Wellesley institute national housing report card

On the eve of the first provincial-territorial housing ministers’ summit in almost two and onehalf years, a new report card from the Wellesley Institute reveals that the federal government and eight of the thirteen provinces and territories have failed to meet the commitments for new housing funding that they made in November of 2001. Starting in 2001, the federal government promised in an agreement with all the provinces and territories to add $1 billion to its housing spending for new affordable homes, but as of 2006, the national government had increased housing spending by only $234 million – or about a quarter of what they committed. The provincial and territorial governments promised to match the federal dollars with $1 billion of their own money, but by 2007, combined provincial and territorial housing spending was actually down by $210 million. The main culprit was Ontario, which cut housing spending by $732 million. Remove Ontario, and the increase in housing spending by provinces and territories is $522 million – just over half the amount committed. The provincial and territorial housing ministers are meeting on Feb. 6, 2008, in Vancouver, but the federal government is not expected to attend. If federal housing minister Monte Solberg boycotts the housing meeting, it will be the first time in almost a decade that the federal government has refused to participate in a provincial-territorial housing ministers’ meeting. The federal government, and all the provinces and territories, signed the Affordable Housing Framework Agreement at a national summit in Quebec City in November of 2001. Under that deal, the federal government agreed to spend $680 million in new dollars for new affordable housing and the provinces and territories agreed to match the federal dollars with new money of their own. The federal government added $320 million in 2003 to bring the total promised to $2 billion (including provincial and territorial matching shares). The provincial and territorial governments were supposed to provide annual audited financial statements and detailed performance reports, but no details have been released by any governments (except for a small amount of information in Ontario on three years, and a blizzard of press releases nationally and emanating from the provincial capitals). The Wellesley Institute report card tracks government performance using 2001 (the year the original deal was signed) as the base. The change in spending with 2007 is compared to the original commitments.

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