In May 2009 on the heels of the global financial crisis, leaders from 60 of the foremost not-for-profit housing organizations from the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and a guest group from Australia met in Toronto. Discussions focused on the impact of the financial crisis on their organizations and the housing and residents they serve, on sustainable development and operations, and achieving business excellence. The meetings significantly broadened the leaders’ understanding of the respective housing systems and the participants identified many shared challenges, opportunities and perspectives. Canada continued to send individual representatives to the annual meetings of the International Housing Partnership (IHP) in Berlin (2010) and Washington DC (2011) but without a defined structure supporting its leaders or to address common issues.
In 2012, IHP held its annual meeting for the first time in Canada. At this meeting, held in Vancouver, a Canadian group came together and identified the need to establish a national arm of IHP in order to allow them to share and collaborate on key business strategies and priorities, and to also allow them to establish positions which can be brought to the larger international table. The outcome of this 2012 meeting was the commitment to establish Housing Partnership Canada (HPC).
Canada enjoys the benefit of a number of sector and leadership based organizations for which its housing leaders are active and passionate participants. In determining the governance structure and the mandate of HPC it is clear that there is a necessary and ongoing role for each of these associations and that HPC continues to wish to move forward in partnership with these groups. HPC’s goals are not to duplicate the excellent work that is taking place by sector and leadership organizations in Canada. Rather, the intent is offer an additional forum for leaders themselves to address issues together, learn from each other and identify innovative and effective opportunities to move the sector forward in the spirit of cooperation and collaboration.