PM, mayor discuss housing, transportation

Innovation, housing and transportation were among the items on the agenda when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dropped by the City of Markham to meet Mayor Frank Scarpitti.

The politicians discussed Markham’s strong technology sector and the Markham Innovation Exchange (MiX). The 1,920-acre innovation district is Ontario’s first industrial innovation cluster and will “connect the dots between knowledge and production centres of varying scales all in one place,” the City reports.

Trudeau and Scarpitti discussed the measures proposed in Budget 2022 to support innovation, including the launch of the Canada Growth Fund, a new public investment vehicle that will operate at arm’s length from the federal government and invest using a broad suite of financial instruments, including all forms of debt, equity, guarantees and specialized contracts.

The creation of the Canadian Innovation and Investment Agency, meanwhile, promises to help industries and businesses innovate, grow, create jobs and be competitive. The pair discussed the importance of the Yonge north subway extension in supporting economic growth and job creation in Markham and the Greater Toronto Area.

Also, on the topic of transportation, the leaders discussed the federal government’s launch of the procurement process for the High Frequency Rail project to connect Quebec City and Toronto. Scarpitti expressed Markham’s interest in having a station located along the line in the eastern portion of the city and in close proximity to the Rouge National Urban Park. The new rail service is intended to deliver faster, greener, more frequent and more reliable passenger rail along the country’s mostly densely populated corridor.

On the topic of making housing more affordable, Trudeau and Scarpitti discussed measures included in Budget 2022 to build more houses, help people save for their first home, and curb speculation and unfair practices that drive up housing prices. They agreed to continued collaboration on housing, particularly around the federal government’s Rapid Housing Initiative, a $1-billion program to help address urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians, especially in the context of COVID-19, through the rapid construction of affordable housing.

Scarpitti updated Trudeau of the work Markham has taken to address the housing crisis. Last summer, Council unanimously endorsed Housing Choice: Markham’s Affordable and Rental Housing Strategy, which is intended to help address housing challenges across the City and deliver more supply.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti at the Markham Civic Centre on April 29. Photo courtesy of the City of Markham.

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