ONPHA’s initial response: 2023 Federal Budget & 2023 Ontario Budget
On March 28, the federal government released Budget 2023 A Made-in-Canada Plan: Strong Middle Class, Affordable Economy, Healthy Future.
The 2023 Federal budget lacked the meaningful investments needed for affordable housing. While the budget did include a commitment of $4 billion over seven years to implement an Urban, Rural, and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy, which is a step in the right direction, we are also pleased to see investments being made in this area and in line with the strategies we developed with the sector. Here are the other relevant, new commitments on housing:
- Commitment to support the reallocation of funding from the National Housing Co-Investment Fund’s repair stream to its new construction stream, as needed, to boost the construction of new affordable homes for the Canadians who need them most.
- Commitment to consult on changes required to remove regulatory barriers for homebuyers from diverse communities seeking access to alternative financing products.
- Financial institutions will be able to start offering the Tax-Free First Home Savings Account to Canadians as of April 1, 2023.
- Working with provinces and territories on the development of a Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights, which will help level the playing field for young, middle class, and new Canadians by making the process of buying a home more open, transparent, and fair.
- A set of “mortgage code of conduct guidelines” for those facing “exceptional circumstances,” including allowing for the adjustment of payment schedules, or authorizing lump-sum payments.
ONPHA submitted recommendations for the 2023 Federal Budget, calling for increased investments in affordable housing. ONPHA’s key recommendations from our budget submissions included:
- Support the protection of and increase in community housing supply that meets the needs of Canadians by enhancing the financial incentives and opportunities within the National Housing Strategy.
- Expand emergency income assistance to include rent-relief for unemployed and low-earning tenants.
- Invest in cross-governmental approaches to meet diverse housing needs and help eliminate chronic homelessness.
The lack of new, deeply affordable housing commitments in the budget means that the burden of providing affordable housing will continue to fall on the shoulders of municipal governments. ONPHA calls on the federal government to make a more substantial investment in affordable housing in the future.
Last week, the 2023 Ontario Budget: Building a Strong Ontario provided an additional $202 million each year in the Homelessness Prevention Program and Indigenous Supportive Housing Program. This investment is a step in the right direction, but it does not address the need for deeply affordable housing.
The budget commitments on mental health, homelessness, and reductions in ambulatory wait times may help improve some of the province’s most visible and important social challenges. However, without a substantial investment in affordable housing, the financial pressures pushing more Ontarians to move to other provinces may remain unchanged.
ONPHA will continue to advocate for the community housing sector to seek government support in community housing renewal and sector transformation in new legislation. We call on our members to connect with their local municipal leaders, MP and MPP’s to let them know what’s important to them and their organization.
We must continue to push for meaningful investments in affordable housing and ensure that the burden of providing affordable housing does not fall entirely on the shoulders of municipal governments. Together, we can make a difference and ensure that everyone in Ontario has access to safe, secure, and affordable housing.