The National Housing Strategy lays out a 10-year, $40 billion program to maintain existing affordable housing and to build new affordable homes.

In the coming weeks, we will hear more about the details surrounding the Strategy. Please contact CHF Canada if you have any questions.

Over the last two years, CHF Canada’s government relations priorities have been:

  • Protection of subsidies for low-income co-op homes;
  • Support for the renovation and renewal of co-op housing;
  • Building new co-op homes.
  • Protecting Low-Income Co-op Households

The National Housing Strategy presented two tools to maintain subsidies to low-income members:

1. Federal Community Housing Initiative ($500 million, 2018-2028)
• For co-ops with federally-administered agreements in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and Prince Edward Island.
• The program has two phases:
i. Phase 1: Co-ops will receive the same level of subsidy they currently receive under existing operating agreements. Phase 1 covers co-ops whose operating agreements expired between April 1, 2016 and March 30, 2020. We expect that the subsidies will use a similar supplementary agreement as was utilized to extend subsidies in Budget 2016. We expect to receive more details on this program in the coming weeks.
ii. Phase 2: a new rental assistance program will begin on April 1, 2020 to protect low income households. This program intends to “maintain the current federally-administered housing stock, and its 55,000 households.” Our sector will work with the federal government to design this program.

• The Strategy states that co-ops will need to meet program requirements in the fields of affordability, social inclusion, asset management, and governance. The sector will work to ensure that the autonomy of co-ops is protected.
• The FCHI is expected to support 55,000 co-op and non-profit households

2. Canada Community Housing Initiative ($4.3 billion, 2018-2028)

  • This program is designed for co-ops, non-profits, and public housing providers with provincially-administered agreements. This applies to co-ops in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.
  • As social housing operating agreements expire, the federal government will renew investments in provinces and territories to protect low-income households and stabilize the operations of housing providers.
  • The Canada Community Housing Initiative (CCHI) is expected to preserve affordability, support repair and renewal, and help in the expansion of community-based housing, including co-ops.
  • Provinces and territories need to guarantee that the overall number of households that are currently supported will continue to be supported to gain access to CCHI funds.
  • Provinces and territories will also be asked to cost-match the Government of Canada’s contribution. If provinces and territories contribute the full amount, this would result in a total investment of up to $8.6 billion.
  • This initiative requires agreements between the federal government and each of the provinces and territories. The process will take some time and the details may vary across the country.
  • The CCHI is expected to support 330,000 co-op, non-profit, and public housing households.

Co-ops with operating agreements that expired before April 1, 2016

CHF Canada is still in discussions with the federal government to find a solution for co-ops whose operating agreements expired before April 1, 2016.

Past funding sent to the provinces and territories by the federal government could be used to extend subsidies for low-income households. (Dialogue with Duclos, Volume 1, Number 2, April 2016).
CHF Canada will continue to advocate for these co-ops.

The Canada Housing Benefit

The new Canada Housing Benefit will be developed and delivered in partnership with provinces and territories. The Canada Housing Benefit is expected to launch in 2020 with a value of $4 billion. The Benefit will be sent directly to individuals and families in housing need. This could include people
living in co-op, non-profit, and public housing; those on a social housing waitlist; or those living in private market rental units.

Supporting the Repair and Renewal of Co-op Housing

  • Support for the repair and renewal of co-op housing will be made available through the Canada Community Housing Initiative and the Federal Community Housing Initiative
  • The Co-Investment Fund will also provide grants and loans for the repair and renewal of housing.
  • Section 61 co-ops can now prepay their mortgage and maintain their rent supplement programs until the original end date of their operating agreement. If a Section 61 co-op wanted to prepay their mortgage before this change, the co-op would need to end its rent supplement program to low-income households before original end date of their operating agreements. With an advocacy push from CHF Canada, the Government of Canada realized that this was unfair to co-ops and made changed the program.

Building New Co-op Homes

Communities across Canada are experiencing a lack of affordable housing. Through the National Housing Strategy, the government intends to build 50,000 new units of community housing, which includes co-op housing.

The government’s overall goal is to build 100,000 new units of rental housing. A portion (30%) of new units will be set at 80% of average market rent for 20 years.

Tools for building new affordable housing:

The National Housing Co-Investment Fund

  • The goal of the Fund is to create up to 60,000 new units and repair up to 240,000 existing units. The Fund will do this through $4.7 billion in financial grants and $11.2 billion in low interest loans.

Investment in Affordable Housing (IAH)

  • Co-ops under long-term operating agreements can now access IAH funding until it expires on March 31, 2019.
  • The federal government plans to transfer $200 million in federal lands to housing providers, like co-ops, to build new affordable housing.

Our sector has the knowledge, experience, and resources to grow. The tools put forth by the federal government help to kick start that growth, and will support us to build even more units than we could alone.

In the next decade, our sector is moving from “protect” to “grow”. Combined, a quarter of a million people live in housing co-ops and control $5.6 billion in assets. By working together, we can unlock the true power of those assets. Collectively, we can give hundreds, even thousands, more families an affordable community to call home.

We’re stronger together, so let’s work together. Let’s build some homes.

For more information, please contact:

Douglas Wong
Program Manager, Policy and Government Relations
Tel: (613) 230-2201, ext. 245