Half Measures and Missed Opportunities: CHRA’s response to Budget 2023
06 Apr 2023
It’s no secret that Canada is facing a period of economic uncertainty. People in communities across the country are struggling with the rising cost of living – and the high cost of housing is at the core of the issue.
The community housing sector works tirelessly to realize a future where everyone has a place to call home. The federal government needs to equip us with the tools to make it happen.
On March 28th, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland tabled the 2023 federal budget.
Budget 2023 was an opportunity to invest in an end to the housing crisis. Instead, the government demonstrated that they are out of touch with the scale and severity of Canada’s housing woes.
Read on to see a breakdown of our reaction to the housing measures in Budget 2023:
Funding for a co-developed urban, rural, and northern Indigenous Housing Strategy
CHRA has long advocated for a fully funded, Indigenous-led urban, rural, and northern (URN) Indigenous Housing strategy; the CHRA Indigenous Caucus released its proposal for a comprehensive urban, rural and northern Indigenous housing plan in 2018. Our advocacy work leading up to the release of Budget 2023 called on the federal government to implement UNDRIP by funding an Urban, Rural, and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy to be delivered via the National Indigenous Collaborative Housing Inc. (NICHI).
While we were pleased to see the budget commit to providing $4 billion over seven years to implement such a strategy, the amount is far short of the $56 billion over 10 years recommended by the National Housing Council and falls well below what is needed to meet the current need.
The budget also specifies that the forthcoming URN strategy will be implemented by CMHC, going against previous commitments to deliver funding for URN Indigenous housing through a national Indigenous-led housing body.
No new funding for the National Housing Co-Investment Fund
The National Housing Strategy’s National Housing Co-Investment Fund (NHCF) is a key program relied upon by community housing providers to create new and repair existing housing units across the country.
With inflation and rising construction costs, housing providers find it increasingly difficult and, in some cases, impossible to create new housing using the Co-Investment Fund. CHRA has been consistently advocating for the federal government to inject much-needed funding into NHCF to meet its current target to create 66,700 new units of affordable housing and repair or renew 246,500 more.
Budget 2023 did not allocate a single new dollar to the Co-Investment Fund. Instead, the Government signaled their intention to repurpose existing funds from NHCF’s repair stream to the construction stream: putting existing affordable housing at risk. This course of action ensures that Canada will fall further behind in addressing the housing crisis.
The CHRA team has been in touch with our government contacts to voice our concerns over the housing measures – or lack thereof – in Budget 2023, and will continue to push for the resources you need to ensure everyone has a safe and affordable place to call home.
Want to stay up to date on our communications with government. Visit our Advocacy page.
Check out CHRA’s Blueprint for Housing to see more of our recommendations for ensuring that all who live in Canada have access to safe, affordable, appropriate housing.