5 min read
15 September 2023

Statement from WoodGreen’s Vice President of Housing & Homelessness Services Mwarigha on the federal government’s recent housing announcement

Toronto, ON – WoodGreen Community Services welcomes the federal government’s Housing Accelerator Fund agreement with the City of London that will eliminate regulatory and zoning barriers and have a potential impact on fast-tracking the creation of over 2,000 additional housing units over the next three years in that city. WoodGreen hopes to see similar agreements for other municipalities soon, including the City of Toronto.

WoodGreen also welcomes the prime minister’s pledge to eliminate the GST from the construction of new purpose-built rental apartments for both private and non-profit developers nationwide.

The Housing Accelerator Fund not only reduces delays in approving new affordable housing developments but gives municipalities additional funding to support private and non-profit planning submissions that meet the highest green and architectural design standards to the benefit of healthy, culturally diverse, and mixed-income communities. Additionally, the GST exemption will stimulate the development of more affordable rental units and make it easier for non-profit housing providers, such as WoodGreen, to address the needs of individuals living on low or moderate incomes. This added rental stock will mean more housing options for essential workers, students, seniors, families with moderate incomes, and others.

WoodGreen looks forward to future opportunities to work with governments of all levels on the adoption of innovative policies and funding initiatives to accelerate the building of affordable housing. We encourage provincial governments to also institute similar tax exemptions for purpose-built rentals. Ultimately to speed up and scale new affordable housing supply, more measures are required to incentivize investment of upfront private and social impact equity as well as prioritize funding for collaborative private and non-profit developer models. More action from all levels of government is also required to accelerate the use of speedy and sustainable construction methods — such as modular and mass timber materials — that also help support Canada’s climate change targets. Finally, the urgency of new housing development must be matched with equal attention to the preservation of existing affordable rental housing stock.

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) or Tureisha Hamlet, Corporate Communications and Public Relations Manager; [email protected]; (416) 277-2672