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GDAR Hosts Stakeholder Discussion to Address Housing Crisis

Thursday, September 7th, 2023


Guelph, Ontario - The Guelph and District Association of REALTORS® hosted the first quarterly Attainable Housing meeting, bringing key stakeholders in the area’s housing continuum together to address the current housing crisis.



Attendees included Guelph MPP Mike Schreiner, Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie, Mark Poste (Director of Housing) County of Wellington, Melissa Jonker (CEO) and Josh Kaufman (President) -Guelph & District Home Builders' Association, Ryan Deska - Habitat for Humanity, Jason Lagerquist (Head of Government Relations) Ontario Real Estate Association, along with hosts from the Guelph & District Association of REALTORS® - Tyson Hinschberger (President), Katrina Steffler (Executive Officer), Dustin Davis (Past President), Brett Nodwell, Chad McBain and Sabrina Essery (Government Relations Representatives).


The Guelph & District Association of REALTORS® (GDAR) has been advocating for housing related issues for many years at the Municipal, Provincial and Federal levels and meeting with local elected officials.


GDAR has hosted many election events in the past including the first Housing Debate for the Guelph Municipal Election last fall.


REALTORS® are real estate experts who know their markets and communities. They are entrepreneurs and business owners, community champions and an integral part of the economy. With more than 160,000 members nation-wide, REALTORS® make up one of the largest single industry associations in Canada and are drivers of our economy.

REALTORS® are in the business of helping Canadians find homes, and know the ins and outs of the markets they work in. That is why we have been advocating for years, long before the pandemic, on the housing shortage in Canada and locally in the Guelph & District area.


Last year, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) projected that 5.8 million homes would need to be built by 2030 to restore housing affordability for Canadians. The current pace of building puts the country on track to construct just 2.3 millions homes by then. According to modeling done by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis, Ontario needs 1.78 million homes over 10 years.



Today’s discussion heard more from the stakeholders who know that in Guelph alone, the population is expected to grow by over 60,000 people in the next 30 years who will need a place to live in addition to those already struggling to attain affordable housing.

While many factors contribute to this complex issue, prices, inflation/interest rates, services, infrastructure, and policy stood out as key barriers to accomplishing the goal of affordable housing for all which need to be addressed.


Guelph has already taken steps towards removing red tape for densification by expanding the limitations of exclusionary zoning and permitting additional units to be added to pre-existing homes in the city. However, several other measures were brought forward as potential areas for improvement, including:

  • Providing additional support for first-time home buyers,

  • Looking at converting underused commercial buildings into residential units,

  • Working with OREA to get illegal funding out of the real estate market by securing loopholes and introducing a beneficial buyer directory.

  • Eliminating the HST on purpose-built rental units to make their development feasible,

  • Ensuring timely construction on lands already approved for development by the city,

  • Bringing housing suppliers from all stages of the housing continuum together to find potential areas for collaborative use of lands,

  • Advocating for efficiencies in the development process with governing agencies, and

  • Eliminating minimum parking requirements for builds, especially in the downtown core.

GDAR looks forward to future discussions on this matter of utmost importance with the shared goal of bringing key stakeholders together who have the power to influence and hopefully solve many of the issues that are barriers to getting affordable homes built in our community. By working together, we will find solutions that can affect real change.


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