Skip to content

'Stop micromanaging': York Region demands housing funding from feds

Region asks for consideration for northern six municipalities rejected for housing accelerator, but southern cities got nearly $150 million combined
Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti speaks during a Mach 21 regional council meeting.

The Regional Municipality of York is demanding that the federal government give more consideration for housing funding to its northern six municipalities.

Regional council passed a resolution today asking that the applications for its northern six municipalities get reconsidered for the federal housing accelerator fund, including Newmarket. It further said that any future funding should prioritize areas of high growth.

This comes after none of these municipalities received funds from the $4-billion pool the federal government put forward to support housing. Whitchurch-Stouffville Mayor Iain Lovatt, who put the resolution forward, said there was no explanation as to why their applications were rejected.

“I’m hoping with the weight of this council supporting this resolution that we can get answers and certainly look at supporting future applications if our applications can’t be reassessed,” Lovatt said.

The federal government announced 179 agreements this month with municipalities to add housing in exchange for funding out of 540 applications. All of the northern six municipalities missed out, but the resolution acknowledged that Richmond Hill ($31 million), Markham ($59 million) and Vaughan ($59 million) got funding.

Newmarket Mayor John Taylor said both the federal and provincial governments are wrongheaded in funding distribution because almost every municipality is already committed to addressing housing, and picking between them is difficult.

“These programs, federally, provincially, are somewhat arbitrarily picking winners and losers,” Taylor said. “It could be seen as pitting municipalities against each other … Stop micromanaging, stop giving us a big list of things to adhere to, provide infrastructure dollars so we can build things.”

Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti supported the resolution but expressed concern with the precedent. He said municipalities get denied grant applications all the time, and it does not necessarily come to the region for a resolution.

“We understand that programs are oversubscribed, Mr. Chair, and their money has been handed out, and there’s no more money left,” Scarpitti said. “None of us should be implying that the federal government overlooked York Region when it came to this particular program because they absolutely did not.”

Scarpitti also suggested the resolution say that the region appreciates the funding provided to the southern York Region municipalities, which Lovatt accepted.

Previously asked about York Region municipalities getting rejected, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said the application process was “extremely competitive.”

“In assessing applications, the (federal) government balanced prioritizing the most ambitious proposals with ensuring that we were able to reach agreements with communities … in every region in the country,” the organization said.

The corporation estimates that the fund will help create 750,000 new homes across the country over the next decade.