Toronto Community Housing CorporationPublished on 9 May 2017 Hansard and Statements by Senator Art Eggleton (retired)
Hon. Art Eggleton:
Welcome, minister. In 2015, I headed a mayors’ task force that was commissioned to look into the state of Toronto Community Housing Corporation. We released our report in January of last year.
What we reported was not encouraging. We found a $2.6 billion repair backlog at the corporation. Without significant new investment, up to 7,500 units may have to be closed over the next eight years. A further 4,000 could slip into critical condition.
Toronto Community Housing Corporation is the largest social housing provider in Canada, second in North America only to the New York housing authority. It houses roughly 110,000 tenants and there are a further 174,000 on the wait-list just to get in. Closing units is not a good idea.
TCHC, as it is known, has hit a crisis point. By the end of 2017 the city will have spent $870 million to address this shortfall, but only a third of the $2.6 billion in critical funding it needs right now.
The repairs needed at TCHC are the kind of shovel-ready projects that the federal government highlighted in last year’s budget as a target for infrastructure spending. Federal funding is needed just to get these units back to a basic level of livability.
My question, minister, is this: When can the City of Toronto expect to receive the financial support from the federal government on this project?
Hon. Amarjeet Sohi, P.C., M.P., Minister of Infrastructure and Communities: Thank you so much, senator, for that question. Our government believes that access to affordable and appropriate housing is so fundamental for Canadians to succeed. I can’t imagine a situation where someone doesn’t have a decent place to live. How will they participate in the economy and community overall?
Under our phase 1 plan, we focused on affordable housing and repairing the existing stock of housing. I’m proud to tell you that under that plan we have refurbished close to 90,000 existing affordable housing units that could have been displaced because of the challenges that you have identified.
On top of that, we built 6,000 new affordable housing units for indigenous communities on reserve, along with investments into schooling.
As part of the long-term plan, Minister Duclos, who is responsible for this particular area, has developed a national housing strategy. Under that plan, we will be investing close to $11 billion to support local communities, including Toronto. Torontonians received their fair share of funding in phase 1 in last year’s budget, which was allocated to them.
Under the long-term plan, we will definitely be able not only to repair what we have, but also to build new housing, both affordable and social, and to make investments into dealing with homelessness crises that major urban centres are facing.