Part 1: CIP’s National Conference – Affordable Housing Policy Series
Written by Stephanie Cantlay
July 25, 2022
Cahdco attended the Canadian Institute of Planners’ National Conference with a special interest in the affordable housing sessions. Read the first posting of our three-part series.
Development Intern, Stephanie Cantlay, attended the Canadian Institute of Planners’ (CIP) National Conference, this year held jointly with the Planning Institute of British Columbia. The conference took place, using a hybrid model, in Whistler, British Columbia from July 5 – 8 with an option for virtual attendance to many sessions beginning on July 6.
Every year, CIP hosts a conference to connect practitioners encompassing all areas of planning to address key issues and topics impacting the profession. Housing is a basic need and in 2022, housing was listed as a new commitment in CIP’s 5-year Strategic Plan (2022 – 2027). As such, there were diverse panels dedicated to housing at the conference.
Elevation 2.0 was the theme of the Canadian Institute of Planners’ National Conference, held jointly with the Planning Institute of British Columbia.
This year’s theme, Elevation 2.0, attempts to elevate and guide the planning profession to new heights by moving forward and upward, seeking vantage points, and taking paths to explore. The conference included three keynote addresses, over 40 concurrent sessions, experiential workshops, learning tours and among other events. More than 600 planners and community builders attended in-person and 300 observed and interacted online. Stephanie attended the online conference with access to the keynote addresses and 21 concurrent sessions.
This blog series will provide highlights from each session Cahdco attended and the themes that emerged from this year’s conference. We also encourage readers to engage with our digital whiteboard conference summary.
A snapshot of the mural the Cahdco team created.
Keynote Panel on Housing and Planning
Panelists: Lilian Chau (Entre Nous Femmes Housing Society), Dr. Esther de Vos (BC Housing), Deana Grinnell (Canada Lands Company), and Patricia Roset-Zuppa (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation)
Moderator: Dr. Ren Thomas (Dalhousie University)
Guided by affordable housing questions asked by Dr. Ren Thomas, each panelist had the opportunity to define affordable housing and the provide examples of successes and challenges of affordable housing implementation. Each panelist mentioned core housing need as a definition and measure of affordable housing and determining who needs affordable housing. The limitations of core housing need to address localized issues and diverse definitions and measures required by funding providers can be barriers to affordable housing implementation.
A snapshot of the mural the Cahdco team created for the keynote panel on housing and planning.
Non-profit organizations were observed as a success in the implementation of affordable housing. Lilian Chau highlighted the increased development capacity in the sector to build and deliver affordable housing. Deana Grinnell noted non-profit partnerships and success through the Federal Lands Initiative.
Towards Affordable Housing in the Suburbs – The Region of Peel’s Housing Master Plan
Presented by: Archana Vyas (Region of Peel) “It’s not building a building, it’s building a community”
Archana Vyas provided a brief history on the role of the service manager and downloading social affordable housing responsibilities to the municipality. This helped contextualize the Housing Master Plan. The Plan was presented first in terms of the developments Peel has created as a housing developer and provider and how the municipality assists as a funding provider. It was noted environmental efficiency requirements add to the cost of the overall project but are required for capital funding. Additionally, funding programs often fund capital projects and do not fund operational expenses. This is a barrier, not just within Peel, but can be felt by other municipalities and developers.
A snapshot of the mural the Cahdco team created for the session on the Region of Peel’s Housing Master Plan.
In Cahdco’s experience, all projects seeking funding and financing through the National Housing Strategy programs are required to meet rigorous environmental efficiency standards to qualify for funding. The more energy efficient the project, the higher it scores in the funding assessment. While there is a premium in capital costs to meet these energy efficiency targets, there is a benefit of decreased ongoing operating costs for utilities. Multifaith Housing Initiative’s (MHI) Veterans’ House is an example of such a project, which was designed and built to meet Passive House energy efficiency standards, resulting in reduced energy consumption and operational cost savings.
Multifaith Housing Initiative’s Veterans’ House is an example of how environmental efficiency standards has resulted in operational cost savings (Krista Jahnke Photography, n.d.)
The Region of Peel has created affordable housing incentives for both private and non-profit developers to build new units and this level of affordability is largely targeting middle-income units or the “missing middle”. Although most Cahdco developments are intended for lower-income households, CCOC’s Arlington townhouses could be considered an example of a missing-middle units. This presentation is a good example of municipal funding programs for affordable housing.