Bruce County Housing Forum discusses complex issue of housing

On Thursday, February 9th, Bruce County’s Human Services and Planning and Development departments collaboratively hosted a Housing Forum in Walkerton. Elected officials and regional municipal staff gathered to discuss the state of housing in the area, engage in open dialogue about housing initiatives, and share possible solutions to address the housing shortage in Bruce County.

“Effective solutions to the housing challenges we face require a strong understanding of current and future affordable housing needs and gaps, and the reasons for them,” says Christine MacDonald, Director of Human Services. “The Bruce County Housing Forum was an opportunity to come together to have a productive conversation about inclusive housing policy, community development, and affordable housing.”

At the Forum, Mathieu Laberge, lead engagement partner at KPMG, showcased the recently completed Bruce County Demographic Housing Study, highlighting comprehensive data about the County’s changing demographic characteristics; current and future housing supply and demand; key housing gaps and issues; and key factors affecting housing demands, supply and affordability issues. County staff also presented an update on the role Bruce County plays as a service manager and a housing provider, and shared next steps, including the timeline of consultations being held throughout 2023, towards a new Housing and Homelessness Plan.

“Meeting affordable housing needs is a complex problem that cannot be solved with one simple solution. It must be addressed from a variety of directions, using a wide range of ideas, tools, and resources,” adds Claire Dodds, Director of Planning and Development. “The Housing Forum started the conversation for meaningful solutions, involving municipal partners across Bruce County.”

The Forum offered an opportunity to showcase the Additional Residential Unit (ARU) Guide. As part of the County’s Affordable Housing Development Toolkit, the ARU Guide provides homeowners, landlords and builders with step-by-step resources covering design considerations, financial considerations, and the municipal approvals process. Further, Bruce County recognizes municipalities were a crucial partner in creating the Affordable Housing Development Toolkit.

The Bruce County Housing Forum was the start to many conversations and collaborative initiatives to help realize future housing and community development – creating neighborhoods with safe and affordable places to live and access to vital services. As Bruce County and municipalities work to accomplish our shared vision, updates will be shared.

Further opportunities for residents and stakeholders to engage in Bruce County affordable housing initiatives include:

  • Participating in upcoming public engagement activities – including an online survey – to help build Bruce County’s new 2024-2033 Housing and Homelessness Plan.
  • Giving input on Bruce County’s new Official Plan. Be informed about opportunities to participate by subscribing for email updates at