Policy Updates

2024 federal budget analysis

Housing was the primary focus of the 2024/2025 federal budget tabled on April 16, implementing some of the key recommendations submitted by the Housing Central partners. The recommendations, delivered in August 2023 by BC Non-Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA), the Aboriginal Housing Management Association (AHMA), and the Co-operative Housing Federation of BC (CHF BC), included the following:

  • Allocate resources required to implement year one of AHMA’s Urban, Rural, and Northern Indigenous housing strategy;
  • Create a Federal Acquisition Fund to support the community housing sector to acquire rental housing properties and protect their long-term affordability; 
  • Refresh the current approach to taxation and government revenue generation to reduce the financial burden on non-profit and co-op housing providers; and,
  • Adjust the budget of the Co-operative Housing Development Program to account for the lost capacity due to higher interest rates and construction costs.

In the weeks ahead of the budget’s release, the federal government introduced a series of major housing announcements that culminated in the publication of a new federal housing plan, “Solving the Housing Crisis: Canada’s Housing Plan.” Canada’s Housing Plan is a meaningful step in addressing the housing crisis impacting all Canadians, showing a general alignment with our Housing Central recommendations for the federal budge.

The plan brings together 53 new and ongoing measures, across three main objectives:

  • Building more homes by bringing down the costs of homebuilding, helping cities make it easier to build homes at a faster pace, changing the way Canadian homebuilders manufacture homes, and growing the workforce to ensure we get the job done.
  • “Making it easier to own or rent a home by ensuring that every renter or homeowner has a home that suits their needs, and the stability to retain it.
  • “Helping Canadians who can’t afford a home by building more affordable housing for students, seniors, persons with disabilities, equity-deserving communities, and eliminating chronic homelessness in Canada.”

The 2024-2025 federal budget provided additional details regarding the specific amounts being committed for each program and the expected timelines for the release of those funds.

  • $1.5-billion Canada Rental Protection Fund: This measure is a scaled-up version of BC’s Rental Protection Fund, developed by the Housing Central partners and launched in early 2023, to address the rapid loss of affordable housing. Between 2016 and 2021 Canada lost almost 369,000 units renting for under $1,000 per month; 97,000 of those homes were in BC, resulting in 12 affordable units lost for every affordable unit built. The fund will be managed by CMHC but will be co-designed in the upcoming months in partnership with National Indigenous Collaborative Housing Inc., the Canadian Housing & Renewal Association, the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada and the BC Rental Protection Fund. We will continue to work with our federal partners to ensure non-profit housing providers here in BC can access both federal and provincial funds as seamlessly as possible.
  • $15 billion in additional funding for the Apartment Construction Loan Program: Starting in 2025-2026, these additional funds will bring the total investment to over $55 billion. The government also announced a Canada Builds program, based on the BC Builds program, to leverage these loans to partner with provinces and territories that launch ambitious plans to build more rental and affordable housing faster.
  • $6-billion Canada Infrastructure Fund: This plan makes significant funding for key investments in infrastructure and public transit conditional to investments, innovations or policy changes that will encourage more home construction. These measures include upzoning, increasing densification near transit, adopting as-of-right construction from the government’s upcoming Housing Design Catalogue, and more.
  • $2 billion to increase the supply of non-profit housing through the Affordable Housing Fund: This includes$1 billion to be added to the ongoing program providing low-interest or forgivable loans and contributions for new and repaired affordable and community housing. Another $1 billion will go to a new Rapid Housing Stream, similar to the Rapid Housing Initiative, to build deeply affordable housing, supportive housing, and shelters for our most vulnerable.
  • Additional funding: The budget adds $1 billion over four years to the Reaching Home program; $1.5 billion to launch a new Co-operative Housing Development Program; tax incentives for rental construction; increased protections for tenants; and a commitment to make more government-owned land available for long-term leases with community housing providers, specifically Canada Post properties and underused federal offices.
    • For BC, North Vancouver and Port Moody have properties already assigned. Additional potential properties are in Chemainus, Gibsons, Langley, Qualicum Beach, Sechelt, and Saanichton.

While the funding initiatives outlined above are a promising step in addressing the housing crisis across Canada, there is still room for improvement in several areas:

  • We are disappointed to see a heavy reliance on what the market can provide for homeowners and renters. Nearly 70% of all investments in housing announced in the budget are focused on market solutions. Although we are glad to see more than $32 billion directed towards rentals (market and non-market), a larger share of the investment should be targeted to addressing the housing needs of low and very low-income households.
  • The potential of the new Canada Rental Protection Fund is worth celebrating, but some aspects are concerning. We had advocated for federal RPF funds to flow through BC’s Rental Protection Fund, rather than through CMHC, so that non-profit housing providers can respond quickly and efficiently to changing market conditions. We are also disappointed by the scale of investment for this nation-wide program; of the $1.5 billion earmarked for the program, $1 billion is for loans over the next five years. Moreover, only $5 million in capital investments is being put forward for 2024-25, leaving just $120 million per year afterwards.  
  • Although the plan commits $900 million to support the construction of Indigenous infrastructure, it does not provide additional funds to support the Urban, Rural, and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy. It only reinstates the commitment to the initial investment of $4.3 billion from the 2023 budget.
  • The plan fails to include specific measures to support individuals facing mental health and/or substance use challenges.

The investments outlined in the new federal housing plan and confirmed by the 2024 budget are a significant improvement over the past few years. It directs funds to measures that have been identified as best practices by housing advocates across the country and puts Canada in a much better position than it was.

However, to make sure the plan delivers, all levels of government must take responsibility and act proactively and with the urgency that the housing crisis requires. BCNPHA will continue advocating to our provincial and municipal leaders to bring housing solutions to those in greatest need, as well as supporting our members navigating these housing programs, to take advantage of the different funding opportunities that become available.

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