Niagara Region moves forward with plans to support more attainable housing, find efficiencies

In response to some of the most pressing concerns of residents and businesses, yesterday Niagara Region outlined its initial plans to both increase the supply of attainable housing options and find ways to better utilize public resources across Niagara.

After taking office last December, Regional Council quickly announced that attainable housing and shared services would be among its top priorities for the next four years. As a demonstration of this commitment, Regional Council worked with staff in March to create the Strategic Transformation Office, a division that houses staff dedicated to finding opportunities to better share municipal resources, as well as increase attainable housing options across Niagara.

The decision to place housing and public sector efficiency at the top of the priority list not only reflects the desires of the public, it also directly aligns with the direction of the provincial government and their efforts to see more homes built across Ontario.

Highlights of the new Office’s early work include:

Shared Services

For the first time in the Region’s 53-year history, Niagara Region has dedicated resources specifically focused on finding more opportunities to share services between Niagara’s municipalities, identify areas to improve efficiencies and explore prospects for joint procurement. The end goal is to make both service delivery more seamless for residents and ultimately more cost-effective.

Previous shared services efforts have produced positive results in the areas of libraries, fire services and public transit. The Region and 12 municipalities also learned many key lessons during the pandemic that are being used to inform how best to build shared service models in Niagara.

Immediate next steps to advance shared service priorities include:

  • ​Finalizing the evaluation and prioritization criteria for shared services opportunities
  • Approval of the workplan to implement identified projects
  • Hiring the appropriate staff resources needed to expedite the implementation of the workplan 

Attainable Housing

Staff also outlined initial plans to increase the supply of attainable housing that is available across the region. Attainable housing differs from “affordable housing” in that it can be defined as housing options that are available to individuals who make 80 – 120 per cent of the area median income. For Niagara, that would be housing that is available to those making $53,000 to $84,000.

The work of the Strategic Transformation Office on attainable housing will complement the initiatives undertaken by Niagara Region Housing and the Region’s Community Services Department related to supportive, subsidized and community housing programs.

In the short term, the new Office will focus its attention on the following:

  • Ensuring that current and new policies developed by Niagara Region keep housing attainability as a central focus
  • Leveraging Regional real estate assets for housing development opportunities
  • Developing a strategy for student housing in partnership with Brock University and Niagara College
  • Building strategies to ensure adequate housing is available for large employers

GO Implementation

The Strategic Transformation Office is also tasked with carrying forward the final stages of Council’s GO Station Development Strategy that was approved in 2019. Learn about the ongoing progress for securing more daily GO Train service.

Through the strategic repurposing of existing resources, Niagara Region was able to create the Strategic Transformation Office with no new financial impacts on property taxes. Frequent updates will be brought forward to Regional Council and the public as the work of the Strategic Transformation Office continues to develop in the coming months. 


"In a time when inflation and other external factors are making it more difficult for residents to make ends meet, this term of council has committed to making meaningful and measurable progress in the areas of shared municipal services and attainable housing. Through out creation of the Office of Strategic Transformation, we are ensuring that we are doing all we can to make the provision of important municipal services as efficient as possible, while building a community that puts housing attainability at the forefront. We are dedicated to growing a better Niagara, together."
~ Regional Chair, Jim Bradley
"Working collaboratively and with dedicated resources to drive these priority projects forward in a purposeful, aligned and strategic manner is critical in ensuring that Niagara is growing and evolving in a way that has meaningful impact on our community."
~ Matt Robinson, Director, Strategic Transformation Office

Media Inquiries

Janine Tessmer (media only)
Niagara Region

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