Canadian mayors pen open letter to federal parties for urgent action on housing and homelessness


Seventeen Mayors, representing over 13.6 million people across Canada endorse the Vote Housing campaign

September 17, 2021 


Yves‑François Blanchet
Bloc Québécois

Annamie Paul
Green Party of Canada

Justin Trudeau
Liberal Party of Canada

Erin O’Toole
Conservative Party of Canada

Jagmeet Singh
New Democratic Party


Dear federal party leaders,

We are writing to you today as a concerned group of Mayors from across Canada calling on all federal parties and those seeking seats on September 20th to act urgently and decisively on Canada’s housing and homelessness crises. We are also writing in support of the Vote Housing campaign.

The pandemic has driven home the depth of Canada’s housing crisis. We’ve seen it in the lives of frontline workers who go home to overcrowded, inadequate housing. And in the lives of thousands who’ve struggled to stay safe—with no home at all. Safe housing continues to become more scarce and less affordable as 1.7 million households live in a home that is either unaffordable, overcrowded, and/or needs major repairs while nearly 5 million Canadians worry about paying their housing costs every month and over 35,000 Canadians experience homelessness on any given night.

As Mayors, we want to work closely with our housing and homeless sector partners and the  federal government on tackling these problems and bringing meaningful solutions to the table.

Homelessness and housing need have not always existed on the scale we see today. The rise of homelessness and so many living in unaffordable, unsafe housing is the direct result of federal withdrawal from investment in affordable housing and social services starting in the 1980s.

This situation was created by federal policy, and it will take federal leadership to reverse its devastating consequences.

We believe strongly that housing is the top issue this election —and we are far from alone. More than 8 in 10 Canadians say they support investing in new affordable housing and would be more supportive of a political party proposing action to end homelessness and build affordable housing.

Vote Housing is a growing non-partisan national movement of housing and homelessness experts and thousands of Canadians from across the country. They’re calling on all parties to:

  • Implement an urban, rural, and northern Indigenous housing strategy containing both dedicated investments and an Indigenous-led governance structure.
  • Commit to the prevention and elimination of homelessness.
  • Invest in the construction and operation of a minimum of 50,000 units of supportive housing over a decade.
  • Build and acquire a minimum of 300,000 units of deeply affordable non-market, co-op and non-profit housing over a decade.
  • Commit to the progressive realization of the right to housing, including measures to curtail the impact of financialization of rental housing markets.
  • Expand rental assistance for low-income households to reduce core housing need and prevent a wave of new homelessness resulting from the pandemic.

Through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Canada’s municipal leaders have put forward a comprehensive housing platform that is entirely consistent with, and supported by, Vote Housing. This alignment of community leaders and municipal government along with the support of a majority of Canadians outlines a clear path forward and reflects a growing national consensus.

Together, we’re calling for urgent federal action on Canada’s housing and homelessness crises and we all stand ready to work with the next federal government to move quickly and act decisively.

Good luck with your campaigns. We look forward to working with you to solve Canada’s housing and homelessness crises, once and for all.

Best regards,

Mayor Brian Bowman
City of Winnipeg

Mayor Naheed Nenshi
City of Calgary

Mayor Danny Breen
City of St. John’s

Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin
Ville de Gatineau

Mayor Patrick Brown
City of Brampton

Mayor Valérie Plante
City of Montreal

Mayor Charlie Clark
City of Saskatoon

Mayor Mike Savage
City of Halifax

Mayor Bonnie Crombie
City of Mississauga

Mayor Kennedy Stewart
City of Vancouver

Mayor Fred Eisenberger
City of Hamilton

Mayor John Tory
City of Toronto

Mayor Don Iveson
City of Edmonton

Mayor Berry Vrbanovic
City of Kitchener

Mayor Régis Labeaume
Quebec City

Mayor Jim Watson
City of Ottawa

Mayor Sandra Masters
City of Regina