Agenda by Day

Plan your forum experience by participating in a wide variety of workshops in our three learning streams. You might choose to focus on one learning stream or explore all three themes. Each of the learning streams has options of workshop sessions that you can choose from.

To get the most from this event, we are offering a group discount rate to bring a team from your organization to cover the various sessions. We have designed the forum to appeal to a range of people engaged in the affordable housing sector — from key decision makers to anyone involved in finance, planning, asset management, operations and more!

May 9, 2016
May 10, 2016
Mar 25, 2019

Welcome & Opening Remarks


Risk and Resilience: The Future of Housing Finance and Investment

The financing of social and affordable housing is rapidly changing in Canada. It involves different players, a shift in mindset and new competencies. Is the sector ready to adapt? This session brings the insight of financial professionals to the table, providing participants with perspectives on accessing non-traditional sources of financing. Featuring the results from Housing Partnership Canada’s Canadian Housing Bank feasibility study, speakers will discuss sector-preparedness to secure private financing and how social housing can make its case and attract investment from international capital markets. Sponsored by Housing Partnership Canada.

Moderator: Judy Lightbound, Chief Operating Officer, Housing Services Corporation

Housing Organizations Becoming More Entrepreneurial

Instead of doing more with less, some Canadian housing organizations are opting to take a bolder path to self-sufficiency – embracing the principle of ‘profit with purpose’ and leveraging competencies in their organizations to expand their business focus and enter into new markets. Hear from two organizations that are engaged in entrepreneurial activities, both commercial and social enterprises, to sustain and expand their affordable housing portfolios. This session will leave you thinking about ways you can scale up your organization’s operations and diversify your core business. Sponsored by NOSDA.

Moderator: Shelley Wilkins, Director, Housing Services, Municipality of Chatham-Kent

Planning, Developing and Financing New Builds through Partnerships

In this session you will hear about how two organizations in different parts of Canada established new financing frameworks to regenerate and increase the supply of affordable housing stock. For both organizations the enabling ingredient has been partnerships. Find out about how they did it, their lessons learned and whether more is merrier.

Moderator: Graeme Hussey, Development Manager, Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation

Building Capacity- Sustaining the Non-Profit Housing Sector

For more than fifty years, non-profits have played a critical role in the housing system across Canada. However with expiring operating agreements and major shifts in the operational environments, the future capacity of non-profits to sustain themselves and grow becomes a critical question. We’ll hear from speakers at the provincial and municipal level about strategies for supporting the vitality of non-profits. We’ll also get the perspective of a non-profit executive director on what has and hasn’t worked and what the shape of the future looks like. You’ll also have an opportunity to join in the discussion to share your insights on transformational change and the sustainability of the sector.

Moderator: Nicholas Gazzard, Executive Director, Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada



Diversifying and Expanding into New Areas of Business

To diversify or not to diversify? That is the question. Expanding into new areas of business doesn’t need to be a dramatic leap of faith. In this session you’ll hear from organizations in British Columbia and New Brunswick who have taken a strategic view of their operations and assets and are incorporating revenue diversification in their business plans. Our two seasoned experts will demonstrate how they’ve moved into complementary business activities and purposefully structured their organizations to establish new revenue without abandoning their social mission.

Moderator: Lori-Anne Gagne, Executive Director, Victoria Park Community Homes

Strategically Managing and Leveraging Assets

Renovate? Retrofit? Redevelop? Or sell? In this session, you’ll hear from Asset Managers at two large providers that are taking a strategic and proactive approach to stock rationalization. We’ll look at best practices for assessing your capital and regeneration needs, optimizing the value of your assets and developing long-term asset management strategies.

Moderator: Darlene Cook, General Manager, CEO, Peterborough Housing Corporation


Enterprising New Partnership Finance Models

Canada’s cooperative housing sector has taken a leadership role in piloting approaches to refinancing. In this session, we’ll hear about two refinancing programs the Cooperative Housing Federation of Canada and BC offer its member co-ops in partnership with credit union lenders. We’ll learn about the public-private partnership models, the results to date, what has worked, what the challenges and opportunities have been and how lenders evaluate projects.

Moderator: Kirk Whittal, Chief Operating Officer, Windsor Essex Community Housing Corporation

Breathing New Life- Reshape, Restructure, Reinvigorate

Business experts encourage us to be proactive and shape the future of your organization for the next 15 to 20 years. But what’s the best way forward? This session will showcase how organizations are future-proofing their business to improve service delivery and adapt to new realties. We’ll learn from two housing providers and Manitoba Housing on the different approaches and practices each are taking to optimize their human, capital and financial resources. Sponsored by CIH Canada.

Moderator: Mary Lynn Cousins Brame, Chief Executive Officer, Kingston & Frontenac Housing Corporation


Socially Hearted, Commercially Minded

The mission of non-profit housing organizations goes well beyond the balancing the bottom line. Hear from two innovative thinkers and sector leaders on how they’ve grown their organizations through entrepreneurial activities to improve their operations — without losing their social conscience. They will showcase unique initiatives, such as social enterprises and utilizing recycled shipping containers to create new units, which are not only turning profits but delivering positive housing outcomes for individuals and communities.

Moderator: Carol Conrad, Chief Executive Officer, Nipissing District Housing Corporation

Strategic Procurement – Assets

Housing administrators see the entrepreneurial value in the collective punch of procurement. But is there a better, more efficient way to procure goods and services? In this session, you’ll hear from two innovative housing practitioners in Ontario that have taken a leadership role in finding unique and local procurement solutions for their communities. From regional large-scale bulk purchasing for non-profit housing providers to financing and development procurement strategies for housing, you will learn the strategies, tools and processes that can be implemented in your own communities.

Moderator: Mary Menzies, Director of Housing Services, The Regional Municipality of Durham

Growing Your Portfolio or Assets

Housing organizations are investing in business practices that enable the growth of its stock but also the development of assets such as financial, human capital and residents. Hear from three housing providers whose portfolios have grown significantly since their inception. Our speakers will explain how their portfolios grew; discuss their current business challenges and directions; and share their thoughts on how they’re managing people and properties now to position themselves well for the future.

Moderator: Jim Steele, Chief Executive Officer, Windsor Essex Community Housing Corporation


Plenary Session 2: On the Brink of Change- Defining a New Path Forward

We often hear that for social housing to remain viable in the future, it needs to change – to be more entrepreneurial and business-like. But how can we achieve this without compromising our social mission? How do we get the flexibility we need from governments? In this provocative Q&A session, we’ll hear from a UK provider that survived and thrived during times of crisis and radical change by thinking ahead and boldly defining their own path.

Moderator: Howie Wong, Chief Executive Officer, Housing Services Corporation

Reception & Networking Event


Plenary Session 3: Measuring Impact

For years, advocacy campaigns across Canada have touted for the moral, social and economic benefits of adequate affordable housing. But individual housing organizations have encountered challenges in arguing for the quantifiable return on investment that their efforts bring to their communities. In this session, we’ll hear from two American housing organizations that will walk us through the metrics and assessment frameworks they’re using to demonstrate how it’s possible to measure socio-economic impact.

Moderator: M.S. Mwarigha, General Manager, Peel Living and Director of Housing Operations & Management Services, Human Services Dept, Region of Peel


A United Front: Mergers and Amalgamations

For many in Canada’s non-profit sector, mergers remain an emotionally charged issue. While the economies of scale that mergers and amalgamations offer are rarely in dispute, some board members, staff and residents still fear and resist them for the negative changes they might bring. In this session, we’ll look at two recent mergers in Canada and the UK. Our speakers will share insights into the decision-making, process and results to date.

Moderator: Karen Hemmingson, Chief Research Officer, BC Housing

Systems Supporting Business Transformation

The use of information technology in our sector is still in its infancy. But in the coming years, IT is expected to play a major role in enabling business intelligence for housing management – by delivering objective, quantifiable data on our portfolios and performance and automating manual business processes. In this session, we’ll hear about sector technology projects for co-operative and non-profit housing providers and housing administrators, why they’re being done and how they’re a sign of things to come.

Moderator: Debbie Cercone, Executive Director, Housing & Children’s Services, City of Windsor

Living with less subsidy – Creative Approaches to Financing Affordable Housing

While some might still be waiting for a ‘pot of gold’ from senior government, pragmatic housing organizations have been finding new ways to self-finance and maintain affordability. This session features two housing leaders who will share how their organizations are moving away from a ‘dependency culture’ by developing models, programs and mechanisms that enable and facilitate financing for new affordable housing and to maintain current stock. You’ll learn about models for alternative rent subsidy models, mixed income and shared-equity.

Moderator: Stephen Giustizia, Manager, Housing Services, Housing, Social Services, and Dearness Home, City of London

From Administrative to Entrepreneurial Developer

Development is not for the faint of heart. It involves substantial costs and projects are prone to overruns. Given today’s tight budgets, it demands a market-savvy mindset and opportunistic approaches to deliver the greatest value to the community at the lowest possible cost. In this session, you’ll learn about the innovative use of a land trust to support new affordable development and redevelopment and using a development corporation with a profit-for-purpose model to create housing and service the broader community need.

Moderator: Brian Marks, Director of Housing Services, Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board & Deputy CEO Cochrane District Local Housing Corp

Looking for Opportunities – Transferring and Refinancing of Social Housing Properties

In this session, we will hear from two practitioners in Ontario who creatively devised financing approaches that enabled redevelopment and capital repair and also reduced their interest costs. Find out about the approaches they used, how they brought stakeholders on board and where they currently are in the process.

Moderator: Cathy Kytayko, Director, Social Housing , County of Simcoe, Social and Community Services Division

Innovative Approaches to Repurpose Local Land Assets for Affordable Housing

With governments increasing funding for affordable housing what role can under-utilized land assets in your community play? Come hear from two innovative housing leaders about how to successfully unlock land assets for community benefit and create affordable housing. You’ll learn how the City of Toronto through its new “Open Door Program” is leveraging surplus lands for affordable housing, and the work of Indwell, a not-for-profit charity on repurposing land and adaptive reuse projects to assist several municipalities in Ontario reach their supportive housing and homelessness targets. The speakers will address the pragmatic considerations, manoeuvers, housing funding opportunities and partnerships required for capturing land including what they learned along the way. The session will include plenty of time for discussion and inquiry.

Moderator: Christine Pacini, SHS Consulting


Closing Plenary: Defining a New Future – Call for Action in Ontario

Our final session is where we leave behind our woes and anxieties and start thinking about how we’ll embrace the opportunities ahead. Our closing panel promises to be a lively debate with innovative housing leaders in Ontario, who will exchange ideas about their vision for the sustainability of the affordable housing system and how to transform potential into action.

Moderator: Sylvia Patterson, Principal, Sylvia Patterson Consulting Inc.

Closing Remarks

Registration & Breakfast