that had already been identified and I'll list those first. And then we picked two new solutions that we worked on.

The first solution was financing and various aspects of financing. Long-term financing to avoid interest rate risk. Construction financing and incentives to reduce the equity needed. We felt that one had to pay attention to the fact that interest rates were already extremely low so there needed to be a focus on how could the money be best spent?

Then already on the list as one of the solutions was a portable housing benefit which is really a demand issue not a supply issue. But the rationale for that being there and for our choosing it as important is that if the private market by and large in most parts of Canada can provide housing as long as people are able to pay for it. So in effect having the -- the effective demand for housing is the important component of a supply strategy.

Third, we looked at tax policy. HST, giving hst relief. Essentially no hst on construction and repairs was already on the list and the group certainly supported that.

In addition, the group advocated tax deferral on sale of a property where the proceeds are invested in a new rental building. So it could great a market for long-term holders of rental property to buy new rental buildings and thus get them built.

For our two new points we suggested that the federal government might well consider funding the municipalities to defer development charges. Because development charges are a significant component in the cost of new development. And if they were deferred, well the municipality wouldn't lose money other than the first year or two or three if they could be paid in years, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 of a project rather than having to be paid in year 1. And we thought in doing that the government should avoid tying that directly to affordability. The rationale is that we could rely on the move-up effect if we can get supply at the high end.

Finally, we suggested program -- a program like rental wrap where flexible limits on the amount of forgivable loan based on the unit sizes, according to local need, and perhaps also flexible limits tied to different affordability commitments.

In terms of affordability for renters we first asked the question, well, what are we seeking to achieve? And on that subject the standard test is that a person should be able to obtain housing at 30 percent of their income. Well, that's fine for households of three or four or five people, but we felt that it was too low or in terms of the number of people who are affected, too high a standard for households consisting of one or two persons. In order to target limited resources it would be better to set a higher standard, a higher affordability level than 30 percent.

In addition, we felt that governments should avoid excessively high standards because they create high costs or cost increases. And if governments at any level are insisting on retrofits they should strongly consider subsidy programs to help pay for their retrofits.

We also thought the federal government could encourage provinces the allow secondary units. Now, in terms of the north and other areas, there are of course issues with respect to whether there's a function of market, and solutions need to be adjusted for that. However, in areas with well-functioning markets, which is 95 percent of Canada, we felt that a marvelous solution for rental affordability is portable housing allowances or housing benefits. We considered that they should be attached to the tenant to leave the tenant with choice. They should be paid to the tenant which has several good effects. They should be based on actual rent up to a maximum, 90 percent of median.

And in assessing income we felt that the government should consider the trade-off between addressing current need, income -- in other words income in this month, in the last 3 months and in the last 6 months as opposed to looking at last year's income from the tax system.

We also asked the question, can a system be designed to give choice to the current residents in social housing? Which could address the question of sustainability in social housing and of operating agreements, but it could improve choice for residents and income mixing.

We suggested that the federal government learn from the existing provincial and indeed municipal programs and leave flexibility. And that is pretty much my six minutes. Thank you.

Michel Tremblay: Thank you very much, John. Next up is kevin lee for home ownership affordability. Kevin.

Kevin Lee: So as we discussed at our table and we heard a bit earlier today, having a national housing strategy it's absolutely critical that it cover the full spectrum of the continuum of housing in Canada. And so we know that there's a federal-provincial, working group working on affordability in Canada's largest urban centres. And it's going to be critical that that be a component of the national housing strategy.

And how does that affect all the way down the spectrum? It is a really important question. Because if you're thinking, really we issues around how are we going to house Canadians with core needs?

Why are we worrying about people in home ownership? We want people moving up the spectrum. If you have affordability problems at the high end you have people trickling down the wrong way across the housing continuum. And by the way, this is not something that is unique to Canada. I am currently the chair of the international housing association where we are working with countries all around the world where they recognize that they have major housing issues, but they have also identified that they can't just work on the social housing aspects because as long as they have affordability problems, which they have in Africa a well, there is no chance for people to trampoline and leap out of their current housing situation to a better housing situation.

So how do we address this? There is various ways to do it. Affordability is key, and really when we talk about affordability we're talking about first-time home buyers. And how do people get into their first homes as prices continue to go up? And there is various moves that can be done.

We've seen adjustments made to the home buyers plan where Canadians can use their RRSPS to be able to invest in their houses and repay the RRSPS over time. And there is an opportunity to increase those limits so if you save more you can use more to put into the home. There is opportunities for increasing amortization periods from 25 to 30 years. 80,000 additional Canadians could then afford to get into their first home by making that adjustment. And why is that important? Because as long as people are stuck in rental and they are hard-working Canadians with good jobs, they are staying in rental and if they want to get out let's give them that opportunity; because that frees up rental space for other people that could make use of the rental properties.

So if we can put things like that in place as well as home ownership assistance programs and there is all kinds of municipal programmings across the country, habitat for humanity has good programs. And we're also seeing other shared is appreciation mortgage opportunities come up where we say, let's help Canadians who are hard working. And we heard earlier about hard working Canadians who are unfortunately right now in various situations, basically the working poor, who will forever be stuck in rental, and that is not exclusive to that group. But right now we were talking around our table about how it might be young professionals, nurses, teachers, whatever it may be. If you are in the wrong circumstance you can't afford a home either. Shouldn't we be helping these people get out of rental and into homeowner so that the rental accommodations are freed up?

Why is affordability such an issue in the marketplace? And there are a lot of reasons for that right now. But we need to understand that.

And there is a role for CMHC to be better financed in the future so that it can have better statistics, better data and look into the issues.

We have massive supply issues in the urban centres, incongruence between the demand and the demographics. What people are looking in their homes; development charges going up; codes and regulations; lots of things are impacting house prices. We need a good, complete understanding of that so we can put the tools in place to help address affordability, which will help the whole housing spectrum and keep peopling move up the right way in the spectrum and not the wrong way. Which is what we're all looking to do. Thank you.

Michel Tremblay: The next person is Marc Leclair who will be speaking of affordability for homeless people and people who are less rich.

Marc Leclair: Our group was a lively group and we talked about the outcomes and that is measures, and measures about what you think are important.

And generally speaking we needed to measure this by looking at the need to increase the supply of affordable housing across Canada.

We spent a little -- quite a bit of time talking about the need to improve housing for vulnerable Canadians, that is people on income assistance. And no one should be paying more than 30 percent of their gross income on housing costs.

We looked at assisted and independent living. And we need to increase the number of units for people with disability. We also talked about the need to reduce the overcrowding because overcrowding leads to more repairs. And we just generally on homeless need to reduce the number of homeless and that's been addressed earlier.

In terms of the northern lens and the indigenous lens, obviously there are more northern and indigenous people who are in the working poor category. And so when we deal with these sorts of issues we're dealing with an increased volume of people that need to be dealt with. And we talked a lot about working the with indigenous populations and housing providers.

In terms of what are the strategies? Well really we need federal ownership, federal leadership on housing generally and we need it backed with fiscal resources. We need a long-term funding plan to help build the units that -- for the working poor. We have to find ways to animate the private sector and we need to find predictable, lower-cost financing and to develop social innovation. It means to use some other resources, whether that's training resources or economic development resources to increase the overall number, the financial resources that can be brought to increase the number of affordable housing units.

We need to find innovative ways to reduce the cost of the units and we need to find a way to make those units last longer so that we've got 25 or 30 years, longer period of time to use the units.

In terms of the other driver, we need to find lower-cost lens strategies. As was mentioned the royal commission recommended 20 years ago that the municipalities start looking at setting aside lands for affordable housing. Had they done that 20 years ago we wouldn't have had the cost of putting housing in saskatoon, regina, edmonton, all these high growth areas where housing costs soared.

In terms of what everybody's role should be, obviously we need federal leadership, we need CMHC's leadership. Provinces and territories, provinces and municipalities should be held to account. We need to work with indigenous groups both on-and-off reserve and they need to be held accountable.

And generally we need to development strategies to improve and preserve the quality of the existing affordable units that we have. And there needs to be accountability for everybody. Thank you.

Michel Tremblay: Thank you, marc. Now Stéphane Corriveau, Canadian national housing strategy.

Stéphane Corriveau: So the news is that we have a national housing strategy in place. It's been in place for at least the last 15 years and one could argue a bit longer than that. But we should be talking about a new one but how can we talk about the new strategy if we don't say what was the strategy. And that strategy is that even if there is no book that says, Canadian housing strategy for the last 15 years, there is a fact.

The fact is that we had a strategy that was almost totally oriented towards demands rather than supply. That translate into concrete gesture from the federal government and CMHC. For example, we are now exposed to the tune of about $1 trillion to support the financial tool that fuels the demands.

We help the bank to make loans and we help people to loan money to the banks. And that has an impact at every level of the spectrum of housing whether it be Toronto -- I mean, which bank will make a loan to an average income family to buy a million and a half, $2 million home in Vancouver if there was no CMHC to back that loan?

Nobody. So that was the strategy up to now and have impact. So now we have to have a strategy that says we need to help the supply side. This is the thing that should be the key element in it. Not only should we help the supply side, but what we should be helping for is supply side for the part of the market that has received less support in the last 15 years, which is the lower end, and the lower income end of the market. The people there are not able to afford most of the time on a private market buying and even seem renting.

For example, the organization I'm working with the average income of the 50,000 tenants is $12,000 a year. You can give a house to those people but that doesn't mean much. The best thing they can do with that is to sell it the morning after because they are not able with the income they have to basically maintain that house.

So what we need to have is a national strategy that supports supply and supports supply for a market that is not able to face it on a one-on-one individual basis. We need collective tools to help co-op, nonpublic housing to answer those needs with tools and means that match the situation of those collectively.

In spite of not having significant investment inthe last 20 years there's been basically a very, very, very low default rate for the co-op and nonprofit, for example. There's been actually an excellent rate of success of those proposals of those businesses that have been set up by the community. And that should be inspirational.

In fact, it's so much inspirational that we think to the question how should the issue of housing be considered in light of the northern situation or in light of the indigenous people situation? Actually we don't think we can tell them what to do. We should actually learn something from them.

And the situation is that we have been tackling housing in the last few decades almost as a short-term issue. And what we should be learning is that it's a long-term issue. It's not only a lifetime for them, a lifetime for the construction and the individual, but buildings typically last longer than people. We should have a vision where we are building, managing and development those houses, those communities, buildings for the upcoming generations that are there.

We need to adapt with time but these are the lessons we need to take from our aboriginal and northern brothers and sisters. And is that to be implemented in the south and with all the communities that say, what we need to have is a government that is dedicating its resources to make sure that every single Canadian has a house. And that needs to be going to market and through collective ownership. So we're unable collectively face the situation of the most disenfranchised among us. Thank you.

Michel Tremblay: Thank you, stéphane. Finally, Terry Green to talk to us about the right to housing.

Terry Green: Okay. Housing is a right. This is not a new concept for the Canadian government. The Canadian government representatives to the united nations -- excuse me. The Canadian representatives to the united nations worked for over ten years to design and draft, with other nations, the united nations convention on rights of disabled persons. Within that document is the right to housing. Canada signed on to that document in 2012.

What does it mean if Canada actually recognizes housing as a right? First and foremost, there would no longer be homeless people. The -- every homeless person would have the recourse to the federal government for suitable housing. Does it work elsewhere? Well, the united kingdom is one good example where they did make it unlawful to be homeless.

Now they did have to put the mechanism in place where there was a recourse for people who no longer had shelter to be able to get shelter. They had to put in accountability mechanisms where the government responsible for the housing of its citizens actually collected the data and were accountable to the government to the people that elected them.

So we've been talking a lot today about data gaps and data that just simply is not collected now. I propose to you that if housing was a right there would no longer be data gaps.

We talked a lot today about homelessness and housing being necessary to get people off the streets and into, you know, more safe and healthy environments. Well, if homelessness was unlawful because housing was a right then we would eliminate that problem as well for Canada.

So at our table we suggested that housing should be made a right. The federal government needs to change their thinking in terms of the way that they manage housing funds and housing programs, and put into place the concept that where people have a right to housing we can eliminate homeslessness. Thank you.

Michel Tremblay: Thank you, Mr. Green. I now invite Mr. Evan Siddall our CEO to give us the final words.

Evan Siddal: Sorry for my messed up schedule. Air Canada was late and you were early. So thank you for stepping into my place. We'll get you out of here shortly.

Thank you everyone for your time today. Special thank you to the table representatives who reported on behalf of your groups. We will be taking notes.

We've already been taking notes and will be reflecting on those as we pull together our final advice to the minister and the report he will give on november 22nd.

So what's next? Consultations continue. In the coming days we'll hold separate, round-table sessions outside of Ottawa or urban indigenous housing, urban housing in remote communities and northern housing. Focus groups are being held across the country with specific target groups, including those who have been homeless, those who are living in social housing, newcomers to Canada, indigenous people and people with disabilities.

We invite all of you on behalf of the organizations if you have not uploaded your submissions to our website via And we at CMHC will continue to support minister Duclos by organizing the information we have taken through this process and the various consultation processes to create the pillars of the national housing strategy.

Minister Duclos will give a report on the 22nd of november for the international day of housing. At that time he will also announce the next stages such as the request for approval of a national housing program by cabinet. I won't speak of timelines. The minister will be able to answer that question.

I want to take this opportunity again to express our thanks for being here and sharing your ideas, expertise, energy, your criticism, particularly that, I must say with us. We received great feedback and have a bunch of great ideas from here from you today all of which we'll be sharing with minister Duclos, his staff, our colleagues and the government with the days ahead. Thank you for contributing to the development of Canada's next national housing strategy.


Closing session from the National Stakeholder Roundtable held September 19, 2016.


Evan Siddall: Hello, everybody. If I can get everybody to sit down, and if you are one of the speakers, if you are one of our one, two... Six speakers, could you sit up at this front table, please. Thank you.

We have cameras running so I want to make sure we get out of the way of the cameras and sit down and have the plenary session. Now the lights are on, I really have to talk.

Hi, and welcome back. I had to disturb all the excitement in the room, so I'm encouraged to hear about all the work you have done today and for us to share this with each other so let's get going.

We will invite one representative from each group to provide a two-to-three minute summary of their key findings and most promising solutions and I will talk about next steps before we send you on our way. Let's start with the first session on sustainable, resilient housing and climate change, Ralph Torrie.


Ralph Torrie: Thank you, we basically spent our time addressing the question of -- or the challenge of bringing Canada's housing to a low energy, zero carbon, water efficient, sustainable status and doing it on a time -- 2030 to 2050 timeframe which is consistent with the government's greenhouse gas schedule, what are the challenges with that and can it be done?

We had a room of experts on building these types of houses and buildings and the good news is the consensus throughout the room was that this is not a technological impossibly. In fact, we probably have the technology for doing it, but that doesn't mean it is not a transformational challenge in every other regard. Getting the housing stock to that destination on that timeframe will require not just transforming the buildings, but transforming us as well.

There are large gaps between the size of the industry and the size it would have to be to get this done. There are gaps in our financial and organizational innovation for scaling up and delivering these new technologies on that timeframe. There's the inertia and barriers represented by the old way of doing things and not only regulatory barriers and old ways of regulating the industry but also within the industry itself, old ways of doing things that don't give way to new practices and technologies, all of which will have to be successfully addressed to get to that destination of a sustainable housing stock by 2050.

We wanted to point out that the strategy will have to make a clear distinction between the existing stock and the houses that will be built between now and 2030 or 2050. Three quarters of the houses in 2030 are already built and the technology and business plans are quite different in these two segments so you have to address them separately in the strategy.

There's a big difference between high-rise and single family dwellings that has to be acknowledged and local context matters. This came up in a number of ways. Yes, we want a national strategy, but it has to work from coast to coast to coast and reflect the fact that location matters, community matters, local circumstances matter. Houses, after all, are a large part of how we live and when we start talking about changing them on this huge scale, you are talking about changing the way we live ultimately.

We came up with a short list of priorities for the strategy to focus on, priority needs you might call them. The first one that came up over and over again is we need leadership. When you have a industry and sector like this with siloed thinking and old ways of doing things and out-moded regulations and everyone going every which way, it's important there be strong leadership, clearly defined targets and there was strong support throughout our group for a return to the leadership role many of us remembering CMHC playing in the housing sector which is beyond a financing and insurance role and into policy and leadership areas that we really need now if the housing sector is to deliver its share of its contribution of our environmental and climate targets.

In addition to leadership, there's a huge capacity gap between where we are and what we need to get there. We need training, we need education, we need, we think, a workforce of close to a million people to do this over the next 30 years. We think we can probably single handedly address the country's unemployment problem by just tackling the housing retrofit challenge. We think it's fundamentally economic. It doesn't have to cost the government money to do this but there's financing challenges. It will cost billions of dollars a year, probably into the hundreds of billions of dollars over the next 30 years to do this and it's comparable to the investment already occurring in the housing sector but if it's going to be directed to achieving the sustainability target, we have to have innovative ways of addressing the well known problem of split incentives between the builders and the people who live in the buildings and all of the other issues that stand in the way of cost effective investment and sustainability and us actually scaling up that activity.

I think that covers on a very high level a discussion that is impossible to capture in a short summary like this, all the nuances but we had people recording those. One message that came up over and over again was that in the end, this has to be better housing. It can't just be more sustainable or more low carbon housing. We have to say you can live better sustainability and sell that.

In the end, if we can make sustainable housing better housing, than achieving those 2030, 2050 targets is well within our technological, financial, and industrial capacity in this country. Thank you.


Evan Siddall: Thank you, and thank you for the challenge and the reminder of the history of CMHC. We will next hear from the group that studied homelessness, stephen gaetz, come on up.

Stephen Gaetz: I was told I had 2 minutes. As a researcher, if I adjust for population growth, it's 3 minutes anyway. We were going to look at homelessness. I have to start by saying something that needs to be said. When we talk about a national housing strategy, there's a tension there that's it is about housing and not homelessness. If you have something called a national housing strategy that doesn't address homelessness, it's neither national because it doesn't deal with the needs of our most vulnerable citizens. It is not about housing because it is not addressing their need for homes, and it is certainly not strategic. So we need, as part of the national housing strategy, a dedicated focus on homelessness within it. This, in Canada, means doing things a little differently.

I always say there are 3 things you can do to address homelessness. You can prevent it and stop it from happening in the first place. You need an emergency response because bad things will happen to people, and you have to get people out of homelessness. For most of the past 30 years, most of our efforts and investment have gone into the middle piece, the crisis response which means that people become mired in homelessness for years on end, sometimes 20 years. We start to move in the direction of housing first which is gad, but we haven't done much on prevention. With the national housing strategy, there's an opportunity for the government of Canada to show leadership and we came up with 3 things.

The government of Canada should have an interagency council on homelessness that is legislated and reports to the prime minister. It's an interagency council because it will mandate the different relevant parts of the government who should have a role in homelessness. It will mandate them to demonstrate what they are doing about homelessness, so this means things like justice, health, not just the usual areas dealing with housing, employment, across all of the activities of government, there needs to be something that reports to the prime minister to change the direction.

We also argued that the government of Canada should have a rights based homelessness prevention network.  This would prevent Canada from being behind the united states, for example, to being ahead. Prevention is where it is at. We don't do enough to stop people from being homelessness. We can continue with the best housing first programs in the world but as long as the pipeline to homelessness continues, we will scoop up the broken bodies at the bottom of the mountain for years to come.

We have to focus on prevention. There are good ideas and Canada can be a leader. The third thing we identified is that at every order of government, federal, provincial, and territorial, local, community, municipal, indigenous, there needs to be concrete, well thought out strategies to address homelessness that focus on prevention and ending homelessness. Not just community plans, but looking at service integration, looking at what we can do to change the dial and drive down the numbers on homelessness. Because in Canada, we have become a bit complacent. People think, well there will always be homelessness. That's not the case. Mass homelessness is relatively new. In Canada, if we want to end homelessness, we can do it, if we can't to.

This is where the government of Canada can show great leadership in really turning the corner on a significant problem, and that was three minutes.


Evan Siddall: thank you, Steven. Homelessness is indeed heart breaking and those were wise words. Thank you. Tsur Sommerville, I said that better than the first time. I know. I'm sorry I'm torturing your name, will now address affordability in high-priced markets.

Tsur Sommerville:  Let me say a profound thank you to the government, to minister Duclos and CMHC for organizing this. I don't know if they are going to learn as much as I have with this interaction and a day verse set of colleagues and other people in these areas. It was tremendously informative and a great exchange of ideas and will hopefully help with the national housing strategy.

We focussed on a number of things dealing with housing affordability in high priced cities and we focussed on supply and there's a need to help aggressively increase supply and make that happen in a more quick and timely fashion and we saw the need for carrots and sticks from federal agencies at the federal level for cities, suburbs and provinces to help deliver more supply which has greater density which could be more climate change friendly. The second point has to do with the whole issue of density and expectations management.

So there's supply but that's going to mean density and density is going to mean expectations management. On the one hand, it is going help people adjust to the fact that they may not be living in their parent's or grandparent's type of housing or type of community. These cities are going to require people to have a change in what it is they expect to be able to have in terms of housing going forward. At the same time, there's going to be a need for change in expectations on existing residents.  So for those who have housing, particularly ownership housing and have benefitted from this huge price run up will have some change in what they expect their neighbourhood to look like going forward, that the status quo is really not operable.

This leads us to the notion of haves versus have nots and the federal role in that. The haves are those who have housing, particularly ownership and have benefitted from the tremendous price run up in these cities. And the have nots are the ones who haven't benefitted. The have not group, there are two segments and the segments have very different needs when it comes to a federal response.

Type one have nots are the people who can't get what they want in the form they want where they want it.  This is really a group who can access the market and get market housing but not necessarily what it is they believe they need or what they want. Our view here is that the federal government's role is really helping the market to provide them with the best mix and the best set of choices and so it's making sure the market is working smoothly.

The second group is the type of have not where the market cannot or will not supply them with appropriate housing at an appropriate price. Obviously the homelessness would be the leading group here but there's a range of low income people who in an era of increasing income inequality and globalization will be left out and increasingly left out and there's a need for an aggressive federal role there in terms of augmenting them on the income side or the provision of suitable housing. That's a non-market and unavoidable role.

The third broad area is information and data. For data, comprehensive, complete, and accessible data that lets people within government and outside government entities measure the demand factor in these markets. Who is buying, what type of unit in what place for what reason? We have lots of questions, particularly around the foreign -- the issue of foreign capital where we need the data to be able to analyse it and going forward, we don't see this being less of an issue, so therefore the data needs are pretty acute. The second area of information data involves models and templates and the notion here is that many local governments of entities like school boards may have assets, land that could be turned into housing and helping with housing but they don't have the templates or models for thinking about how to engage in the partnership with the public sector and there's a role here.

Historically CMHC has had a role providing the models and templates to help school boards better utilize under used resources. And finally an area which is in terms of market supply and affordable family options, and the fear is concern about tenure security and make sure there are rental options that are family friendly that have secure tenure going forward, and there's a role here in missing segments or market failures in the coordination of supply and demand and the role of the government there and these being especially acute in the high end expensive markets because those are the markets where people who might normally access homeownership are not going to be able to, to have the mix of housing that's going to work for them. They can in the rental market but what the market is delivering doesn't match their needs, even though if it did they could afford it.

That's hopefully a summary of my group and if it is not, they will kill me on the way out. But thank you very much again.


Evan Siddall: Thank you, sir. Excellent comments and I'm looking forward to seeing the ideas you have so I can answer minister Duclos's challenge to us on the information and data front. We will rip those off faithfully. The next subject matter was furthering the progressive realization of the right to housing through a national housing strategy. Mr. Stephan Corriveau.

Stephan Corriveau: well, first, of course, I would like to minister Duclos and CMHC and others for the invitation to the event. It's a great thing. Before it was not such an obvious and such a smoothly going process to be able to meet and exchange and have discussions so we are very happy and that's not the result of my workshop, that's my personal comment, I must say. But we were happy about it.

And then as workshop or roundtable report, the question we also saying thank you for asking the question, is housing a human right? Because that allow the whole discussion to evolve in a different direction and to make a very short report, the answer is question, housing is a human right and we should consider it through that lens and frame it through that context.

The whole strategy should be thought of it as a human right, and we also want to underline the fact that among the groups that have been the most severely under-served by not adopting that framework are the aboriginal community in our society. Aboriginal people should be looked -- I mean, the housing issue as a human right, should be part and parcel of the reconciliation issue with aboriginal people and we think that human rights without serving that community would be -- will not be human rights. So we really want it to be central. It is a human right, and as such, the whole thing, defining the strategy should take that into consideration and the implementation of it as well as defining it should take it into consideration.

There should be some legislative framework that stated that housing is acknowledged as a human right in the canadian context. It means that they would be process that forbid discrimination including social, financial, and cultural discrimination for people to access proper housing.

There should be an accountability process that allows you to challenge the -- if you face a situation where that right is not being respected, you should have a body somewhere somehow that you can challenge saying, well, that right is not being answered back to me. They should be monitoring that look at the result of the policy and program that are being put in place in order to achieve that goal, and there should be outreach and education to obtain support for housing development as well as housing provider.

The funding to the provinces and the municipality because all of that must be done in a very canadian way where everybody contribute one way or another and help each other and work in the spirit of collaboration. But still, province, municipality, developer and provider should agree on goal and result and agree on clear measuring process of that.

This morning there was the minister of environment to make a statement and we understand that the canadian government deal with the environment with a great deal of respect these days. And we are happy, but there was a statement in paris. It was stating that we now recognize that sustainable development includes a specific measure to reduce social inequalities. Everyone should have the right to have proper housing for everyone.

I am getting to the end. I haven't seen the time but I'm sure I'm within the timeframe. Minister Duclos, CMHC, and the canadian government called us and we came and answered the question. The other question is, what is the role of the federal government? Well basically the role of the federal government is to lead. It should lead. It should fix bold objective. It should put in place the necessary means and programs to achieve those objectives.

You, as the government, have access to the financial and political tools as well as a strong network of collaborators and partners who are eager to work with you to achieve those goals. Housing is a human right and as such should be elevated as a priority to the canadian government and canadian society to make sure that, as yourself you wrote mr. Minister, the government of Canada believes that all canadians deserve access to housing that meets their needs and that they can afford. This is your statement. We are willing and eager to work with you. Let's do it together.


Evan Siddall: Thank you. We appreciate your ideas and challenges. The next group was meant to address -- and I apologize to Sharon Chisolm. He has just answered the question of what is the role of the federal government in housing. The question is what does a federal leadership role look like? I'm sure you have a few more things.

Sharon Chisolm: We have a few more things. I'm so happy to be here. I see a room full of -- almost full of gray haired people that had a lot to do with building the stock of affordable housing we have, and won't be here in the long-term so a lot of our comments will be about sustainability.

Canada had a very good housing system in comparison with the western world in many places I work with, but unfortunately now it is in crisis. That's the only way to describe it. We think the only way to get out of this is to have the federal government lead the way.

The federal government has to figure out and show us the way out. So we thank them for identifying the problem and putting the challenge in front of us, and we are happy to give advice. The federal government and all of us have to consider the full system, not just not-for-profit housing, but we have to consider how private sector rental housing is doing, what the environment is like there and how we can make it better.

What happened to young people who thought they could move out of their parent's home and they aren't able to do that and they are staying at home? It's a problem all around. Not only can they not afford a home of their own when they thought they might be able to, but in many cities, they can't afford to rent a small apartment. We have a major problem.

But we affirmed the federal role and see it as many have already said as a convener to mobilize our fiscal capacity as a country to respond, as a place for innovation and capacity building, for doing good research as it is done in the past and we saw some brilliant models coming forward particularly with a hurry in australia who is using a very knowledge based approach with a lot of discourse during the research which makes for great result and learning throughout the process.

Capacity building is important. Statistics are important, but statistics in a timely way. We have seen core need statistics coming out three years after the date. So if we are going to ask not-for-profit housing providers and others to take business risks, to go forward and build housing for which there will probably be no guaranteed annual subsidies, we have to know what we are doing. We have to be able to act as businesses and have the data we need in a timely way, and we see, in my work internationally, that more and more not-for-profits are in fact taking the roles beyond the not-for-profit aspect, moving into other areas, and subsidizing the work they are doing as not-for-profits. We see them building houses for sale where that makes sense so people in not-for-profits can move on. In order to do that, we have to provide them with the tools they need to do a better job. Cities are in crisis now.

It's not a secret. It is in the news every day. They play a big role in our success in doing housing. I will speak about that in a minute. Housing is one of the major economic drivers of a country. It hasn't always been seen that way and we can make a good contribution to productivity and economic growth but that depends very much on how our housing is done. That depends very much on where it is located, how close it is to jobs, if it empowers kids who can get to school on time and parents who can get home to help them with their homework. All these things go together to help make a country that can be more productive and Canada suffers from long community times where people are on the roads instead of spending money to help the economy or doing other productive things.

We think Canada has to set bold goal and that's been mentioned already. We need at least to add to the supply in a major way, at least 50,000 units -- new units of housing, should be build in the country every year. We understand that work is needed to repair the rental housing that we have, to look at how housing responds to the environment and many other important objectives that were mentioned. But on top of that, supply is the big issue that we have to address, and we have to start getting those units of housing out.

At its height, the federal government, the minister's account was about 2.2 billion dollars a year. That might be able to help us with assistance from many other sources like municipalities to build about 30 or 35,000 units a year.

It is not all of what we need. So over time, that amount will likely need to be doubled and we can't mess around with this and say we're going to do it for a lot less. Costs are higher and we have to act boldly if we want to have an impact. Finally, we believe we are acting in a new paradigm.

While we appreciate what CMHC did in the '70s, that role which was really paternalistic and gave us the money we needed, the rules to do it, the regulations to operate our housing so that you could just follow that formula, go ahead and produce housing.  Of course groups did much more than that, and I'm not negating that, but I'm just saying that kind of role is not what we need for a new time. We need an enabling role from our federal institutions. We need collaboration across the country.

We need CMHC to help us or some federal body to help us to convene the expert and share knowledge.  We need to be full partners at the table, not-for-profits, business partners, industry, municipalities, provinces, and so forth. So with that, I thank you very much, and I hope I stayed somewhat close to my timing.


Evan Siddall: thank you, Sharon, and indeed you were additive. Thank you.

I was appointed ceo of CMHC in january of 2014, and I started by watching a hockey game in detroit by the toronto maple leafs. I know I lost some people in the room here. We are definitive fans.

I looked at detroit and saw how horrible housing can be. And I thought, thank goodness that doesn't happen in Canada. I have since been on reserve and see it does happen there. So thank you all for coming here and helping us summarize the discussions.

What's next? Cmhc will continue to support minister Duclos by gathering -- did I miss somebody?

I skipped you. Shame on me. Thank you for chairing the meeting in my absence. David Amborski would love to come up and tell us about innovative finance and social finance with my profound apologies because I want to hear this. Sorry.

David Amborski: No problem. Thank you very much, it's been a great pleasure to be here today and learn a great deal from all the people who were involved in our session. We locked at the challenges of course that had to be addressed. And one of the first things we came up with the conclusion was that the funding was not adequate.

We didn't focus on subsidies. We looked at other things that could happen in the finance world and we looked at access to capital as being important in getting affordable housing built. The mismatch between the needs of small providers and the capital market and not having access to things like pension funds. So we ended up with three kinds of solution areas.

We looked at issues related to finance capital. We looked at issues related to equity capital and we looked at problems with operating agreements.

Special issues was we didn't really want the feds to give us more money. But we were looking at ways to find access to funding that was needing on the equity side and trying to solve regulations and inconsistencies between agencies or governments.

We wanted openness and agreements. We also recognized there's a need to be flexible. Flexibility is required because of the different market conditions and different markets. It is also required because of different institutional constraints working with different provinces and municipalities. That came into play.

Just to flesh out more detail in the three areas we talked about. First in the finance capital, here we talked about trying to find better access to finance capital by the creation of a housing finance authority. Here we set up a number of proposals for how that should operate. We talked about the potential for using development bonds at below market rate and the need to put a fund in place to make the integration happen to have access to the capital required.

Then we looked at the equity capital and here we talked about establishment of a public fordable housing equity fund, once again a fund.

So you had an equity fund to bridge the gap between conventional financing which might be 70% of the private equity developer of 10% and the gap would

Be 15% provided by the equity fund with patient capital that might not take their interest for 8 to 15 years. We also recognized the equity capital could provide deeper subsidizes and it could be in cooperation with provinces and municipalities. So a number of ways of engaging into this. It was a one step window with the CMHC to help facilitate this equity capital flowing. The last issue had to do with the operating agreements and people felt strongly that operating agreements are old and restrictive. There's a need to readdress these operating agreements. Not only operating agreements for new streams but things that are currently functioning. Part of the problem is they don't really support social financing, social capital.

They are very restrictive in having that flow into place. So one of the thoughts was that there should be some analysis undertaken at when you stack capital, what the issues are. Going to the banks and say, what is the problem with this stacking? How can we change this and rectify the finance agreements to get the finances we need? So the group who worked on this looked at having a joint venture concept and trying to minimize the barriers involved in the operating agreements.

With that I will draw to a close. Those were the three themes we had. Thank you very much.


Evan Siddall: Thank you. Again I apologize to you and your group. In fact, it's something we spent a lot of time on at CMHC and we will proudly rip off your ideas. Thank you again.

I will go back to what's next. I won't talk about the maple leafs again. CMHC will continue to support minister Duclos by gathering and analysing all of the information from the various consultation processes, of course this week's roundtable, and a meeting with national housing stakeholders that will be held on september 19th and those will create the pillars of Canada's national housing strategy.

Minister Duclos will publish a report about what we heard. It will be published in november on housing day, and he will also announce the next steps. The approval step for the national housing strategy by cabinet. I don't want to tell you when we expect the strategy to be launched. I will let the minister answer this question.

In the meantime, I want to take the opportunity to express our appreciation to all of you for being here today and sharing your ideas and expertise with us. We have heard terrific ideas over the last 3 days and today, that we will share with minister Duclos and the government of Canada in the days ahead.

Sharon and a few others mentioned CMHC’s convening role and I would be remissed if I didn’t recognize the many colleagues of mine who are here who were very involved in putting together what I think has probably been the greatest collection of housing experts in the history of our country. Thank you very much.


Again, thank you to all of you for contributing so meaningfully to the development of Canada's national housing strategy. Have a good weekend and good evening.


Closing session from the Expert Roundtable held September 9, 2016.


Michel Tremblay: Okay. So we will get started. Hi, and welcome back. It's been a long day. But there seems to be a lot of real excitement in the room based on the conversations going on. I'm sure

Everyone is eager to share findings with the larger group. So let's get started. We will ask one representative from each group to present a two-to-three minute summary of key findings and most promising solution, then I will talk briefly about next steps before we get on our way.

So lets begin with session number one, distinct housing needs, and tom carter will kick us off, please.

Tom Carter: Good afternoon. Our group had some wide ranging discussions, but I was asked to focus my comment just on solutions, specifically four solutions that people felt would help better address the needs of distinct groups.

The first solution was to develop a centralized data or research depository. There's many distinct housing needs groups, and many have been identified and they sometimes have common characteristics, but they also have different characteristics, and it was felt there was a lack of good data on specific groups.

It was also felt that a lot of work has been done across the country by different individual and organizations, but others are not always aware of this information. So we felt there was a need for a centralized facility or organization where this data could be collected and deposited.

Therefore, it could be accessed by different groups and organizations to help them develop better housing strategies and better understand the needs of distinct groups. We felt that federal assistance with creation and operation of the necessary infrastructure will be necessary, and we also realize that there may be ownership of data issues that have to be resolved.

The second solution I was asked to mention is an intermediary support system. The creation of an intermediary between landlords and tenants with special needs. A person who works to solve issues and problems, ensures rents are paid, tenants diverse needs are met, searching out services, serves as a peer leader and mentor for the tenants, works with the landlord and tenant to solve problems and it's someone both sides can go to, to resolve issues. This should result in more supportive and stable housing environment and reduce the stigma often associated with special needs groups.

A program like this is in operation in muncton and a report on its operation is available. We feel it is an approach that has an advantage for both tenants and landlords. Number three, the group felt that there should be the development of a national framework for the delivery of the national housing strategy, a model to delineate roles and responsibility and identify interventions to work towards the ultimate goal everyone has to access adequate and affordable housing, to make sure policies and interventions translate to concrete specific initiatives in communities.

The structure should enable the federal government to maintain an act on the principles of universality. It should also ensure that the province's play an active role in policy and program development funding. Within this framework, we had a special focus on municipalities, suggesting they have to play a more formalized role with the requirement that they develop municipal housing strategies. Currently it is a very uneven approach by municipalities across the country.

Municipalities would have to have access to supports and initiatives to establish delivery strategies because we feel addressing needs is best done at the local level, results in a better match between needs and solutions. It may require regulatory changes to planning zoning guidelines and approaches. It is really about setting up a structure by which the three levels of government can work collaboratively and enhance not-for-profit and community groups in addressing distinct needs.

Four and final, streamlining the financial processes. It was suggested that federal government mandate or require all provinces to set up a body based on the bc housing model where all funds, capital and loans, flow through one body for the creation of housing generally by non-profit and community groups. This would help streamline the process and it's the advantage is if the group discontinue's its operations, the asset go back to the body rather than the bank. This reduces risks and creates more affordable stock. It also facilitates or helps groups use existing stock to leverage funds for other projects and ensures better coordination of funding that meets the needs.

We realize some of our solutions probably go beyond the distinct housing needs group and we acknowledge that we probably went a bit further than we should have in some cases. Thank you.


Michel Tremblay: Thank you very much, tom. The next session was shelters for victims of family violence. Can I ask Lisa Rupert to please debrief us?

Lisa Rupert: Okay. So the first thing we talked about was the design of transition houses and shelters. Currently the communal living model, for example, creates barriers for people. Sometimes transition houses won't accommodate people with addictions use et cetera, because of the communal living situation and that could be addressed to restructure communal living to independent units even if it was private bathrooms and kitchenettes in each room with communal space as well. In addition, meeting the needs of people with disabilities, having for example a pool of tools for people who experience disabilities that transition houses could borrow. For example, if someone was deaf, the transition house could borrow the lighting they need for safety in case of fire.

Typically we have one unit that's accessible, that would increase our ability to take people with different needs and in any new transition houses and shelters we incorporate those ideas.

The second idea was around a system navigator, so case management for those who have experienced violence in an intimate relationship which might include their children and the offender. It would be a safety first model taking into account cultural, emotional and physical safety and with client consent, information sharing between various systems like justice and health, that there would be a navigator who people could access that would introduce a menu of options for them with the end goal of securing permanent sustainable housing including a website for those who can't access the navigator or who choose not to access them.

We also discussed the usefulness of portable housing supplements and other scattered options out there than having purpose built social housing to take advantage of commercial models and to have flexibility to invest capital locally.

Within that, we talked about having reporting back on that so we can track the effectiveness. We also addressed housing barriers to

Women without legal status or precarious legal status so women who have been abused by an intimate partner who failed to sponsor them or changed the sponsorship and this can be done by the federal government by fast tracking humanitarian pleas similar to what the united states does under Vowa2 (PH) and Vancouver has something in place for that as suggestions. And the final one which is kind of the big ask is to build more affordable social housing in Canada with targeted increases per year and then the last thing which was said was we already know the best practices, that we would like to focus on putting what we know to practical use right now.


Michel Tremblay: Thank you very much. I noticed you had more notes so thank you for keeping it to the main once. The next one, session three was social housing sustainability and Greg Dewling will be the presenter.

Greg Dewling: Good afternoon. It's a privilege to be here. Today we discussed the subject of social housing. We looked at the current stock and how to grow sustainability to meet the needs of vulnerable canadians. We had a good debate. We came up with some solutions. Not to imply it was exhaustive but it was limited by time and the scope afforded by today's exercises.

The themes that guided the conversation today included the quality of the current social housing stock, the capacity of the sector to deliver, funding certainly from all orders of government, social and environmental implications, the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders involved and the evidence based decision making through the use of data.

In the afternoon we focussed on some solutions and we're suggesting 4 for your consideration today. The first is placed based decision making that brings all parties together at a local level. This creates buy in and engagement from communities that are best served by the citizens that comprise those communities. In other words, a national housing strategy with local implementation.

The second solution we suggest is a housing bank and a foundation combined. That would provide low cost financing and investment for the sector which would reduce development and

Redevelopment cost. This is not new for CMHC. We are something them to get back into the game and this could include opportunities for social investment from others to participate. The third a sustainable rent to income system supported through an interest bearing fund. The research would support the on-going subsidization of investment rates t government would be the primary investor of this fund to start it and it could be supplemented by social investors as well.

Finally a sustainable mixed income model that's socially and financially integrates communities through a portfolio approach, low income rent is cross subsidized by market rate.

This model is foundational to a strategic assetplan and continuing new development as it grows. At the end of the day, all of us want to go home. We home a national housing strategy will enable all canadians to live in a home thatthey can afford. Thank you.


Michel Tremblay: Thank you very much. Next is new rental supply and it will be John Dickie.

John Dickie: Thank you. I was asked to address first how the group sees the desired outcomes of the national housing strategy. Those goals are the following. Homelessness is rare, brief and one time. There's a sufficient supply of housing in Canada, both rental and ownership at all price points in good repair where needed and in integrated liveable communities. Three, all low income people receive adequate assistance to meet their housing needs. In the processes for the nhs, for the implementation of the nhs, the group thinks these are the desirable midpoints.

That government roles are clear at all three levels. That governments and all the housing sectors are working together well. That the housing system includes a diversity of supply sources to achieve resiliency and flexibility. In terms of the most promising solutions to the question of getting new rental housing supply, we came to four solutions, one of which has three bullet points.

One, the use of the federal borrowing capacity to provide reduced cost financing or construction financing to obtain more new market and below market rental units.

Two, tax policy reforms to make rental developments more attractive, such as: "A" zero hst on new rental construction at all rent levels. "B", tax deferral on the sale of a building as long as it takes place within a year of the purchase of a newly built rental building. "C" active business tax treatment for new rental buildings.

Then our third area, we believe there needs to be program flexibility within the national housing strategy to recognize different situations between provinces or territories and among regions and municipalities within the provinces and territories.

To do that, we believe the federal government should tie federal money to objectives rather than to criteria, and the federal government should include the municipalities in the discussions.

As our fourth key solution, we suggest the reduction of regulatory burden and nimby-ism. Specifically we suggest that the federal government should tie housing and infrastructure funding to

Municipal rental housing plans that streamline the approval process for new rental housing supply.


Michel Tremblay: Thank you, John. Next up is Jane Londerville for housing finance.

Jane Londerville: Thank you. So our group came to the consensus basically in the room that the current housing finance system works well overall for homeowners. The simple, transparent mortgage insurance program has contributed to a resilient finance system and that's certainly been obvious in comparison to other countries in the global financial crisis.

Any changes we make to this system should be thoughtful and gradual, that was emphasized by the bankers in the room, and that allows the market participants to adapt to these changes as things happen. They also should be aligned to stated objectives, but they could be a useful tool to deal with being countercyclical during downturns in the economy.

The government also plays a key role in the non-market side in terms of investment where needs are and by enabling the finance sector to invest with appropriate risks being addressed for the non-market housing. The housing finance system is an important part of market affordability. Housing finance and the national housing strategy provides a real opportunity to address broad stability objectives for the country. There needs to be regional applicability of the strategy as well, this will be important, and housing finance authorities need a publicly available playbook for various scenarios to ensure transparency of what will happen in certain situations. Thank you.

Michel Tremblay: Thank you, Jane. Last but not least for indigenous housing we have Richard Hart.

Richard Hart: well, good afternoon. We are at the end of the day here. It's been an exciting day. I just want to thank CMHC for the opportunity to meet such interesting people and have such interesting discussions. The let's talk housing was a very appropriate title for this meeting.

I was in the indigenous housing group today, and I want to clarify that when we are talking about indigenous housing, we aren't talking on reserve housing. That was a session done

Yesterday. In this session we were talking about today, we were talking about urban native people or aboriginal people, whatever term you want to use, that are living in urban or rule centres that are not living on reserve or are not necessarily reserve people. So that could be métis, it could be status, non-status, it could be the inuit, that type of thing.

The first thing we said that was a new national housing strategy needed that it must include a specific indigenous housing strategy or focus. There has to be a focus specifically on indigenous housing so that it is made a priority in any sort of national housing strategy going forward. And it must include all indigenous people in Canada no matter where they live.

So whether you live up north, whether you live in a city or in a rural municipality, it should include you, and whether you are métis, inuit and the different categories that are placed on people. They all have to be included.

And we need to provide clarity to the realities indigenous people face in today's society with respect to the history of any -- anything that's happened in the past, traditionally whether it's treaties, whether it's -- how do I say it? -- residential school things or whether it was land that's been expropriated from them sort of thing. We have to pay attention to the history of the people we are trying to serve. And when we're talking about this, the best way to address anything is to work together. And to provide a collaborative approach or model that brings people together to discuss an issue.

You have to bring all stakeholders to the table, whether it's the federal government, the provincial government, municipal government, whether it's -- how do I say it? -- apartment builders, much like we see around the table together, to bring people together to discuss this issue or these issues because it is a major issue. We have a lot of indigenous people that are living on the fringes of society in our urban centres and a lot more things have to be done to make things change.

It is through processes like this that a change can come. I have enjoyed the last two days because there's been so much discussion and so many solutions, potential solutions that come forward that it reinvigorates you, and I look around and I just see

The passion that people have in this topic, in housing, that you know that things are going to -- how do I say it? -- change because I think there's a real commitment to change and I think I can see it in the people around here.

And like I said before, having all the stakeholders at the table will generate the solutions, but there needs to be a real commitment to the indigenous community, and we must move the locus of control from non-indigenous entities and back to the community, the community we are purporting to serve and that's the indigenous community whether we -- no matter where they live and that's the key to the future.

If we move that control, good things are going to happen and with people like yourselves working together to make change, change is going to happen, and, you know, the table I was at, great discussion. Passionate people. I love it, so I wish I was at every one of your tables. Thank you.


Michel Tremblay: Thank you, Richard. So I would like to thank everyone for coming today. Special thank you for people who volunteered to be representatives of their roundtable and undertaking the difficult job of summarizing the discussions. As Richard mentioned, it was a lot of passion, so it must have been difficult to try to take notes and summarize that.

Let's talk about what's next. CMHC will continue to support minister Duclos by gathering and analysing all the information from various consultation processes, including this week's roundtables in a meeting with the national housing stakeholders taking place on september 19th to create the pillars of Canada's national housing strategy.

Minister Duclos will be disseminating a report on what we heard on the 22nd of november on the national housing day. He will also on that day announce the next steps and especially the demand for approval of the national housing strategy by cabinet. I definitely don't want to steal the minister's thunder as to the date we can expect the national strategy to be launched, so I will let him answer that question himself.

In the meantime, I want to thank you again and express our appreciation for all of you for being here today and taking time out of your busy schedule to share your ideas and expertise with us.

We heard some great ideas this afternoon from each of the roundtables which we will share with minister Duclos and the government of Canada in the coming days.

Thank you again for contributing so meaningfully to Canada's national housing strategy. Have a great evening.


Closing session from the Expert Roundtable held September 8, 2016.


Michel Tremblay: Hi, and welcome back there seems to certainly be a lot of excitement in the room which is really good. I'm sure everyone is eager to share and hear the findings with the larger group so let's get started. We will invite one representative from each group to provide a two-to-three minute summary of their key findings and most promising solutions and then I will talk about the next steps before we get on our way. So if I can call karen cooper, you get the honours of leading us off.

Karen Cooper: Hello, everyone. I am here representing the roundtable on social inclusion. I would just like to say that our group was very excited and hopeful about the possibilities that a national housing strategy offers. So we approached our discussion with some hope and optimism. We recognize that there's a need for a more nuanced description or explanation of what social inclusion is and what it means compared to what is in the current provisions CMHC is working on.

We need to address social inclusion for communities, for individuals and we are looking for improved outcomes for communities, individuals and nationally and communities is physical places and also cultures and organizations.

We looked at 17 challenges that we identified. We narrowed it down to a combination of those challenges into five areas. We came up with several solutions we proposed for discussion and debate.

The first solution is growing the housing supply. We think by increasing the supply of housing in Canada, by that token, we will increase choice for people. We are looking to expand choices for people who have low incomes and who need support and we are looking at encouraging solutions beyond pilot projects. We have had a number of pilot projects that are successful, but we need something beyond that now. We want to manage the demand side as well as the supply side. Look at what people's needs are and how can we best meet them. We would really encourage the federal government to pool funding from diverse sources for housing. We would like the federal government to make this a political priority and to empower communities to build upon the existing capacity which exists across Canada, and to build the capacity within its own federal government.

We see the federal role as being one of leadership bringing people together, sharing information, and certainly to provide funding, but it's also important that how the funding gets spent and where it gets spent is also important. So we are looking for the federal government to find better ways to build upon the existing resources to support CMHC, to set up a housing secretariat and to provide certainty in its funding. That would go a long way to helping the housing situation in Canada. We require – we would like to see the federal government require their various departments to indicate how they support the national housing strategy and to provide public transparency around that. In a nutshell, social inclusion boils down to choices. We need better choice and we need more choices so everyone has a place that meets their needs to live in the community across Canada. Thank you.


Michel Tremblay: Thank you, Karen. Session two which was maintaining and preserving existing rental housing. We will have Graeme Stewart report.

Graeme Stewart: Hello, everyone. We had a fantastic session. It's a really important topic and dear to my heart and everyone in the session. It was lively. We had private and social sector providers, researchers and everyone in the room we needed.

This topic is key to the sustainable of the housing sector. One thing people don't realize or think about, people think of a single family home or bungalow when they think about canadian housing but Canada has a significant number in the order of millions of apartment units built between 1950 and 1980. Some are large tower blocks you see across the country and in Toronto there is almost 2,000. So it defines the cities we in, and it's homes for millions of people. These were built intentionally and through a series of subsidizes from CMHC and other areas of the government that allowed us to build these units and to build the 750,000 or so social units that we sort of have throughout the country.

This is vital housing and as it has aged and reached its 50th birthday. It's becoming distressed assets, and it's housing some of the most vulnerable people and I think the alarming stat is 1.5 million canadians are living in this housing well beyond the affordability threshold.

So in the social sector this is our social housing and in the private sector, the bottom margins of the private sector, this is the shadow market if you are on a waiting list. So we looked at what is the state of this housing and how can it be sustainable and last for another generation. These are good buildings that can last another lifecycle. They are at the end of their first lifecycle and how do we reinvest.

So there's a significant amount of capital to make this housing viable for the next generation and the challenge especially in the private sector is how do you bring significant capital to this housing without raising rents while the formula is you raise rent, get capital and go there.

So there's an affordability challenge and investment paradox. There's also a number of agreements coming up for renewal and we think, how is it financially viable to have co-ops and social sector housing.

We looked at this challenge and a number of challenges but the main one is how do we invest in this housing while maintaining affordability? There's some other aspects of this too. It is not about maintaining the housing stock which is crucial but how to improve it in a way to make it more sustainable, make it address the housing needs of different population groups, families, aging in place, maybe types of housing that it wasn't thought of to provide for.

And so the last group had like 30 solutions on the table and lots of good debates but they were thematic and we put them in 3 buckets. The first is the notion of how do we bring significant amount of capital to this housing stock especially to the distressed assets. So which are the most distressed and bring the money to the table to bring them up to performance criteria and it's not just base standard, how do we elevate beyond base standard to look at opportunities of environmental sustainability, et cetera.

There are a number of investment sources. There's an investment ceiling, so how do we bring low interesting loans, and maybe zero interest loans and performance granting to the table. So if you make improvements u then the market will move in that direction. It's a large number in terms of the money required, but what are the ways of doing it through financing that CMHC and other arms of the government has at its disposal.

Affordability, so we are bringing money to the table to deal with the housing stock, how do we deal with market fluctuations and maintain the affordability in the social sector? One way is maintaining rent supplement agreements that the social sector currently has and looking at rent supplements for individuals in the private sector when they are looking at, you know, dealing with rent increases.

The other thing about a rent supplement is it gives the operators the ability to be sustainable, they can raise the rent they need without impacting the most vulnerable. And the last was the future sustainable of the stock. If some of it now are distressed assets, how do we make sure they aren't distressed in the future. So it's an on-going commitment and provisions for an on-going commitment for the elevated performance expectations. There's more to talk about but I think that's our summary. Thank you very much.


Michel Tremblay: Thank you, Graeme. The next session was on housing needs data. Andy Yan will come brief us.

Andy Yan: Technology. Hopefully this wouldn't collapse on me. Hello. I was part of the housing needs data panel and of course depending how you read the title, it was a key point of really our conversations within a very learned group of practitioners and officials. I think really the discussion kind of begins with the recognition that there's very much a federal role in terms of data and its -- and on how it monitors Canada's housing stock that very much we are talking about creating -- having a standardization of data across the various levels of government whether it's the municipal to regional to provincial to federal. There's very much a relationship that the federal government can play.

We also talked about better clarity on data when it comes to evaluating outcomes as well as having really up to date and modernization of concepts such as affordability, specifically when we talk about affordability, the relationship between affordability, transportation and jobs, and I think it is also coming into that discussion of data that we talk about the establishment of measures of success, specifically what does winning look like in terms of a national household strategy and outcomes that can be attained in a short, intermediate and long-term. When we look at specific elements of data, much of the conversation really focussed on a linked, longitudinal and cross sectional data set in terms of looking at both household and structures in Canada's housing environment and that from here, that we talked about creating – and this was a very focussed discussion, creating a data framework and a portal to easily access existing housing data sources.

So it's not just about creating new data sources, but then working with data sources that are already here for example the new census and how it is really a discussion of how do we share the information we already have across numerous organizations from CMHC to the bank of Canada to other agencies that really it is the opportunity to share that, that we can have a series of low hanging fruit, and in our particular framework, that discussion of data tools, we came up with 8 tools and approaches.

The discussion of a web portal was key in our recommendations, but I think in ending this, it's really not only talking about data needs, it is really going down to really the issue of what is the question? And it's really from what is the question that it shapes data needs for housing, thank you.


Michel Tremblay: Thank you. Next is seniors housing and we have Greg Christenson.

Greg Christenson: Just going to refer to my little machine here. But yeah on the topic of seniors and seniors housing, about four or five really key take-aways would summarize the morning. Really good discussion of course. One is the integration of health into housing. You can't really look at seniors housing as a housing issue.

When you get into aging in place principles and you are trying to accommodate people in a residential environment and keep them out of costly institutional environments, you have to bring into the discussions health. It's a completely different industry. It's different in the housing industry, it's usually a nursing background and there's liability. We have to integrate that.

There's successful models. But the discussion is people don't want to move into institutional and people often wait until the 11th hour before they make change. How do you build in building features, wider doorways and wider bathrooms and people don't really want to pay for that in a market economy until they have a physical breakdown in their family.

When we talk about seniors housing, there's 3 legs to that stool. As I mentioned, there's the community. You can have a barrier free house and if you can't cross the street or get to the grocery store or get around the community, you have an ineffective strategy and increasing progressive providers of housing in a not-for-profit or for profit sector is how do they integrate staffing into the housing models. Initially you don't need staff. Initially current models rely on leverage of family and spouse.

Those are good models but as people age and the burden of looking after a loved one becomes very stressful and sometimes costly, there are reports where informal caregivers don't live as long as the person they are caring for. So the idea of integrating social workers and care workers and education, and those who know statistics know that not only are the demographics of the number of seniors in our society growing our number of workers is going from 6.4 workers per senior to 2 workers per senior. So affordable housing has to work with seniors housing.

There are benefits of more compact walkable communities. One, it is a public health benefit. If you walk, it reduces dependancy on automobiles which is a cost in housing, and it's also good for environmental greenhouse gas side. And also the elephant in the bed is care. For those who don't think about such things. Like in alberta it is costing up to 4 million dollars to build a hospital bed and 1500 dollars per day and full time care in the home is about 2800 per month. Clearly we aren't going to solve society's problems with that model. We still need acute care but it has to focus on the issues it is going to deal with.

We talked about incentive versus regulation. It's hard to make a prescriptive model where you force people to do things. So I think we talked about incentive and how do you incentive good behaviour. And in the system, there's incentive against affordable seniors housing.

For example, zoning and municipal bylaws are not set up for seniors housing, and things like require as lot of parking when seniors don't drive, that's restrictive. Also zoning on so many units per acre but a lot of seniors need smaller apartments. There are building codes and regulatory environment that needs adaptation.

Another thing is fire safety. Building codes are designed for the people, the majority of us in the room to exit. When you move slow or you have mental disorientation or you are in a walker exciting from a 3rd or 30th storey building is different.

There's also a need for changes to property taxes. It was brought up by a number of the private sector operators, even CMHC, mortgage underwriting is punitive for seniors housing. It has higher cap rates, if you are familiar with it, and higher mortgage premiums and in many cases I think it is a reaction to the fact that senior's housing is a great social responsibility and requires expertise so they compensated for a problem in terms of management with higher and more prescriptive fees.

On the role, the government is quite positive. But there's a leadership role. There's a vision of age friendly community and we need to develop standards above building codes which are meant for safety and integrity, but they weren't meant for the section of our population that seniors and persons with disabilities represent.

So there's a role for the first of all government to work on site standards and building standards that would raise the bar not just sort of the minimalistic approach of the building code which is a slippery wicket if you want to change that in 5 year code cycles.

We mentioned walkable communities and more it is an urban planning issue. Proximity to things like grocery store and giving up a car and things that are beyond the building. We talked about 2 major segments in the seniors market. One those who have equity in their home. In Alberta, over half of seniors own a home.

But in Quebec, there's more seniors without equity in a home and even in alberta with 50% with equity in a home, there's a need for looking after seniors. But there are other things like life lease where people use equity in the home to reduce rent, et cetera. So financial tools have a role to play.

We also talked about pilot projects and innovation. How to get the 5% to innovate, how to share those best practices. How to change regulations instead of one regulation at a time of moving deck chairs on the titanic. But we want to come up with models and demonstrate to consumers how the models work.

The overall theme is leveraging resources, new models of urban development, selective identification, urban villages, site based home care and you can have a care module in the community and look after frail seniors but also have a site based home care model where you can take the care to the senior in their home and this of course is a lot cheaper than long-term care institutional care.

We heard about the gap between housing and long-term care in some provinces. We are fortunate in alberta we have some programs that bridge independent living in your home to long-term care, but I believe some provinces have almost nothing to bridge that problem. So some of these solutions would be viable.

But anyways, I think in the end there's a general consensus that a national housing strategy is a good idea that needs to involve all levels of government, private and not-for-profit, there's many roles for the federal government on the area of seniors housing. Thank you.


Michel Tremblay: Thank you. Next is the accessible housing, universal design and visitability and that will be Ron Wickman joining us.

Ron Wickman: Thank you. Our group worked this afternoon and we focussed on two major issues. Identifying the key issues and challenges for the federal government and then identifying possible solutions. We identified 6 key issues and challenges. First of all, the lack of policy, standards and codes as it relates to accessible housing. The lack of information to assist canadians to understand what accessible housing is.

The role of the federal government in all of this, Canada enforces the charter of human rights but it doesn't seem to find its way into the housing market. Education and marketing, and then the big one finding the money to make all of this happen.

With the possible solutions in regards to code and standards, we need some consistency in the code, nationally.

One way the government can help is in their RFP's for buildings and spaces that they own, they can demand to have accessibility experts on the team. We need to identify that seniors and young persons with disabilities often require different policies and standards, and we can create the codes, but they also need to be enforced which is another layer.

In terms of the lack of understanding, we can continue the dialogue as we are doing today. We can identify best practices. We can get into training either in person or through webinars, and we can also identify champions, those people who are making it work.

In terms of the role of the government, they can provide money in regards to having initiatives for 100% visitable housing or 5 to 10% accessible housing. They can provide money for those who need to do renovations to their homes. They can provide tax credit and incentives to developers and builders. They can create a process that the funding gets to the homeowners quicker.

They can identify best practices and what good accessible housing looks like. They can create training for architects, especially in regards to schools of architecture. Myself having gone through that, there's not a lot of talk about accessibility.

More leadership in first nation communities. We talked about a conference that would focus on accessible housing, and one of our members talked about CMHC getting back to the basics and provide -- look at providing housing for those most in need.

In terms of education and marketing, there was talk of bringing the flex housing program

Back. There's a marketing, something we could call home for life or lifetime homes, showcase accessible homes. Market accessible housing in the way that it is for everybody, all family types not just persons with disabilities.

In the United States, there's a program called caps, C-A-P-S, which is a certified aging in place specialist so we can bring that to Canada. And we need to create a cultural shift so people understand accessible housing again does benefit everybody.

Finally in regards to money, the government the invest in research and development.

They can provide gst or tax rebates for accessible features both in renovation work and new home builds, and some people identified that we need to also identify the short-term costs of creating -- or having accessible features in your home but also the long-term savings that it will also provide. So hopefully I captured everything or most of everything we said, thank you.


Michel Tremblay: Thank you, next up the last one is first nation on-reserve housing. We have Michael Rice.

Michael Rice: (speaks another language) I am mohawk. I want to thank you for being your spokesperson. I want to thank my colleagues from today, first nation government consultants and of course the CMHC folks.

We are dealing with quite a different world where I come from. We have a different fiscal environment. Different regulatory framework, it's almost like being in another country.

Today that discussion you are asking first nations to talk about housing, but most municipalities, they don't have to deal with infrastructure and job creation at the same level we do. We almost have to act like governments ourselves covering everything so it's a very complex issue.

We listed many challenges but the primary once we listed were generally first nations are not in control of their housing situation. You know, we don't have the real great balance between the government and the markets in our communities and there are serious housing gaps. Many first nations are in section 95 housing and nowhere to grow from that. There's no options. But there's some hope. We see where we want to go.

We believe that if we drive or control any initiatives are first nations driven, we can achieve things. We have found solutions in a number of communities. We see in the future as well to building some transitional instruments. We can borrow from our counterpart and I have seen things at the provincial level and elsewhere in my community and other communities.

And as one of my colleagues said as well, a big challenge in first nations communities whenever we work on housing, we don't do enough measurables or measure them. People try to measure things or go to conferences but at the end of the conference we go home and don't measure anything. So we have to focus on getting result and measuring them. We talked about multiple solutions. I will try to summarize them. It was only supposed to be two minutes, so another minute or so.

First and foremost, first nation communities we aren't homogeneous. We are all different, the mohawks and crees are all different. We can't use a cookie cutter approach. And like a gentleman here said, we need data. It's important to get good data so we can make responsibly based policies. Anything we do too for the first nations should be grounded in the first nations. Can't be from the top down.

In terms of solutions, we looked at financial solutions, we can't to expand and continue them and we can't tell first nations that they have to move to private homeownership. It's a good idea in my community and other communities, but others want to stick to financial regimes, but as long as it is sustainable. Let's look for sustainable. And we also encouraged them to own whatever they do and for the first nations that are too small, let's have clusters or perhaps we can organize financing or whatever servicing in these clusters.

In terms of financing, i'm a banker, ex-banker. I still call myself a banker. But definitely we need financing, but I encourage first nations to put skin in the game and contribute their money as well.

In terms of the players, of course you need the federal government's support, and we need to work more closely with the markets but we have to engage in civil society. We should be engaging. What can the federal government do? Help in the diagnostic phase. Wherever the first nations go, they have to decide where they go. It's not cookie cutter. We need their help in the diagnostic phase.

Everything has to be first nation driven if it is going to succeed. I want to put in a plug even though I notice people take more time than 2 minutes, but we need financial training at the leadership level and social level if we are going to move ahead on housing issues in first nations communities. I think I covered everything. Thank you very much.

Michel Tremblay: Thank you Michael, and I would like to thank everyone for coming today. Special thank you for the people who had the difficult job of summarizing what was discussed throughout the day.

What's next? Well, CMHC will continue to support minister Duclos by gathering, analysing all of the information we are getting from various sources including these round tables here and a meeting with national housing stakeholders on September 19 to create pillars of Canada's national housing strategy.

Minister Duclos will disseminate a report on the 22 of November on the national housing day. He will then announce the next steps probably and especially the call for approval of the national strategy for housing by cabinet. I don't want to steal the minister's thunder as to the date we should expect for the strategy to be launched, so I will let the ministry answer that question.

We want to express our appreciation to all of you for being here today. I know time is precious and thank you for sharing your expertise with us. We heard great ideas this afternoon from each of the round tables which we will share with minister Duclos and the government of Canada in the next few days.

Thank you for contributing so meaningfully to Canada's National Housing Strategy. Thank you very much, and have a nice evening.


Closing session from the Expert Roundtable held September 7, 2016.


(Music plays)

(Opening animation: “Let’s Talk Housing” logo)

(Minister Duclos is seated in the foreground, relaxed in a home office-like setting against a backdrop of wall art and a Canadian flag in the corner)

(Music fades out)

Minister Jean-Yves Duclos:

“Hi. I’m Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, and I’d like to hear from you on an issue that is of great importance to all Canadians – housing that meets their needs and that they can afford.

“Canadians know that housing matters. It’s more than bricks and mortar…Housing is the cornerstone of building sustainable, inclusive communities and a strong Canadian economy where we can all thrive.  Yet, too many Canadians are unable to find or afford decent housing.

“Our government is already investing in housing to address the most pressing needs. But we also know that we need to do things differently in the future. For that purpose, we’re developing a national housing strategy to chart the course for better housing, socio-economic and environmental outcomes for all Canadians, including those living in Indigenous and Northern communities.

“And that’s why we are reaching out to get your views on a vision for housing so that all Canadians can have access to housing that’s sustainable, affordable, inclusive and flexible.

“So, let’s talk housing.

“Please share your thoughts and ideas with us. Speak or write to your Member of Parliament, comment through our web site, or join the conversation on social media using the hashtag ‘Let’s talk housing’.

“Thank you for helping us create a housing strategy for all Canadians.”
(Music plays.)

(Closing animation: “Have Your Say”

“Submit your ideas online” / animated arrow


“Be Part of the conversation” / animated megaphone


“Help shape the future of housing in Canada” / housing illustration

Twitter, LinkedIn & Facebook logos

Government of Canada wordmark)

(Music ends. Fade to black)

Minister Jean-Yves Duclos asks for your ideas on the future of housing in Canada.


(Music plays)
(On white background. Image shifts to an animation of a purple speech bubble.)

[Text on screen: Let’s Talk Housing]

(Image shifts to a shot of a ten year old boy in front of a farmhouse)

In 2011, close to one in ten Canadian households were in housing need. Most of these households are paying more than one third of their income just to put a roof over their heads.

(Image shifts to closer shot of the same ten year old boy in front of a farmhouse)

Shouldn’t we all be able to afford housing and have money left for other things, like food and clothing?

(On purple background. Image shifts to an animation of white drawing of buildings.)

[Text on screen: Canadians have housing that meets their needs and that they can afford]

(Image shifts to a shot of an 8 year old girl in front of a luxurious apartment buildings)

The way we design our communities has a big impact on the environment and our quality of life.

(Image shifts to a closer shot of the same 8 year old girl in front of a luxurious apartment buildings)

Shouldn’t our homes be more energy-efficient, and located closer to jobs, services and public transit?

(On purple background. Image shifts to an animation of white drawing of buildings.)

[Text on screen: Sustainable housing is a cornerstone of the communities where we live, work and play]

(Image shifts to a shot of an 11 year old boy in front of a low-rise apartment complex)

One in five indigenous people who live off-reserve are homeless or live in over-crowded, unsafe or inadequate housing. A home isn’t just a place to live. It gives you hope for the future, and a stepping stone to a better life.

(Image shifts to a closer shot of the same 11 year old boy in front of a low-rise apartment complex)

Shouldn’t all children have a safe, stable place to call home?

(On purple background. Image shifts to an animation of white drawing of buildings.)

[Text on screen: Housing increases opportunities and prospects for all Canadians]

A lot of Canadians rent their homes.

(Image shifts to a shot of an 8 year old girl in front of a townhouse)

But three quarters of the rental buildings in Canada are over 30 years old…

(Image shifts to a wider shot of the same 8 year old girl in front of a townhouse)

… and many of them need a lot of costly repairs. Shouldn’t we make sure rental housing…

(Image shifts back to the closer shot of the 8 year old girl in front of a townhouse)

… is repaired and in good shape now?

(On purple background. Image shifts to an animation of white drawing of buildings.)

[Text on screen: Rental housing contributes to vibrant Canadian communities]

Over the last 15 years…

(Image shifts to a shot of an 8 year old girl in front of a new home)

… house prices in most of Canada grew almost three times faster than incomes. In Toronto and Vancouver, the price of a home grew more than four times faster than the average income.

(Image shifts to a closer shot of the same 8 year old girl in front of a new home)

When I grow up, I’d like to buy my own place. How will I pay for university and still save enough for a home?

(On purple background. Image shifts to an animation of white drawing of buildings.)

[Text on screen: Housing provides a stable platform for building financial security]

(Image shifts to a shot of an 8 year old boy in front of a shelter for homeless persons in a city)

Every year, more than a hundred and fifty thousand Canadians have to stay in a temporary shelter. Many of them are children – like me.

(Image shifts to a closer shot of the same 8 year old boy in front of a shelter for homeless persons in a city)

It shouldn’t be that way. Can’t we do more to help them?

(On purple background. Image shifts to an animation of white drawing of buildings.)

[Text on screen: Housing contributes to the social inclusion and well-being of all Canadians]

(On white background.)

[Text on screen:

There’s a gap between where we are and where we want to be.

(On white background. Image shifts to three social media logos, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook)

[Text on screen: #LetsTalkHousing]

We need your help. Share your ideas for better housing outcomes…

(On white background. Image shifts to the Government of Canada logo.)

… in Canada.

Kids Talk Housing