New Plan Touted as Panacea for Housing Crisis

The federal government’s ambitious housing plan pledges several measures that could impact housing demand, supply and productivity.

Revealed in April, it is intended to encourage faster, lower-cost construction, increase housing affordability and ultimately make it easier for Canadians to rent or buy a home. Calling it “the most comprehensive and ambitious housing plan ever seen in Canada,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emphasized this “bold new strategy” would lead to the construction of 3.87 million homes by 2031.

The plan includes another $400 million toward the Housing Accelerator Fund in addition to a new $6 billion Canada Housing Infrastructure Fund to accelerate both the construction and upgrading of critical housing infrastructure. It also legalizes more housing types by adopting zoning that allows four units as-of-right and that permits more “missing middle” homes, including duplexes, triplexes, townhouses and small multi-unit apartments.

New (and previously announced) supply-boosting measures include:

  • A Public Lands for Homes Plan to lead a national effort to build affordable housing on federal, provincial, territorial and municipal lands across the country.
  • $15 billion in additional loans for the Apartment Construction Loan Program to build a minimum of 30,000 new rental apartments in big cities, small towns and rural communities. With this additional financing, the program is on track to build more than 131,000 new apartments by 2031-2032.
  • Launching Canada Builds, a “team Canada” approach to building affordable homes for the middle class on under-utilized lands. The program combines federal low-cost loans with provincial and territorial investments to scale up construction on rental homes for this group.
  • Supporting Indigenous peoples living away from their communities in urban, rural and northern areas through investments in Indigenous housing to be delivered by Indigenous governments, organizations and service providers.
  • Putting measures in place to protect tenants against “unfairly rising rent payments,” including the Tenant Protection Fund.
  • Extending mortgage amortizations to 30 years exclusively for first-time homebuyers purchasing new builds.
  • Providing $1 billion for the Affordable Housing Fund to build affordable homes and launch a permanent Rapid Housing Initiative to build on the success of the previous three rounds.
  • Launching a $1.5 billion Canada Rental Protection Fund to protect and expand affordable housing.

The Liberals also announced the following new measures to attract, train and hire the skilled trade workers needed to build more homes:

  • $90 million for the Apprenticeship Service, creating apprenticeship opportunities to train and recruit the next generation of skilled trades workers.
  • $10 million for the Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness Program to encourage high school students to enter the skilled trades.
  • $50 million for the Foreign Credential Recognition Program, with a focus on residential construction to help skilled trades workers get more homes built. Like the previous $115 million investment, this funding will remove barriers to credential recognition so workers spend less time dealing with red tape.
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