ONPHA’s initial response: 2022 Federal Budget
On April 7, the federal government released Budget 2022: A Plan to Grow Our Economy and Make Life More Affordable.
ONPHA is glad to see that housing is central focus of the budget, with some critical new and advanced investments in affordable housing development and community supports, including:
- $4 billion over 5 years starting in 2022-23 for a new Housing Accelerator Fund to support municipalities in accelerating housing development, targeted to create 100,000 new units;
- $2.9 billion advanced under the National Housing Co-Investment Fund to be spent by 2025-26, plus program updates for greater flexibility and accessibility, including higher contributions and faster approvals, expected to build 4,300 new units and repair 17,800 units;
- $1.5 billion over 2 years starting in 2022-23 to extend the Rapid Housing Initiative, expected to create 6,000 new affordable units, with at least 25% for women-focused projects;
- $475 million in 2022-23 to provide a one-time $500 payment to those facing housing affordability challenges;
- $300 million over 5 years starting in 2022-23 to co-develop and launch an Urban, Rural, and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy;
- $200 million over 5 years starting in 2022-23 for a new Deep Retrofit Accelerator Initiative to support retrofit audits and project management to accelerate retrofits, including a focus on low-income affordable housing;
- $458.5 million over the program duration starting in 2022-23 as part of the low-income stream of the Canada Greener Homes Loan program for low-income housing providers;
- $562.2 million over 2 years starting in 2024-25 to continue providing doubled annual funding for Reaching Home;
- $18.1 million over 3 years starting in 2022-23 to determine further measures to eliminate chronic homelessness;
- $62.2 million over 3 years starting in 2024-25 for a new Veteran Homelessness Program, including services and rent supplements;
- $500 million to launch a new Co-operative Housing Development Program;
- $750 million in 2021-22 to support public transit, with new provisions requiring provinces and territories to cost-match and support municipalities in accelerating housing development;
- Reformation of the Rental Construction Financing Initiative to focus on affordability and energy efficiency, with at least 40% of units with rents at or below 80% of average market rents, and $1 billion in loans reallocated to support co-operative housing; and
- Flexibility for provinces, territories, and municipalities to leverage federal infrastructure funding for housing development.
Other housing-related announcements
Other housing-related announcements include initiatives to support first-time home buyers and address the financialization of housing, including conducting a federal review of housing as an asset class to better understand the role of large corporate players (such as Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)).
Other notable announcements that will impact affordability include a phased-in national dental care program for lower-income families starting in 2022-23, working with provinces and territories to develop a new Canada Mental Health Transfer, and passing national pharmacare legislation by the end of 2023.
ONPHA’s key advocacy recommendations
Overall, ONPHA is pleased with the measures announced in the federal budget, which respond to many of our key advocacy recommendations, including:
- Strengthening the National Housing Strategy to prioritize and invest in community housing renewal and development;
- Supporting an Indigenous-led approach to urban, rural, and northern Indigenous housing;
- Stabilizing and supporting households in need; and
- Supporting efforts to prevent and eliminate homelessness.
While we would have liked to have seen more robust, sustained investments in urban, rural, and northern Indigenous housing, greater prioritization for non-profit housing development, and investments in an integrated approach to supportive housing, we are glad to see recognition of the need for distinct, targeted measures to support the development of deeply affordable rental housing.
Stay tuned for our in-depth analysis in the coming days.
ONPHA looks forward to ongoing engagement with all levels of government to develop sustainable, equitable community solutions by opening more doors through housing.