My letter to my MP, the Hon. Dr. Hedy Fry on the spring budget and FCM recommendations
13 March 2012
Honourable Dr. Hedy Fry MP
Re: Federation of Canadian Municipalities recommendations to develop more affordable housing in Vancouver
Dear Dr. Fry:
As you know, Mayor Gregor Robertson, in his capacity as the Chair of Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FMC), is calling on the Federal Government in its spring budget to allocate funds to create more affordable housing.
Vancouver is the most expensive city in Canada to live in. The City of Vancouver (CoV) and the Province of British Columbia have been taking steps to solve the homelessness crisis. In 2005, the CoV passed its Homeless Action Plan, which had 87 recommendations for all levels of government. The plan was updated in 2008 with specific policy recommendations for the Federal Government to create more affordable housing including the recommendation to develop a national housing plan. The CoV also made the following 3 recommendations:
1. Provide additional block funding through the Federal-Provincial-Territorial
(FPT) Affordable Housing Initiative for the development of new social and
2. Implement changes to the income tax system to encourage the private
sector to build rental housing.
3. Continue to fund federal homelessness programs and the Residential
Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP).
More recently the Mayor Robertson stated that he was “calling on the Federal Government to use its spring budget to introduce cost-effective market incentives to encourage private-sector investment in rental housing.”
Furthermore the FCM request to the spring budget include:
• Low-interest loans underwritten by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to finance new rental construction.
• Tax reform to encourage owners to renovate and retain rental properties, providing an incentive to preserve affordable rental housing.
• Help for landlords to make rental housing more energy efficient, reducing costs and easing pressure on rents.
Mayor Robertson further stated:
“Each of these measures is designed to encourage private investment where it’s needed the most. While each has costs, they will generate enough direct economic activity and indirect long-term economic growth to offset these costs.
Under Canada’s Economic Action Plan, federal, municipal and provincial/territorial governments worked together to create jobs, fight the recession and build our cities. Now that stimulus spending is over, we must keep the economic recovery on-track. An important first step is building a strong, sustainable rental housing market that creates jobs and meets the housing needs of Canadians.”
As my Member of Parliament, I strenuously request that you use your position to advocate for the FCM recommendations to be included in the next Federal Budget.
As a physician I know that you are aware of the powerful effects of housing on health and well being of the Canadian population. This should be one of the highest priority of our government.
cc: NDP Critic on Health, Libby Davies, MP Vancouver-East, email@example.com
NDP Critic on Housing, Marie-Claude Morin, MP Saint-Hyacinther-Bagot, Marie-Claude.Morin@parl.gc.ca