Guy Bourgouin MPP for Mushkegowuk—James Bay

Government of Ontario

NDP highlight Ford's housing failures as lack of affordable housing in the North continues to grow

Published on November 22, 2023

QUEEN'S PARK - Today, Ontario NDP MPPs Guy Bourgouin (Mushkegowuk—James Bay) and Sol Mamakwa (Kiiwetinoong) addressed Northern Ontario's extreme housing and affordability crisis, where an increasing number of people are now forced to live in tents.

"The housing crisis has only worsened under the Ford government's watch," said Bourgouin. "Families in Northern Ontario are struggling to stay in their neighborhoods, close to the communities they grew up in. We have a homeless crisis in every part of Ontario, but in the North, the problem is too big for this government to continue ignoring. When I was growing up in a small Northern town, even minimum wage workers owned a home. Today, that dream is out of reach under Ford's Conservatives.

“Our communities are not only being hit with the homeless crisis but also a mental health and addiction crisis, as people can't afford the security of a home or local access to the care they so desperately need.”

The housing crisis has left vulnerable Ontarians without options, as rents have been out of reach for individuals on Ontario Works for roughly a decade and ODSP for five years in most cities. In Northern Ontario, Indigenous people are most disproportionately impacted by the Ford government's refusal to tackle the homelessness crisis.

"Under the Ford government, assistance is nowhere to be found when people need it, and the support available consistently needs to meet people's basic needs,” said Mamakwa. “Northern Ontario needs more single-room occupancy and small housing options for people needing a safe place to sleep. Without immediate action, people will continue to suffer, and their suffering will become more visible as the cost of living continues to climb.

"This government must focus on building the 1.5 million affordable homes this province needs and stop enriching its wealthy developer friends at the expense of ordinary Ontarians. People who have left Southern Ontario and headed North, hoping for shorter waitlists and better wait times, set up tents in parks in Timmins and Sudbury. The scary part is that winter is coming, and no end is in sight."

Bourgouin and Mamakwa call on the Conservative government to shift its focus, prioritize supportive housing, build affordable homes in Northern Ontario, and provide the necessary support systems for the most vulnerable.