CHRA keeps an open dialogue with members about their priorities year-round; but the annual general meeting is your official opportunity to have your thoughts heard and voted on by members and put into action by the CHRA board and staff.
The 2011 Annual General Meeting was held on June 22, 2011 from 3:00pm - 5:00pm at the Regina Inn in Regina, SK. The resolutions below, voted on and passed by members at this year’s AGM, represent the priorities of CHRA members and will guide CHRA activities and advocacy over the coming months.
Resolutions can be submitted at any time.
Please contact Dallas Alderson for more information:
613.594.3007 ext. 18
2011 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING RESOLUTIONS
Canadian Downtown Associations
- Regina Downtown Business Improvement District, Regina, SK
- Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area, Toronto, ON
- Entertainment District Business Improvement Area, Toronto, ON
That CHRA engage with Canadian downtown associations by:
- identify specific areas of the Canadian Downtown Declaration for alignment with CHRA for advocacy purposes.
- collaboratively identify opportunities for Canadian downtown associations to support CHRA’s national advocacy initiatives. This may include efforts aimed at growing the membership of Business Improvement Area associations within CHRA as appropriate
- present back to the CHRA 2012 Congress in St John’s, Newfoundland to highlight accomplishments as a result of this collaboration with downtown business communities.
The Canadian Housing & Renewal Association has three members who represent downtown business associations in Regina and Toronto. This resolution is being submitted jointly by these three downtown business associations, and reflects the views of these associations. These organizations share CHRA’s concern about homelessness and have experienced success in working collaboratively. They joined CHRA to support its national advocacy initiatives.
Homelessness is likewise a concern shared by downtown associations across Canada. Many Canadian downtown associations are members of the International Downtown Association and serve on a Canadian Issues Taskforce to advance an advocacy agenda. On June 3, 2010, Canada’s downtown associations convened in Ottawa where they adopted “The Downtown Declaration.” The declaration is a national strategy for Canadian downtowns, which seeks a new federal role in downtown/urban issues and initiatives.
The Downtown Declaration identifies National Affordable & Social Housing (with mental health & addictions support) as being critical for Canadian downtowns. It is an area that requires greater advocacy. The ability for Canadian downtowns to take the lead in such advocacy is limited given resource constraints. However, there is a tremendous opportunity to support and advocate alongside a national organization that is already committed to ending homelessness, specifically CHRA.
This motion seeks to align Canadian downtown associations with the advocacy work of CHRA through the specific actions noted in the operative clauses in the resolution.
Strengthening the ecoENERGY Retrofit Homes Program
The Newfoundland and Labrador Housing & Homelessness Network
That CHRA urge the federal government to extend the ecoENERGY Retrofit Homes Program for at least five years and that a dedicated component of the program be developed, which would facilitate the participation of low and moderate-income homeowners in the program.
The ecoENERGY Retrofit Homes Program was designed to provide grants for homeowners to offset the cost of energy efficiency upgrades. It initially had terminated March 31, 2011, but the program had stopped receiving applications several months earlier. The June 2011 budget contained a commitment to renew the ecoENERGY Retrofit Homes Program for one year.
The Budget commits $400 million to continue the ecoENERGY Retrofit Homes Program for one year, which would provide homeowners with grants of up to $5000 per unit to offset the cost of energy efficiency upgrades from 2011-2012.
The program is important as it represents the only federal initiative designed to support energy efficiency upgrades to Canada’s housing stock. Important economic benefits will also be realized through the jobs created in the retrofitting work. As the June 2011 Budget and Conservative Platform during the most recent campaign offered few commitments focused on housing, the inclusion of the ecoENERGY Retrofit Homes Program is significant as it represents the ongoing presence of the federal government in housing.
However, that the program is anticipated to be only one year in duration is inadequate. Many homeowners will not realize that they could benefit from it until it is already wrapping up. Its economic impact will be limited because it is restricted in duration. As well, it is understood it will be structured in a way which requires upfront or partial payments, which many low or moderate-income households will not be able to make. In this way, the program will not help those who are most burdened by energy costs and could benefit the most from the improved affordability that comes with efficiency gains.
This resolution recognizes that a more fulsome federal initiative which is not restricted to homeowners would be preferred, specifically one that enables the participation of social and affordable housing providers and other landlords.
Growing Canada’s Rental Housing Stock
BC Non Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA)
That CHRA urge the federal government to put in place measures which would grow Canada’s rental housing stock, with an emphasis on affordable units. CHRA should argue for measures that support social housing providers growing their revenue base by building or acquiring market rental housing in order to subsidize their lower income tenants. Specific measures sought from the federal government are: incentives to stimulate rental housing construction, a national housing strategy, and capital and financing to improve the viability of non-profit and coop housing construction.
Rental housing, including non‐profit housing, is a key component of Canada’s housing system. Along with homeownership, rental housing plays an important role in the housing continuum serving families and individuals at different life stages. 32% of Canadians are renters living in Canada’s 3.9 million rental units. However, communities across the country are feeling the strain of low vacancy rates leading to historically high rents as a result of decades of inadequate rental housing supply and erosion due to conversions. Affordability issues are exacerbated by high energy and utility costs, which are often paid by tenants.
CMHC recorded an overall, national decline of 18,000 rental units from 2000 to 2010, which has meant a net loss of 140,000 older existing rental units The impact is mostly witnessed in the lower-end rental units. Between 1996 and 2006, the number of units affordable to people earning up to $24,000/year declined by 800,000 dwellings. The latest CMHC Rental Market survey demonstrates that the national rental vacancy rate decreased to 2.6 per cent in October 2010. The major centres with the lowest vacancy rates in October 2010 were Winnipeg (0.8 per cent), Regina, Kingston and Québec (1.0 per cent).
Little purpose built rental housing has been built since the 1960s and 70s in large measure because the federal government ended tax measures that had facilitated new purpose built rental housing. The demand for rental housing, however, is growing. Canada’s increasing flow of new immigrants, along with an aging population is creating an even greater demand for a limited supply of rental units.
In response to mounting concern by housing stakeholders in Metro Vancouver, the Metro Vancouver Rental Housing Supply Coalition has formed. It is a unique coalition of ten members consisting of BCNPHA and the Cooperative Housing Federation of BC and industry representatives including the Urban Development Institute and the BC Apartment Owners and Managers Association. The Coalition is requesting the federal government to: provide taxation incentives to stimulate rental construction, implement a National Housing Strategy and improve the viability of non-profit and coop housing construction. The provincial government and municipalities are also requested to take action to grow the rental housing supply.
Expanding Canada’s rental housing stock would not only better serve these groups with greater choice and improved affordability, but it may also provide needed opportunities for social housing providers. Manysocial housing providers will soon have their operating agreements expire, leading to a withdrawal ofongoing subsidy. The current funding environment is such that they must look outside the traditional means of sustaining support for their properties and lower income tenants. Building or acquiring market rental housing, whether alone or in partnership, could enable providers to generate the revenue required that will keep rents affordable for their lower income tenants in the face of lost subsidies. Some affordable and social housing providers have successfully pursued this strategy.