Wednesday, February 27, 2013

If Passed Bill C-400 will help Municipalities

If the following story induces a Groundhog Day moment for you, well, it probably should.

A Private Members Bill (Bill C-400) is working being considered tonight in the House of Commons. This bill sets out a method to develop a national housing strategy.

It picks up where a former Bill (C-304) left off. That Bill was introduced in the last Parliament then passed first reading, was amended and passed second reading, before it died when Parliament adjourned for the May 2011 election.

So you’ve heard this before. And you have heard that Canada is one of the few industrialized nations in the world without a national housing strategy.

We used to have one.

Housing expert Michael Shapcott from the Wellesley Institute notes that the plan we had in place from 1973 – 1993 delivered 600,000 good quality, cost effective homes.

“Since 1999, the federal government, most provinces and territories, and many municipalities, have announced a variety of housing and homelessness measures, but the funding has tended to be short-term and inadequate to the scale of need, and there has been little or no co-ordination between the federal, territorial, provincial and municipal governments, along with Aboriginal governments, and the private and community sectors,” writes Shapcott.

BILL C-400

This new bill calls for a national strategy to address housing costs so that the cost of housing “does not compromise an individual’s ability to meet other basic needs.

Among other things the bill, if passed, would make it a priority to ensure the availability of housing for those without housing and as well for those members of groups “particularly vulnerable to homelessness.”

And Bill C-400 envisions a consultation process that would involve municipal governments, the federal, provincial, and aboriginal communities. A conference with these representatives and non-profit and private sector housing providers and others would be required six months after the passage of the bill and a report to Parliament would be due six months after that conference.

The report would include standards, dates for programs to start and principles for inter governmental agreements. In short, we’d have a housing strategy again.

You can find the full content of the Bill at

(This story originally appeared in North End Breezes on February 1st. It was been revised and updated on February 27th. North End Breezes online newsletter can be found at

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