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A Bylaw for a Mixed Montreal

November 17th, 2020
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In 2019, the Table des groupes de femmes de Montréal (TGFM) filed a brief in favour of a bylaw for a mixed Montreal that sought to highlight the real experiences of women's groups. Multiple recommendations made by the TGFM were included in the Office de consultation publique de Montréal's report and influenced the new version of the bylaw.

We are happy to see that the City is moving forward with the bylaw and has resisted pressure from real-estate developers trying to stop its adoption. We would like to highlight the removal of the 30-unit minimum for social housing developments so that projects can be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. This aspect is important for women's groups, which often prefer smaller projects for security reasons and because they allow for a convivial atmosphere. Moreover, the new bylaw sets the annual indexation for financial contributions or considered value in endowed land at 5% (instead of 2%). This will help support social housing development.

Lastly, we salute the City for developing a clearer definition of affordable housing and, especially, for its market-based method for ensuring that these affordable units are price-controlled, thereby preventing real-estate speculation over a 30-year period. We do, however, criticize the City's decision to delay the bylaw's implementation to April 2021 and its failure to increase social housing targets to address the shortage of affordable rental units for low-income households.

We must also bear in mind that this bylaw is not a cure-all. Other changes must be undertaken to improve the living conditions of women in Montreal. According to the TGFM, access to rent subsidy programs must be increased to include people without status, the City must set ambitious targets for women's social housing, women's groups must receive better responses from the AccèsLogis Montréal program and, crucially, financing must be increased for community support in social housing.

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