OMDREB helps facilitate creation of Regional Housing Roundtable in Halton

September 18, 2023 – Milton, ON – On Friday, September 9, at the Sixteen Mile Creek Sports Complex in Oakville, The Oakville, Milton, and District Real Estate Board (OMDREB) met with a number of officials across the housing spectrum to form and commence the first meeting of the Regional Housing Roundtable.


The real estate industry has been pushing the creation of a National Housing Roundtable through its advocacy efforts. While progress has been made, creating a permanent Housing Roundtable at the national level is a daunting task.

We recognize that having an established permanent Housing Roundtable in some capacity is inherently necessary for positive legislative progress. As such, we have developed a framework for the creation of a Halton Regional Housing Roundtable, containing personnel from the OMDREB and RAHB real estate boards, officials from various levels of government, and other industry stakeholders.

The following individuals and groups participated in the inaugural Regional Housing Roundtable meeting:

    Pam Damoff, MP for Oakville-North Burlington, Chair of Regional Real Estate Roundtable

  • The Honourable Anita Anand, President of the Treasury Board, MP for Oakville
  • Chad Collins, MP for Hamilton East-Stoney Creek
  • The Honourable Karina Gould, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, MP for Burlington
  • Lisa Hepfner, MP for Hamilton Mountain
  • Adam van Koeverden, MP for Milton
  • John Rich, Manager, Communications and Public Affairs, Oakville, Milton and District Real Estate Board (OMDREB)
  • Amanda Stringer, Government Relations and Communications Specialist, Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB)
  • Nicolas von Bredow, President, Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB)
  • Colin Best, Milton Ward 1 Regional Town Councilor
  • Rob Burton, Mayor of Oakville
  • Shawna Stolte, Burlington Ward 4 City Councilor
  • Nrinder Nann, Hamilton Ward 3 City Councilor
  • Justin Lewis, Director of the Housing Secretariat for the City of Hamilton
  • Raymond Kessler, Chief Corporate Real Estate Officer
  • Michelle Diplock, Manager of Planning & Government Relations, West End Home Builders Association
  • Lorraine McLachlan, CEO of Oakville, Milton and District Real Estate Board (OMDREB)
  • Liz Polak, Government Relations Committee Chair of Oakville, Milton and District Real Estate Board (OMDREB)
  • Recognizing The Current Crisis

    It is no secret that the Halton Region is in a housing crisis. Recognizing this, and understanding the sense of urgency, is critical. For the past few years, housing costs have escalated to almost unattainable amounts, while renters are living in unaffordable, improper conditions. There are currently waitlists for supportive housing for people in Halton and the surrounding regions. Shelters are full and are shuffling refugees and newcomers within the region. The Ontario Human Rights Commission states that access to safe, adequate housing is an essential for a healthier society. The Halton Region and its municipalities need to make decisions now to help ensure future generations will be able to maintain this fundamental human right.

    Identifying The Challenges

    • In July 2023, the Canadian Government released a Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF), to help local governments access funds to encourage initiatives aimed at increasing housing supply. While the HAF helps the situation, local governments will still need additional supports to be able to achieve their housing goals.
    • For building developers to be able to begin construction on new builds, they would require a variety of permits. These permits can take 3-5+ years to have these permits approved. These applications can become stalled for various reasons. In the Roundtable meeting, it was stated that in Milton, almost 91% of applications are currently stalled. This is obviously creating a backlog of an already prolonged shortage of housing. Early indicators show that the residential markets have been transitioning from single detached homes to more condo buildings to create more housing opportunities for residents, but this is ultimately not enough.
    • It is important to understand the role infrastructure plays, and how this complicated framework is fundamental to a developing proper housing. The Halton Region has stated their difficulties with affording and upgrading sufficient infrastructure for their growing populations. Some concerns raised indicated that local towns/cities often generate infrastructure targets, estimates and forecasts, but rarely ever to achieve them due to the complexity and expensive costs associated.
    • Another concern with the increasing housing and rental costs is the potential of residents looking at other towns/cities to relocate to achieve their housing goals. With expensive living conditions, it is possible that employers will begin to relocate as their staff will not be able to live nearby or have access to adequate infrastructure such as public transit to commute to their jobs.


    • Since the Covid-19 pandemic, many aspects of people’s everyday life have changed for the long term. Many businesses allow work from home or hybrid working conditions, they understand the importance of family, and understand the time and money workers are spending on commuting to work every day. With so many businesses going virtual, an increasing number of brick-and-mortar businesses have been vacant and could be repurposed. For example, vacant parking lots can be repurposed into residential spaces. Currently in Milton, roughly 70 Acres of land is available for rezoning.
    • Tax Incentives and financial arrangements could be a great way to encourage builders to help expedite the building process of residential spaces. These incentives would need to specifically focus on supply versus demand to ensure the best outcomes.
    • With the high cost of rental accommodations, and the lack of affordable housing, there is a large portion of the population that is in need of financial assistance to remain in their homes. A rent subsidy would be extremely valuable for those who are struggling to keep their households financially afloat. These subsidies are a direct way to reduce the stress of financial burden for people living with lower incomes.
    • Building a variety of Co-operative housing is a lower-cost way to create and maintain affordable housing opportunities. According to the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada, co-operative housing costs less about 14% less than municipal housing. The co-op will also ensure that housing will remain affordable even after several turnovers. In addition to Co-op housing, asylum and supportive housing opportunities can be the difference between being homeless and having a home for many vulnerable people. Creating a variety of housing opportunities will safely enable these vulnerable people to live independently within their communities, while being functional members of society.
    • Ensuring the Regional Housing Roundtable remains permanent is imperative to identify any new or reoccurring concerns, and review and address them on a regular basis. The members of the Roundtable will continue to be diverse stakeholders who represent that housing industry. These stakeholders can assist all levels of government to make informed decisions by contributing accurate and diverse perspectives to help make an impact on the Halton Region housing spectrum.

    Next Steps

    • The Regional Housing Roundtable will meet again in approximately 6 months to discuss any new updates or changes that can be addressed.
    • It was agreed upon to try to have a representative from the province attend the next meeting, as well as Urban and Indigenous Housing representatives. These representatives would help diversify the perspectives of the stakeholders and would be valuable to the future roundtables.