1,000,000 Reasons to Celebrate Housing in Canada

TORONTO, Nov. 22, 2018 /CNW/ – Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. That is why, starting in Budget 2016, the Government of Canada made significant investments to build more affordable housing and to make housing more affordable across Canada.

Since 2016, the Government of Canada has invested more than $5.7 billion across Canada. These investments have helped almost a million families, seniors, women and children fleeing domestic violence, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, persons with mental health and addiction issues, veterans and young adults.

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and the Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), and Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, today highlighted the federal government’s investments in housing since 2016.

As a result of these investments, 14,703 new units have been or are being built, 156,526 units have been or are being repaired, and 776,233 families or individuals benefited from a more affordable place to live. These investments have also already provided more stable housing to 25,769 Canadians who were homeless or at serious risk of homelessness.  

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“We are working to make sure every Canadian has access to a safe and affordable place to call home.  We are committed to making housing more affordable and thanks to the investments made by the Government of Canada, almost 1 million families across Canada have an affordable home. Canada’s first ever National Housing Strategy, a $40 billion program, will build on this success in the years to come.” Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

“From the very first day of our Government’s mandate, we have made housing a clear priority. And it’s paying off – with real results and real impacts across the country. Today’s announcement shows the progress we’ve made since 2016 and sets a benchmark for future results. Our Government is only getting started. The National Housing Strategy will build on this momentum to benefit even more Canadians in the months and years to come.” Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Quick Facts

  • In Ontario alone, the Government of Canada invested $2 billion to support more than 300,000 families since 2016.
  • These results are now being followed by a first-ever National Housing Strategy that gives additional, stable, longer-term funds to Canada’s affordable housing sector. The National Housing Strategy will result in more than $40 billion of housing investment and more than half a million families being brought out of housing need.
  • The National Housing Strategy will protect the affordability of 385,000 existing housing units, repair 300,000 affordable homes, build another 100,000, and provide direct support for those in housing need.
  • The National Housing Strategy will reduce chronic homelessness by 50% and entrench a human rights-based approach to housing in Canada.
  • The Government consulted Canadians on a human rights-based approach to housing. Through these consultations, Canadians from diverse backgrounds, housing experts and providers, academics, and people with lived experience from across the country shared their thoughts, ideas and feedback about what housing and human rights mean to them. CMHC today released a What We Heard report available on placetocallhome.ca.

Associated Links

  • As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers unbiased housing research and advice to all levels of Canadian government, consumers and the housing industry. For more information, visit our website or follow us on Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.
  • To find out more about the National Housing Strategy, visit www.placetocallhome.ca.


1,000,000 Reasons to Celebrate Housing in Canada

From April 2016 to September 2018, the Government of Canada has invested more than $5.7 billion to give Canadians greater access to affordable housing. These investments have helped over 982,000 families, seniors, women and children fleeing domestic violence, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, persons with mental health and addiction issues, veterans and young adults.

These investments are in addition to the historic investments committed to under Canada’s first National Housing Strategy (NHS). In addition to the support provided to nearly one million Canadian families, the NHS will deliver a more than $40 billion investment to lift more than half a million families out of housing need.

Investing with Provinces and Territories

As part of Budget 2016, the Government of Canada invested substantial new money in agreements with provinces and territories. This provided the provinces and territories with an additional $1.48 billion over two years to support the construction of new affordable housing units; the renovation and repair of existing affordable housing; help address the pressing housing needs of Northern communities; and measures to support housing affordability such as rent supplements and measures to foster safe, independent living. This included a doubling of funding under the Investment in Affordable Housing, which totaled $501.6 million with provincial-territorial cost-matching and was in addition to $3.6 billion of federal support through existing initiatives.

The total impact of federal support to provinces and territories since 2016 includes the building or renovation of 155,232 affordable housing units, as well as more affordable rent for 181,306 families.

Investing with Municipalities and Local Community Partners

Homelessness has an economic and social impact on every community in Canada. The Government of Canada is committed to helping those who are in need and believes that one homeless Canadian is one too many. In 2016, an estimated 133,000 people experienced homelessness at an emergency shelter.

Through Budget 2016, the Government provided $111.8 million in incremental funding for two years to the Homelessness Partnering Strategy to further support communities’ efforts to help people experiencing homelessness find stable housing. This represented the first increase in funding for federal homelessness programming since its inception in 1999.

This additional funding has enhanced the ability of communities to tackle homelessness and place 25,769 people into more stable housing between April 2016 and March 2018.

Investing with Indigenous and Northern Communities

There is no relationship more important than the one with Indigenous people. The Government of Canada is committed to working with partners to improve housing outcomes. Through new and permanent bilateral relationships, we are working with Indigenous leaders towards new solutions in key areas, like housing, that will facilitate self-determination and advance the recognition of rights.

Indigenous leaders have told us that the best approach for improving housing outcomes is one that respects the distinct needs of each Indigenous group. That is why the Government is committed to co-developing progressive housing strategies with First Nations, Métis Nation and Inuit partners.

In addition to approximately $319 million in ongoing annual funding to support improved housing on-reserve, Budget 2016 included $564.7 million in new investment over two years to address pressing needs on reserve. The total impact of these investments include the renovation, improvement or maintenance of more than 14,000 housing units. 

Budget 2016 also provided up to $257 million in new funding over two years to support northern and Inuit housing. This funding helped address urgent housing needs across the territories and Inuit Nunangat, including $76.7 million in Nunavut, $12 million in the Northwest Territories and $8 million in Yukon. The remaining funding was delivered by the Inuit regions of Nunavik ($50 million), Nunatsiavut ($15 million) and the Inuvialuit Settlement Region ($15 million).

Launch of Canada’s NHS

As part of the Government’s plan to help the middle class and those working hard to join it, on November 22, 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister Jean-Yves Duclos announced Canada’s first-ever NHS (NHS). It is a $40 billion+, 10-year plan to give more Canadians a safe and affordable place to call home.

Building on investments made since 2016, the NHS is helping to create an economy that works for everyone. It will allow more Canadians across the country to have access to housing that meets their needs and they can afford. This Strategy restores the federal government’s leadership role in affordable housing and will build a new generation of housing in Canada.

Protecting Community Housing

Community housing has been the backbone of Canada’s response to our most urgent housing challenges for more than 60 years. Close to half a million Canadians currently live in some form of community housing. But many of these buildings are aging and in desperate need of repair.

To help preserve and renew our social housing stock for future generations, the NHS will invest $4.8 billion to create and maintain a resilient community housing sector.

Federal Community Housing Initiative

To protect low-income Canadians in housing need, it is important for the country’s existing social housing to remain affordable and in good condition now and in the future. In communities across the country, thousands of Canadians rely on federally-administered community housing projects for a place to call home.

Through the Federal Community Housing Initiative, the Government of Canada will invest $500 million over 10 years to maintain affordability for tenants and stabilize operations for 55,000 community housing units that are part of federally-administered housing projects.

Under the first phase of the Federal Community Housing Initiative, $38 million will be available to support more than 27,000 eligible homes. The second phase will be implemented following consultations with housing providers and is expected to launch in 2020.

Progress: Since its launch in April 2018, 13,330 units were protected and are receiving subsidies through the FCHI for a total investment of $5.4 million.

Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy

As part of the NHS, the Government of Canada announced a total investment of $2.2 billion over 10 years to address homelessness. By 2021-22, this will double annual investments to communities compared to 2015-16 funding levels.

In June 2018, the Government announced Reaching Home, which will introduce bold changes to the federal strategy to prevent and reduce homelessness. Through Reaching Home, the Government will reinforce its community-based approach, delivering funding directly to municipalities and local service providers. The program’s reach will also expand to new communities through an application process to be launched in early 2019.

National Housing Co-Investment Fund

The collaboration and commitment of partners, including provinces and municipalities, is more important than ever before to attain the NHS goals of creating a new generation of housing in Canada and helping families in need. Investments under the National Housing Co-Investment Fund support projects that attract additional funding from other levels of government, not-for-profit and co-operative housing providers, and the private sector.

The $13.2 billion NHS program offers low-cost loans and financial contributions to housing providers across the country. The Fund’s primary purpose is twofold: to build new housing and repair or renew existing housing, while remaining flexible enough to meet a wide range of housing needs, from shelters to affordable housing for renters and homeowners.

Progress: Since its launch May 2018, over 130 applications have been received by CMHC for the National Housing Co-Investment Fund. Approximately fifty percent of applications have been deemed eligible and moved on to prioritization and assessment. Combined, these eligible projects have the potential to create over 4,000 new affordable housing units and repair over 1,000 existing units. Not-for-profits and co-ops currently make up approximately 80% of applicants. The private sector accounts for 10% of applicants and the remainder is divided amongst municipal, Indigenous, and faith-based organizations.

Federal Lands Initiative

The Federal Lands Initiative enables the transfer of federal surplus lands and properties to eligible participants for free or at a reduced cost. The price of the lands made available for affordable housing depends on the extent to which projects maximize the socio-economic and environmental outcomes desired under the NHS. Once transferred, the property is developed into affordable, sustainable, accessible and socially inclusive housing projects. This is a 5-year $200 million initiative.

The rollout of this government-wide initiative started in July 2018. Lands for sale will be posted on CMHC’s website as soon as they are available.

Rental Construction Financing Initiative

The previously-launched Rental Construction Financing Initiative has been integrated into the NHS. Announced in Budget 2016, this initiative offers low-cost loans to encourage the construction of new rental housing which is affordable to middle class Canadians in all regions across the country where the need for rental housing is clearly established. This funding is intended to support projects that address the needs of modest- and middle-income households struggling in expensive housing markets in rural and urban areas. 

The Rental Construction Financing Initiative has generated significant interest. In Budget 2018, the Government of Canada increased the ceiling for low-cost loans under the Rental Construction Financing Initiative from $2.5 billion to $3.75 billion between 2018 and 2021. This financing initiative will result in the construction of more than 14,000 new rental housing units across Canada.

Progress: Since the launch of the RCFi, more than 50 projects have been prioritized to receive a loan via this initiative. Five projects have been announced publicly since June 2018 representing close to 500 rental units and totalling up to $112 million in loans. 

Affordable Housing Innovation Fund

Originally announced under Budget 2016, the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund has also been incorporated into the NHS toolbox. This Fund plays a key role in fostering innovative new ideas to create a new generation of housing in Canada. Identifying and replicating innovative solutions is critical to help address the scale of challenges facing the affordable housing sector.

To do this, the Government will invest $200 million to help create up to 4,000 affordable housing units over five years. The Fund invests in projects focused on affordable homeownership, renovation models and affordable rental housing projects.

Progress: Since its launch, over 150 applications have been received by private developers, municipalities, not-for-profit and faith-based organizations looking to implement new approaches to the development of affordable housing. Twelve organizations have been approved for a total of $85.8 million in funding to bring a combined 7,356 affordable housing units to Canadians in need.

Reinforcing Partnerships

As part of the NHS, on April 9, 2018, the federal, provincial and territorial Ministers responsible for housing1 endorsed a multilateral Housing Partnership Framework, setting the foundation for federal, provincial and territorial governments to work together towards achieving a long-term shared vision for housing. As part of this agreement, provinces and territories have committed to a 15% expansion in new affordable housing units and the renewal of 20% of existing community housing units across the country.

Since the endorsement of the Housing Partnership Framework, the Government of Canada has signed bilateral agreements with three provinces:

  • Ontario—$2.1 billion over 10 years—at least 130,000 community housing units preserved
  • British Columbia—$495.6 million over 10 years—at least 34,000 community housing units preserved
  • New Brunswick—$149.6 million over 10 years—at least 9,900 community housing units preserved
  • Northwest Territories$87.7 million over 10 years – at least 1,230 community housing units preserved

Other agreements are expected to be signed by April 1, 2019.

Innovation and Research

Over the next 10 years, $241 million will be invested in new data collection tools, demonstration projects and solutions labs, as well efforts to encourage the growth of housing research inside and outside government to diversify perspectives and sources of information. It will provide the feedback needed to more fully understand the impact that investments in affordable housing have on the lives of Canadians.

In 2018, several innovation and research initiatives were launched, including the:

  • Demonstrations Initiative, which enables affordable housing stakeholders to showcase promising innovations and implement those that can improve performance and financial viability;
  • Solutions Labs Initiative, which invites teams of affordable housing stakeholders to collaborate on solutions in the NHS’s priority areas (energy efficiency, accessibility, etc.);
  • NHS Research and Planning Fund, which provides funding for not-for-profit housing stakeholders seeking to understand housing related research;
  • Housing Needs Data Initiative, which collects reliable data on housing and household conditions to measure NHS results and report on progress;
  • Collaborative Housing Research Network, which provides support for a Canada-wide collaboration of academics and community partners to support research that informs housing policy decision-making;
  • Housing Research Scholarship Program, which provides funding for Postdoctoral Fellowships to build Canadian expertise and develop the capacities of the next generation of housing experts;
  • CMHC Housing Research Award Program, which provides monetary awards for impactful housing research, or a travel award to support researcher activities in northern or remote areas; and
  • Expert Community on Housing, a web-based virtual community of practice for housing experts to help address challenges and problems in housing; and through collaboration, develop new approaches and housing technology.

Distinctions-Based Housing Strategies

Through the NHS, the Government of Canada is committed to working with Indigenous housing providers and partners to explore the best approaches for meeting the long-term housing needs of Indigenous peoples living in urban, rural and Northern areas. All projects serving Indigenous peoples, regardless of where they live, will be prioritized under the National Housing Co-Investment Fund.

The Government of Canada will continue to work closely with Indigenous partners to co-develop distinctions-based housing strategies that address the unique needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation communities.

Looking Forward

The NHS has already started delivering real results for Canadians. The Government has broken ground on housing projects to support needs across the housing continuum, unveiled numerous new housing initiatives, consulted with Canadians, and signed new agreements with provincial and territorial partners.

The NHS gives the Government of Canada and all partners the platform needed to work together to create a new generation of housing in Canada and improve the lives of people across the country so that all Canadians have a place to call home.



1 With the exception of Quebec

SOURCE Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

For further information: Valérie Glazer, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, 819-654-5546, [email protected]

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