The federal government’s much-awaited Budget 2021 includes funds to address Canada’s need for more affordable housing. In total, the budget proposes an additional $2.5 billion over seven years to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, broken down as follows:
- An additional $1.5 billion for the Rapid Housing Initiative, of which 25 per cent would be used towards women-focused housing projects. Overall, this would add about 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, starting in 2021-22, to renew and expand the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund, which encourages new funding models and innovative building techniques in the affordable housing sector. To date, this program has helped create over 17,600 units. The new funding would support the creation of up to 12,700 more, bringing the total to over 30,000 units.
- $315.4 million over seven years, starting in 2021-22, 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, starting in 2021-22, through the Federal Community Housing Initiative, to support the delivery of long-term housing to vulnerable Canadians.
In addition to these new investments, Budget 2021 proposes to advance and reallocate $1.3 billion of previously announced funding, including:
- $750 million under the National Housing Co-Investment Fund to accelerate the creation of 3,400 new units, and the repair of 13,700 units.
- $250 million i under the National Housing Co-Investment Fund, which will be allocated to support the construction, repair, and operating costs of an estimated 560 units of transitional housing and shelter spaces for women and children fleeing violence. This targeted funding is being reallocated—including advancing $200 million to 2021-22 and 2022-23—to make sure the government delivers on its commitments, and reinforces the government’s efforts to address gender-based violence, including the measures outlined in the forthcoming National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence.
- $300 million in 2021-22 and 2022-23 from the Rental Construction Financing Initiative, which will be allocated to support the conversion of vacant commercial property into housing. As the demand for retail and office space has changed due to COVID, some landlords, particularly in major urban cores, are facing higher vacancies. The government says this is an opportunity for property owners and communities to explore converting excess space into rental housing, enhancing the livability and affordability of urban communities. The funding will target the conversion of excess commercial property space into 800 units of market-based rental housing.
Budget 2021 also includes $25 million for the government of the Northwest Territories to support the construction of 30 new public housing units, and $25 million for the government of Nunavut to support its short-term housing and infrastructure needs.
Visit Budget 2021 for complete details.