Provincial and Territorial Ministers
VANCOUVER - February 6, 2008 – Provincial and territorial ministers responsible for housing are taking action and engaging the federal government to address the country’s critical housing issues. Ministers stress the urgency of responding quickly to support the four million Canadians in need.
During the provincial/territorial forum of Ministers responsible for Housing, the ministers reaffirmed the principles adopted in White Point, Nova Scotia in 2005 that define an effective federal/provincial/territorial partnership to meet the housing needs of Canadians. At that time, provincial and territorial ministers agreed upon a set of shared guiding principles for current and future housing initiatives that defined roles, responsibilities, and funding mechanisms.
“Access to appropriate housing forms the foundation of strong communities, strong provinces and territories,” said British Columbia’s Minister Responsible for Housing Rich Coleman. “Each province and territory faces distinct challenges but we also have achieved remarkable successes. Together we look forward to working closely with the federal government to ensure the housing needs of Canadians are met – now and in the future.”
Ministers were disappointed the federal minister was not present at the forum; however, while at the meeting, ministers received a commitment to meet with the federal minister in Ottawa within 60 days. At that meeting, Provinces and Territories expect to establish a federal/provincial/territorial partnership based upon White Point principles, including adequate sustainable funding. The White Point principles can be found online at http://www.scics.gc.ca/cinfo05/860507005_e.html.
Provincial and territorial ministers are seeking an immediate commitment in the upcoming federal budget to increase the level of funding for housing programs, including those set to expire in March 2009.
During the forum, Ministers also discussed housing issues facing First Nations, Metis and Inuit people; changes to the tax system to promote rental housing; how best to support Canada’s existing stock of social housing; and the need for partnerships with local governments, non-profit groups and the private sector.
Today’s meeting marks the end of Minister Coleman’s term as chair of the provincial/ territorial housing forum. Newfoundland and Labrador Minister responsible for Housing Shawn Skinner now assumes the role. As the chair, Minister Skinner also becomes the provincial/territorial co-chair of future federal/provincial/territorial meetings of ministers responsible for housing.
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Public Affairs Officer
Province of British Columbia