Since the last federal election, we have reached important milestones in the campaign to protect co-op housing.

National Housing Strategy

On National Housing Day this past November, the National Housing Strategy was announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister Responsible for CMHC Jean-Yves Duclos.

After a decade of work by CHF Canada and housing co-ops across the country, we can breathe a little easier knowing that 20,000 low-income households have a home for years to come.

The Strategy has three key features to help low-income co-op households:

  • The Strategy is set to assist the same number of households as are currently assisted today.
  • Low-income households will receive uninterrupted support through the duration of the Strategy.
  • Funding for the National Housing Strategy has been budgeted through 2028.

More details will be unveiled in the weeks and months ahead but overall, this is a win for housing co-ops.
Moving forward, our sector will pivot from ‘protect’ to ‘grow’. The government aims to build 50,000 new community housing units, which will include co-ops.

The Strategy provides our sector with welcome relief to protect the homes we have, and tools to usher in a new era of co-op housing growth in Canada.

Please check out our detailed analysis of the National Housing Strategy for more information.

For further information, please contact Program Manager, Policy and Government Relations Douglas Wong at or 1-800-465-2752 x245.


Encouraging Beginning: The Minister’s Mandate Letter

When the Prime Minister appoints the cabinet, each minister is issued a mandate letter. These letters form the basis of the minister’s marching orders. When the cabinet was sworn in the Prime Minister issued nearly 20 directives to his ministers across seven portfolios on matters related to affordable housing.

Jean-Yves Duclos, the minister responsible for housing was instructed to “provide support to municipalities maintain rent-geared-to-income subsidies in co-ops.”

Short-term Assistance: Budget 2016

Stop gap measures were introduced in Budget 2016 in order to provide short-term assistance to co-ops while longer term measures are developed through a National Housing Strategy.

  • $30 million, two year commitment to extend rent-geared-to-income assistance for federally administered co-ops whose agreements expired as of April 1, 2016.
  • The Investment in Affordable Housing program is doubled. New transfers to provinces and territories offers flexibility to extend rent-geared-to-income subsidies for co-ops whose federally administered agreements expired before April 1, 2016 and for co-ops whose provincially administered agreements.
  • $77.6 million was set aside for federally administered co-ops and non-profits for renovation and retrofit projects.
  • $150 million program launched to help Section 61 co-ops prepay CMHC mortgages and refinance at lower interest rates.

Hope for a Long-term Solution: A National Housing Strategy

The federal government has committed to developing a National Housing Strategy. In 2016, Minister Jean-Yves Duclos and CMHC led extensive consultations to hear Canadians’ ideas on what they should do. The co-operative housing movement was well represented throughout regional consultations and expert roundtables.

CHF Canada submitted recommendations in a document called “Let’s Talk Co-operative Housing.”  During the consultation period, MPs held town halls on the subject of housing, and CHF Canada organized dozens of meetings with MPs in order to deliver the Protect Co-op Housing message.

At the conclusion of the consultation period, the Minister hosted a Facebook live event in order to share the results of the consultation process. CMHC published a document called “What we heard.”

Facebook live video:

Now that consultations are over, all eyes are on budget 2017, looking for federal action on co-op housing.

We still haven’t crossed the finish line. We need to keep working toward a long term commitment to protect co-op housing.