4 min read
17 April 2024

Statement from Eric Mariglia, WoodGreen’s Director of Public Affairs, on Federal Budget 2024 

Toronto, ON – WoodGreen Community Services applauds the federal government for its significant investment to support Canadians living on low incomes by providing $60 million over five years to expand community-delivered financial help services, which have been historically underfunded.

When financial crises hit, many low- and moderate-income Canadians have no place they can turn to for help. With this investment in Prosper Canada, WoodGreen as a financial empowerment service provider will be able to support more vulnerable Toronto residents through our financial help services, including workshops, one-on-one counselling, free tax clinics, debt management and other resources designed to improve financial literacy and money management skills to help clients reach their financial goals.

We are also encouraged to see an investment of $500 million over five years for the creation of a new Youth Mental Health Fund. The fund proposes to help community health organizations provide more care for youth, and better equip these organizations to refer youth to other mental health services within their networks and partnerships. We look forward to further details on how this investment can support community-based mental health and addiction providers and enhance our on-the-ground services.

WoodGreen and the non-profit housing sector as a whole have long called for the federal government to provide access to surplus land for the development of affordable housing. Today’s announcements are a good step forward in developing affordable housing on under-utilized land. We are encouraged to see the following in the budget:

  • Commitment to review the portfolio of federally owned land and properties to identify sites where new homes can be built.
  • The unlocking of five federal properties that will be leased to housing providers, including land in Toronto.
  • $500 million over five years to Public Services and Procurement Canada to launch a new Public Lands Acquisition Fund, which will purchase land from other orders of government to help spur sustainable, mixed-market housing.
  • $112.6 million over five years and $4.3 million in future years for the Federal Lands Initiative to unlock more federal lands for affordable housing providers.
  • $1.1 billion over ten years to Public Services and Procurement Canada to reduce its office portfolio by 50 per cent, and where applicable, prioritize student and non-market housing in the unlocking of federal office properties.

WoodGreen calls on the government to provide equal opportunity for non-profit housing providers to have access to surplus lands. Non-profits need similar priority to other stakeholders such as municipalities, in accessing surplus lands targeted for affordable housing development.

All said, yesterday’s budget commitments are a significant step forward to supporting low-income Canadians, including those in Toronto. We look forward to continuing to work with the government to provide deeply affordable housing and wrap-around social services to vulnerable populations to help break the cycle of poverty.

WoodGreen — with close to 1,500 deeply affordable housing units — is one of Toronto’s largest non-municipal affordable housing providers, offering safe and affordable homes to seniors, newcomers, youth, individuals with disabilities and people with a long history of homelessness. Our organization has an ambitious plan to own and/or manage 3,000 units within the next ten years.

ABOUT WOODGREEN COMMUNITY SERVICES (woodgreen.org):WoodGreen is one of the largest social service agencies in Toronto, serving 37,000 people each year. We offer over 75 programs and services tackling the social determinants that affect the health and well-being of individuals in our community.


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Jen Mayville, Senior Communications Manager;[email protected]; (437) 226-8091 (cell).