Input Sought for Federal Housing Strategy

The Government of Canada is developing a new housing strategy in collaboration with provincial and territorial governments. Multiple sectors are invited to contribute to consultation process. Interested local governments are encouraged to provide submissions through the federal government's website. The submission deadline is October 21, 2016.

The Province of British Columbia is preparing a submission as part of the national consultation process based on the provincial housing strategy Housing Matters BC. Provincial staff will provide an update to UBCM’s membership on its submission in a Tuesday afternoon session during UBCM’s 2016 Convention in Victoria September 26-30. The start of the consultation process was announced jointly with Rich Coleman, Deputy Premier and Minister Responsible for Housing on June 28.

The need for a “strategy to re-establish the federal government’s role in supporting affordable housing” was set out in the mandate letter for Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. This strategy would see the undertaking of the following:

  • prioritizing infrastructure investments in affordable housing and seniors’ housing, including finding ways to support the municipal construction of new housing units and refurbishment of existing ones;
  • providing support to municipalities to maintain rent-geared-to-income subsidies in co-ops;
  • providing communities the money they need for Housing First initiatives that help homeless Canadians find stable housing;
  • working with the Minister of Finance to encourage the construction of new affordable rental housing by removing all GST on new capital investments in affordable rental housing;
  • working with the Minister of Finance to modernize the existing Home Buyers’ Plan to allow Canadians impacted by sudden and significant life changes to buy a house without tax penalty;
  • working with the Minister of Finance to ensure that the new Canada Infrastructure Bank provides financing to support the construction of new, affordable rental housing;
  • working with the Minister of Public Services and Procurement to conduct an inventory of all available federal lands and buildings that could be repurposed, and making some of these lands available at low cost, or no cost, for affordable housing;
  • undertaking a review of escalating home prices in high-priced housing markets and considering all policy tools that could keep home ownership within reach for more Canadians;
  • bringing forward a proposal to prevent mortgage fraud; and using the restored mandatory long-form census to ensure that decisions on housing are made using the best and most up-to-date data available.

The Government of Canada will release the results of the national consultation on November 22, 2016 (National Housing Day).

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