A Parliament Hill rally on November 20 drew close to 100 people, including a number of MPs and city councillors. The event was organized by the Close the Housing Gap campaign, a collaboration between the City of Toronto and Toronto Community Housing.
The campaign is calling for federal and provincial governments to continue funding social housing at existing levels and provide new, long-term sustainable funding for social housing capital repairs.
“The City of Toronto is taking a firm stand on housing issues, and we’re working very closely with the City on affordable housing issues, particularly End of Operating Agreements,” said Harvey Cooper, Manager, Government Relations, Ontario Region, for CHF Canada, who joined the bus load of people for the trip from Toronto to the national capital.
CHFT Executive Director Tom Clement said there was a very strong co-op presence at the event, including members and staff from Eastern Ontario, CHFT and CHF Canada. “It was an extremely well organized event.”
MPs at the rally included Mauril Belanger, Andrew Cash, Olivia Chow, Carolyn Hughes, John McCallum, Craig Scott, Jinny Sims, Rathika Sitsabaiesan and Mike Sullivan. Former Toronto Mayor, now Senator, Art Eggleton was also present, as were Toronto City Councillor Ana Bailão and Ottawa City Councillors Diane Holmes and Marianne Wilkinson.
The campaign calls for the federal government to stop withdrawing money from social housing and reinvest into social housing capital repairs, for the provincial government to treat social housing providers fairly when paying social assistance rent rates, and for both levels of government to provide fully-funded, long-term housing strategies.
Several MPs spoke during the rally about expiring federal operating agreements, as did CHFT President Domanique Grant.
To join the campaign and sign the online petition, visit the Close the Housing Gap campaign website.