Reality check: Ontario is indeed matching the 2009 federal affordable housing investments, as housing minister Jim Watson notes in a story in today’s Toronto Star (“Nearly homeless struggle to hang on“), but the province has also been steadily cutting spending at the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing since 2005. Finance minister Dwight Duncan, in his October 22 fall economic update, reports spending at the housing ministry was $926 million in 2005 and is projected to be $703.9 million in 2009. That’s a cumulative cut of $657 in the past four years – which more than offsets the $585.3 million that the finance minister says the province will spend this year to match the federal housing dollars. Statistics Canada, in its annual survey of government revenues and expenditures, reports that Ontario is the only province that has cut housing investments from 1998 to 2008. Annual affordable housing investments in Ontario were down by $492 million over that decade, compared to an increase of $429 million in Alberta (which is only one-third the size of Ontario). Even tiny Prince Edward Island managed to increase its housing investments over the past decade by $7 million. On a per capita basis, Ontario ranks dead last in housing investments among Canada’s provinces and territories. Ontario invested $64 million per person in affordable housing in the last fiscal year, according to StatsCan. Saskatchewan was the leader (among the provinces) at $214 per capita. Even the federal government managed to out-spend Ontario, investing $67 per capita. One final note, since 2003, Ontario’s municipalities have been outspending the provincial government in affordable housing investments. Cities, towns and villages in Ontario collectively spend about one-third more than the Ontario government on affordable housing. Ontario’s record in affordable housing investments in recent years is a case of giving with one hand, and taking away with the other.