Founded in 1980, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) is one of Canada’s leading progressive voices in public policy debates. Through its National Office in Ottawa, and provincial offices in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Nova Scotia, the organization monitors progress on affordable housing commitments by both the federal and BC governments–and offers practical solutions.
Marc Lee, a Senior Economist at the CCPA’s BC Office, took a close look at the BC government’s promise to build 114,000 affordable housing units within 10 years through its 2018 Homes for BC plan and found that less than 10% had been completed as of April 2021. This figure rises to 22 per cent if units in progress are counted. I uncovered a similar story of too-slow progress at the federal level, tracking what’s happened with the 2017 National Housing strategy.
Lee’s research also shows there is no shortage of solutions at hand. Earlier this month, CCPA released a new report about upzoning in the region’s detached housing neighbourhoods (allowing more dense and diverse housing types instead of relying on controversial tower developments) and proposed measures that would lock in affordability. The report draws on roundtable discussions with housing experts and activists to find common ground.
According to Lee, how Metro Vancouver upzones, not whether it does, should be a top issue heading into the October 2022 municipal elections. See his recent op-ed in the Vancouver Sun for a quick overview on this topic.