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House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance Recommends Measures to Create More Community Housing

21 Mar 2024

CHRA staff


The CHRA team has been hard at work advocating for policies and programs that will support your efforts to ensure everyone has a safe and affordable place to call home.

On February 15, CHRA Executive Director Ray Sullivan appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance (FINA) to discuss the policy decisions and market forces that have increased the cost of buying or renting a home in Canada. He presented CHRA’s policy recommendations to help solve the housing crisis.

At the end of February, FINA tabled their report, Shaping our Economic Future: Canadian Priorities. CHRA was pleased to see several of our recommendations in this report, including additional investment in affordable housing development, the creation of a national property acquisition program, and measures related to a “Team Canada” Housing Industrial Strategy.

CHRA has been advocating for measures that support a stable pipeline of community housing development projects. We were glad to see the Committee emphasize measures that could drastically increase the development of community housing through greater access to land, as well as more funding and financing, which could help create more deeply affordable and supportive housing. These include:

  • Recommendation 194: Accelerating the rollout of the Federal Lands Initiative, in part through acquiring additional land for the construction of non-market, affordable rental housing.
  • Recommendation 196: Allocating capital funding to the Affordable Housing Fund to build a minimum of 100,000 new units per year.
  • Recommendation 199: Making the Rapid Housing Initiative a long-term program with recurring, predictable funding beyond 2024.
  • Recommendation 200: Launching the Co-operative Housing Development Program as part of a wider strategy to double the non‐market housing across the country.
  • Recommendation 201: Reducing the cost of housing (i.e. renting) through an ambitious expansion of affordable and non‐market housing.

Beyond ensuring a stable pipeline of new community housing developments, CHRA has been advocating for protecting the affordability of existing rentals through a Canadian Housing Acquisition Fund. We were pleased to see the Committee recommend (No. 198) that the Government create a housing acquisition fund to assist the community housing sector to acquire existing affordable rental buildings.

CHRA has also advocated on the importance of measures that ensure housing policy is considered as part of a broader “Team Canada” Industrial Strategy. The Committee recommended measures that include growing the sector’s workforce, better coordination of policies and programs, and spurring housing innovation:

  • Recommendation 100: Working to ensure an adequate workforce for affordable housing, infrastructure, and transportation.
  • Recommendation 191: Pursuing greater policy coordination between federal, provincial, and municipal officials responsible for housing, infrastructure and immigration, as well as representatives of the construction industry and advocacy groups, to correct supply‐demand imbalances generating the housing affordability crisis.
  • Recommendation 192: Incentivizing innovation to bring down costs of building homes and focus on measures and incentives to stimulate Canada’s housing supply.

CHRA was also pleased to see the Committee recommend the recognition of housing as a human right, measures to scale up the supply of much-needed student housing, and providing additional assistance to low-income households. At the same time, CHRA emphasizes the importance of two significant gaps in the Committee’s recommendations:

  1. Off-reserve, urban, rural, and northern Indigenous housing. CHRA supports the Committee’s Recommendation No. 205 to invest in the housing needs of First Nations. It is simultaneously essential to address the significant funding gap for off-reserve housing. CHRA continues to recommend that the government follow the National Housing Council’s recommendation to invest $6 billion per year to address the urgent, unmet needs of Indigenous populations in Urban, Rural, and Northern populations.
  2. Restoring seed funding. CMHC’s seed funding program is invaluable for assisting potential new community housing developments to go through the pre-development process. The current program is available on an inconsistent basis, forcing many community housing providers to delay the creation of new homes. It is imperative that seed funding be offered consistently throughout the year to allow for a stable pipeline of development projects.

As we approach the tabling of the 2024 federal budget, CHRA continues to advocate on behalf of the community housing sector for measures to ensure everyone has a safe and affordable place to call home. We encourage you to check out our pre-budget recommendations, FINA’s housing recommendations, and ask your local Member of Parliament to endorse them!