Second annual Bruce County Housing Forum discusses affordability of housing in Bruce County.

On April 11, 2024, municipal leaders, including local elected officials and municipal and county staff, came together for the 2nd Annual Bruce County Housing Forum to discuss the need, supply, and affordability of housing in Bruce County. This event brought together representatives from each of the eight municipalities across Bruce County.

Warden Chris Peabody and CAO Christine MacDonald welcomed the attendees to the event and spoke about the newly developed Community Development Office.

“We have created the Community Development Office to provide leadership on key strategic priorities in Bruce County, including the supply and affordability of housing. Claire Dodds, our Commissioner of Community Development, leads a team of County staff across several Departments who work together to undertake this important work,” says Chris Peabody, Warden of Bruce County.

Claire Dodds introduced the housing cross-functional team, made up of staff from Human Services, Planning, Economic Development, and Government Relations, who work together to research and identify actions the County can take on housing. “Having a good understanding of the data on affordability and housing needs across Bruce County helps inform the priority actions the County can lead on housing,” says Claire Dodds, Commissioner of Community Development.

Actions taken by the housing team over the past year were highlighted, including completing a housing needs assessment, affordable housing toolkit, home share study, and updating zoning to permit additional residential units.

Attendees were inspired by guest speakers, Emma Cubitt, an architect at INVIZIJ in Hamilton, and Graham Cubitt of Indwell and Flourish. Flourish is a consulting company that helps clients advance affordable housing across Ontario. Both speakers shared their passion and experience creating innovative affordable housing solutions across rural and urban communities across Southern Ontario.

Throughout the day, there was a theme of collaboration, including the importance of County and municipal staff working together on housing solutions. There was also recognition of the need for other levels of government to invest in infrastructure and affordable housing builds, as well as make tools available to help the County and municipalities deliver affordable housing.

The day ended with an opportunity for attendees to share ideas, collaborate, and provide feedback on actions to increase the supply of housing and impact its affordability in Bruce County. This information will be considered as County staff work to develop a Housing Action Plan that will guide actions the County will lead between 2024 to 2026 on housing.

Background: It is broadly accepted that housing is affordable when a household is not spending more than 30% of its income on housing costs. The province has also defined affordable housing thresholds for households of low and moderate income. For ownership housing, the affordable housing threshold is housing that is affordable to households with incomes at the 60th percentile. For renter households, the affordable housing threshold is 100% of average market rent as published by Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC). In Bruce County, the affordable housing thresholds for 2022/2023 were rents below $1,324 per month and ownership costs below $399,100.

About Bruce County: Bruce County is an upper-tier municipality in Southwestern Ontario, Canada, made up of eight lower-tier municipalities and 73,396 residents. The explorers who visit, live, and work here are the dreamers who take roads less travelled and see tried and true as an invitation to try something new. Be an Explorer and call Bruce County home.


Photo (1): Guest speakers Emma Cubitt (INVIZIJ) and Graham Cubitt (Indwell and Flourish).
Photo (2): Bruce County staff members on the housing cross-functional team.
Photo (3): Warden Chris Peabody, Commissioner of Community Development Claire Dodds, CAO Christine MacDonald