The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is encouraged by the unprecedented emphasis on housing in the 2023 Fall Economic Statement, which announced several measures aimed at enhancing existing housing programs, as well as the government’s commitment to increasing housing supply across the entire housing continuum, through various new programs.
On Tuesday, November 21, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland tabled the statement which included its first-ever housing-related chapter titled Canada’s Housing Action Plan, focused on mitigating the housing crisis and restoring housing affordability for Canadians. The government introduced new measures to: incentivize the construction of new rental housing; protect homeowners and renters; and ensure all Canadians have a safe, affordable place to call home.
Highlights from the 2023 Fall Economic Statement
The government committed to numerous measures, including many positions and recommendations CREA has lobbied on over the last few years, such as tying funding for infrastructure projects to building more homes, and prioritizing permanent residency for construction workers from abroad, with skills that can help build more homes faster.
The following measures were introduced:
- Reaffirming the commitment to tie infrastructure funding to actions by provinces, territories, and municipalities to increase housing supply where it makes sense to do so;
- Expanding the removal of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from new, purpose-built rental housing projects, to include co-ops;
- An additional $15 billion in new loan funding, starting in 2025–26, for the Apartment Construction Loan Program, bringing the program’s total to $40 billion;
- An additional $1 billion over three years, starting in 2025–26, for the Affordable Housing Fund, supporting non-profit, co-op, and public housing providers, to build more homes;
- Increasing the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) annual limit of support for low-cost financing by $20 billion per year and designating the increased amount for funding mortgages on multi-unit rental projects insured by CMHC;
- Repurposing surplus federal properties to be developed into new homes;
- Investing $309.3 million in new funding for the Co-operative Housing Development Program; and
- Introducing legislation to establish the Department of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities (currently Infrastructure Canada), in recognition of the link between housing and infrastructure.
- Prioritizing construction workers with skills to expedite the home building process, for permanent residency.
- Introducing various measures to crack down on non-compliant short-term rentals.
- Introducing a new Canadian Mortgage Charter, which will enforce fair, reasonable, and timely mortgage relief measures, from federally regulated financial institutions to mortgage holders, which includes a long-term REALTOR® position to not require insured mortgage holders to requalify under the insured minimum qualifying rate when switching lenders at mortgage renewal.
The government stated it intends to propose new amendments to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act and the Criminal Code to strengthen Canada’s anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing framework. The government is also consulting on several changes to the Underused Housing Tax (UHT) to help facilitate compliance.
CREA will continue to monitor these measures, as well as the others announced, and assess the impact they have on the housing continuum, including homeowners, renters, and REALTORS®