High housing costs, especially in urban centres, continue to place middle class and low-income Canadians under huge financial pressure. A long-term plan for a faster-growing Canadian economy must include housing that is affordable for working Canadians, especially young families. Stable housing is critical for communities and for a strong middle class. The COVID-19 recession has widened gaps in Canadians’ access to housing. Investments to make housing more affordable for the most vulnerable, coupled with measures to limit foreign speculation in the housing market, will help ensure that our economic recovery is an inclusive one that helps more people join the middle class.
Budget 2021 proposes to provide an additional $2.5 billion over seven years to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, including:
- An additional $1.5 billion for the Rapid Housing Initiative to address the urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians by providing them with adequate affordable housing in short order. At least 25 per cent of this funding would go towards women-focused housing projects. Overall, this new funding will add a minimum of 4,500 new affordable units to Canada’s housing supply, building on the 4,700 units already funded in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement through its $1 billion investment.
- $600 million over seven years to renew and expand the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund. This new funding would support the creation of up to 12,700 more units.
- $315.4 million over seven years through the Canada Housing Benefit, to increase direct financial assistance for low-income women and children fleeing violence to help with their rent payments.
- $118.2 million over seven years through the Federal Community Housing Initiative, to support community housing providers that deliver long-term housing to many of our most vulnerable.
Budget 2021 also announces the government’s intention to implement a national, annual 1-percent tax on the value of non-resident, non-Canadian owned residential real estate that is vacant or underused, effective January 1, 2022.
Moreover, Budget 2021 proposes to provide $45 million over two years, for a pilot program aimed at reducing veteran homelessness through the provision of rent supplements, and wrap- around services for homeless veterans such as counselling, addiction treatment, and help finding a job.