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Housing Accelerator update: Quebec, Kitchener, Guelph, Burlington
This week's update
Construction de logements | Québec va égaler la mise d’Ottawa. Joël-Denis Bellavance and Tommy Chouinard, La Presse, October 5. Summary: in Quebec, unlike the rest of the country, there’s a provincial law which prevents municipalities from negotiating directly with the federal government. (Municipalities are creations of the province, so they only have powers which are delegated to them by the province.)
There’s a tentative deal where the federal government would contribute $900 million to build non-market housing in Quebec, and the Quebec government would match it.
The Minister of Finance, Eric Girard, must confirm everything in his economic update expected in November. The exercise will be preceded – this month, in principle – by the announcement of an agreement with Ottawa on housing.
“Negotiations are going well. Quebec is ready to double down. For the moment, it is the only province that is ready to do this in the country,” a government source familiar with the matter told La Presse .
Two other federal sources confirmed this information to La Presse in recent days. “Quebec's intention to invest an equivalent amount is a nice surprise. We are discussing the terms of the agreement,” confirmed another government source.
According to our information, the federal government has agreed to waive certain conditions. For example, they wanted to force Quebec to commit to building a specific number of housing units, an issue that had complicated the talks.
There will be no such constraint in the agreement, but Quebec's target is, in fact, quite similar to that of Ottawa. Above all, it was the very principle of having a firm condition imposed on it that upset the Legault government.
Last Friday, Sean Fraser announced an agreement, although without releasing any details:
We have reached an agreement with Quebec on housing.
This comes at a time when we must do all that we can to solve the housing crisis.
More details will follow on this historic agreement.
At their meeting on Monday, Kitchener city council voted unanimously to approve the motion allowing four units as of right:
CBC interview with Mayor Berry Vrbanovic.
Guelph isn’t as pro-housing as Kitchener and Waterloo, but its mayor, Cam Guthrie, is very pro-housing. On Wednesday:
He provides a video summary of Wednesday’s meeting.
Last week a council vote to approve four-plexes in principle failed on a 5-5 vote. Oliver Moore, in the Globe and Mail:
Getting rid of exclusionary zoning in Canada’s seventh-largest city, west of Toronto, by allowing four-unit buildings in all neighbourhoods was explicitly identified by federal Housing Minister Sean Fraser. But Mississauga council was deadlocked after hours Wednesday and a motion backing four-plexes “in principle” failed on a 5-5 tie. A vaguer motion asking staff to explore “the feasibility” of this type of housing then passed.
Someone sent Steve Cornwell a scan of the letter:
We’ll see what happens next. Will Mississauga city council reconsider, or dig in their heels?