The federal government has changed its tune. An agreement has finally been reached between the feds and the Ontario government on the National Housing Strategy front – one that comes with $357M in funding.

This morning, Sean Fraser, Canada’s Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities, and Paul Calandra, Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, released a joint statement – one that may come as a surprise to those who’ve been following the dollar-allocation drama.

“Canada and Ontario recognize that our collaboration is imperative to solving the housing crisis. That is why we are pleased to share that an agreement has been reached on a revised action plan from Ontario that will unlock $357 million of federal funding under the National Housing Strategy (NHS),” reads the statement, in part. These funds are directed to the creation of new rent-assisted housing.

The move comes just weeks after Ottawa, like a fed-up parent, said it would bypass Doug Ford’s government and send much-needed housing funding straight to Ontario municipalities. On April 30, Fraser sent a scathing letter to Calandra – one that was obtained by STOREYS – that said that the conditional federal government will now send $357M in affordable housing funding directly to municipalities rather than to the province after Ford’s government failed to demonstrate how it would meet its target of 19,660 affordable new homes by 2028.

\u200bFederal Minister of Housing Sean Fraser.Federal Minister of Housing Sean Fraser. (Sean Fraser, Twitter)

The letter came as a follow-up to a March 21 letter from Fraser to Calandra, in which Fraser called Ontario’s Action Plan “a disappointment." The letter warned that removing the Province from the equation was on the table as a consequence if Ford and his cabinet didn’t show exactly how they planned to meet the target.

“The only condition was that Ontario show how it would meet the target in the agreement of 19,660 new affordable housing units by 2028,” wrote Fraser in the April 30 letter. “Ontario had already received a one-year extension to provide this information. We were willing to provide a further extension until September 30, 2024. Since our last exchange of letters, I have come to understand that a conditional approval was not acceptable to you and that Ontario is unwilling to provide further details as to how it will meet the target it agreed to.”

Today’s statement, however, outlines how the Ontario government submitted a revised Action Plan under the bilateral agreement, which provides “more robust data and insights as to which housing projects benefitted from provincial investment.” It states that the province revised its Action Plan to “better reflect Ontario’s funding delivery model,” as the only province that flows these funds through municipal service managers.

Canada investing $25M in affordable housingCanada Investing $25M to Build 500 New Affordable

“These measures include: establishing provincial supply targets with service managers, directing funding toward new projects, setting annual goals, and implementing robust data collection and reporting mechanisms,” reads the statement. “Additionally, Ontario will submit an Action Plan for 2025-2028 by December 31, 2024 to secure continued federal funding for the remainder of the 10-year National Housing Strategy agreement.”

The statement concludes by stressing the government’s “Team Canada” approach to tackling the nationwide housing crisis. “We will continue to work together, along with our municipal partners, to make sure the people of Ontario have the homes they need,” it concludes.

Let's just hope this newfound camaraderie will last, for the sake of Ontario residents in need of an affordable roof over their head.