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Affordability Action Council calls for an all-in approach to solving Canada’s affordability and climate crises

November 14, 2023 Print

Montreal, Quebec, Canada — Affordability and climate are compounding, overlapping crises — and people are struggling with both. Individuals across Canada are tired of making trade-offs because, when it comes to life’s necessities — housing, food, transportation and climate — there are none.

Today is the official launch of the Affordability Action Council (AAC) — an innovative collaboration of diverse policy and community leaders. The Council has broken down silos to table a package of “all-in” solutions to help meet Canadians’ basic needs in a more integrated way, articulating a fundamentally different approach to policy-making.

“We can no longer afford one-off or zero-sum solutions that ignore the full picture of people’s lives and challenges. Canadians need and deserve supports that make it possible to live safer and more affordable lives,” says Brendan Haley, policy director, Efficiency Canada and AAC member.

Today the AAC has published two new policy briefs that provide actionable solutions for making Canada’s homes more sustainable and more affordable — especially for people with lower incomes.

Amid skyrocketing rents and housing prices, people in Canada are struggling to find and maintain homes they can afford. The briefs recommend that the federal government pursue ambitious efforts to retrofit existing housing and accelerate the expansion of new affordable, low-carbon and resilient housing units.

To reduce energy costs and climate risks faced by low-income households in older homes, the AAC recommends that the federal government offer a free retrofit program — with heat pumps and other home upgrades — aimed at making about 100,000 homes a year more affordable, energy efficient and climate resilient.

“Reducing household dependency on energy and costs associated with growing climate risks —for everyone — is critical to addressing affordability and going all-in on relief,” says Haley “Federal programs exist but they require a major reset to address the needs of lower-income Canadians.”

At the same time, more new affordable and sustainable housing stock must be created to meet the needs of low-income individuals struggling to find homes.

“Canada can build and foster long-lasting, inclusive communities through an affordable housing strategy that goes all-in on relief and seizes near-term opportunities,” says Cherise Burda, executive director, City Building TMU and AAC member. “This means creating housing infrastructure that is affordable, accessible, energy efficient and resilient to a changing climate.”

The AAC is calling on the federal government to build one million rent-geared-to-income community homes by 2030. To align with climate-change goals and provide lasting affordability, these homes should be built near public transit and meet net-zero and climate-resilient codes and standards.

Sustainable housing is a major priority for the federal government. The recommendations by the Affordability Action Council provide critical solutions to making sustainable homes accessible for low-income Canadians, a crucial first step in solving Canada’s housing crisis.

The Affordability Action Council will table additional policy briefs over the coming months that will address other basic needs such as transportation and food. This will all culminate in a comprehensive report early in 2024.


Media contact

Cléa Desjardins — Director of Communications, IRPP
cdesjardins@nullirpp.org | 514-245-2139

About the Affordability Action Council
The AAC is a dedicated, pan-Canadian group that brings together diverse policy experts and community leaders to come up with new approaches to policy-making that considers all basic needs, including housing, food, transportation and a livable climate. It is an initiative of the Institute for Research on Public Policy, Destination Zero, the Trottier Family Foundation and the McConnell Foundation.

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Media Contact

Cléa Desjardins
Communications Director
514-245-2139 • cdesjardins@irpp.org

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