This includes the race against climate change, and the crisis-level challenges of housing and family affordability, which are tightly connected.
By 2030, we want to have done our part to help put the brakes on climate change, and ensure all Canadians can afford a good home and to start a family, if they so choose.
NBD. We got this, right?
Are these big challenges? Yes. But as Gen Squeeze gets primed for another year of hard work, I want you to know something important: making progress on giant, complex problems is totally doable.
We just need to keep acting, and stacking up the wins, both big and small.
Over the past few years Gen Squeeze has been focussed on doing just that! Here’s a few examples to get you stoked as we look ahead to 2020 and beyond:
Win #1: A big picture plan to tackle the housing crisis
People have been talking about the housing affordability crisis for years, but what are we going to do about it!? Everyone seems to have an answer, but ideas tend to get trapped in silos of supply vs. demand, or non-profit vs. market, or rental vs. ownership, or serving the most vulnerable vs. helping everyone, etc.
That’s why, in 2016, we convened ~50 housing sector leaders to break down those silos and build common ground. That work generated ten principles to tackle the housing affordability crisis, which then fed into the creation of a comprehensive policy framework that we and partners are now using as a big picture plan to solve the problem.
When faced with big challenges, it’s easy to get trapped in narrow perspectives. Our work to build common ground proves you can bring unlikely combinations of people together and end up with holistic solutions capable of actually solving the problem.
Win #2: Puzzle piece - Dialling down harmful demand
To make sure all Canadians can afford a good home (as renters or owners) we need to restrict sources of harmful demand in our housing markets.
That’s why Gen Squeeze organized in support of North America’s first Empty Homes Tax (in Vancouver), which in its first two years has freed up hundreds of homes and generated over $56 million in revenue, $40 million of which has already been directed to a range of affordable housing initiatives. And it’s why we’ve been pushing for a similar tax in Toronto.
That’s also why we organized in support of expanding BC’s foreign buyers’ tax to Greater Victoria and other regions, after which the reported number of foreign-involved transactions in BC has dropped, giving domestic buyers more of a chance.
Win #3: Puzzle piece - Dialling up housing supply
To make sure all Canadians can afford a good home, we also need to build a diversity of new housing, from non-profit housing to market housing, from rentals to ownership to things in between, and from “missing middle” housing all the way to large multi-family buildings.
That’s why since 2016 we’ve organized in support of more than 20 individual housing projects, citywide plans that prioritize building the right supply, specific plans to crack open single detached zoning to allow for duplexes and garden suites, and more.
As a result, thousands of new, secure homes have been made available to Canadians.
Win #4: Canada’s first ever generational analysis in a federal budget
Generation Squeeze was founded to bring a new intergenerational fairness lens to big problems like the housing crisis, family affordability, climate change, inequities in public finance and more.
Part of our mission is to get governments to begin looking at public policy through this intergenerational lens.
That’s why we were so excited that after years of work — and with the help of thousands of Gen Squeeze supporters, MPs and staff — we secured the first-ever intergenerational analysis in a Canadian federal budget (in 2019).
This kind of analysis will help Parliamentarians, the media and the general public better understand the intergenerational consequences of public policy decisions, and will help us better serve young and old alike.
Win #5: Establishing an obligation to act
By now you may have heard of the 15 Canadian youth who are suing the Canadian government for not doing enough on climate change. So good. ✊
Meanwhile, Generation Squeeze and our partners in the Intergenerational Climate Coalition are gearing up to take a complementary argument all the way to the Supreme Court, where provincial challenges to the national carbon tax - which we intervened against, and which failed - are next set to be heard.
Starting in Saskatchewan, and then in Ontario’s Court of Appeal, we’ve worked with our legal team from Ratcliff & Company to argue that a failure to act urgently on climate change amounts to clear discrimination against younger people and future generations, who cannot vote, and now face a lifetime of health and other risks from climate change.
This work proves that when governments are slow to accept the facts or to address injustice, we can turn to the courts to help force action.
Let’s Do More
That’s just a snapshot of what we’ve been able to accomplish over the past few years as a small, scrappy team, alongside our allies and partners, and with the support of thousands of Canadians!
2020 is a big year, with many big ones to follow. Are you with us?
Help us speak up for young Canadians by becoming a Gen Squeeze Member.