Statement from Nate Wallace, Clean Transportation Program Manager and Phil Pothen, Land Use and Land Development Program Manager

Ottawa | Traditional, unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg People – We welcome the Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities Sean Fraser’s comments today on tying housing outcomes to the forthcoming permanent public transit funding program, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement of a new housing infrastructure program requiring provinces to legalize fourplexes.

Nate Wallace, Program Manager, Clean Transportation:

It is great news for housing and public transit that the federal government intends to tie the forthcoming Permanent Public Transit Fund to transit-friendly land-use standards near federally funded transit stations. The specific commitment to require high density housing and the elimination of minimum parking requirements within 800 metres of frequent-service transit stations announced today was a key recommendation from our recent report: Putting Wheels on the Bus: Unlocking the Potential of Public Transit to Cut Carbon Emissions in Canada. This will make it easier for more people to live near public transit options and walk or cycle to their closest bus or train station, encouraging ridership growth and reducing carbon emissions. 

Our report found that this change, alongside other key policy measures, like funding public transit operations to boost the frequency and reliability of local transit services, can double ridership by 2035 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65 million tonnes. We look forward to hearing more details in the forthcoming federal budget, and highlight the need for this public transit program to include funding that improves day-to-day transit service to support this higher housing density. Building walkable, transit-friendly, inclusive and sustainable communities is crucial to tackle the housing crisis and fight climate change. We continue to call on the federal government to pull forward this public transit program to 2024 rather than 2026 to ensure these needed changes begin as soon as possible.

Phil Pothen, Program Manager, Land Use and Ontario Environment:

We also welcome the commitment from Minister Fraser to make access to $5 billion of the new $6 billion Canada Housing Infrastructure Fund conditional upon Provincial governments making it legal for homeowners to create fourplexes in all existing residential neighbourhoods. Particularly in the southern regions of Canada, where most of us live, putting new family homes in denser building types, and in all parts of our existing neighbourhoods, is the only way to create enough homes fast enough to fix our housing shortage. It’s also the only approach that will rescue what remains of wildlife habitats and quality farmland in Canada’s most threatened natural ecosystems. Taken together, these new measures to promote density around transit, and throughout existing neighborhoods, are a meaningful step in the right direction.

ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE ( Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

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For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Karishma Porwal, Environmental Defence,