Fredericton - September 19, 2000 -- Federal, provincial and territorial Ministers responsible for housing met today in Fredericton to discuss housing issues and concerns1. The meeting was co-chaired by the Honourable Alfonso Gagliano, Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and the Honourable Percy Mockler, New Brunswick's Minister of Family and Community Services.
This was the first time the federal, provincial and territorial housing Ministers have met collectively in more than five years. Ministers agreed to resume regular meetings and to work together on research and policy initiatives in several key areas.
"I was pleased to have the opportunity to get together with my provincial and territorial colleagues", said Mr. Gagliano. "We found a lot of common ground and made a commitment to work closely together in several priority areas".
The Ministers recognized that housing problems are a serious concern in all parts of Canada. However, they also understand that housing issues differ in the various regions of Canada, and therefore flexible and innovative approaches are required. All levels of government have a contribution to make in addressing this issue.
Ministers discussed the lack of affordable rental housing and agreed on a work plan which will involve a common research agenda and multi-sector consultations with stakeholders to discuss and formulate action plans. This work will address a wide range of issues related to affordable housing such as taxes, development charges, regulatory reform, housing finance and construction labour supply and training.
Housing problems in rural and remote areas of Canada are of equal concern in many jurisdictions. The Ministers agreed to work together on the development of a strategic framework to address housing issues in these areas.
"Housing affordability is a concern in our large cities and towns, but we cannot forget that rural and remote communities also have significant housing needs" said Mr. Mockler.
Ministers discussed housing quality and agreed to share information2.
Provincial/Territorial Ministers shared their concerns about the federal homelessness initiatives. Mr. Gagliano agreed to share these concerns with his federal colleagues.
Ministers will meet again in 2001 to review progress on these issues and determine the next steps.
1 Although it shares the concerns of the other governments with respect to social housing issues, Quebec is determined to retain control over all related initiatives undertaken within its territory by obtaining the withdrawal of the federal government with fair financial compensation.
2 In relation to Housing Quality issues, Quebec intends to preserve its sole responsibility in the area of consumer protection which falls entirely within its jurisdiction.
Minister Gagliano's Office
Peter De Barros