While the BCGEU focuses on taming speculation-fuelled price increases, the Feds today released THIS $40B, 10-year plan to get back into housing.  The plan is called the National Housing Strategy, (Canada’s first-ever national housing strategy).
Just like Canada, the plan is big, broad, complex and contains elements for the very different needs of very different communities.  But there are a few new and powerful principles, like this one:

Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable home.

From the Minister’s preface to the plan:

To be successful, the NHS requires the collaboration and commitment of more partners than ever before, in a coherent, integrated and whole-of-government approach. The provinces and territories will, of course, be primary partners in the Strategy, but we will also work more closely with municipalities, the private and non-profit sectors, and others who share our goal of creating a new generation of housing in Canada.
We have set clear goals for the NHS, including removing 530,000 Canadian families from housing need and reducing chronic homelessness by half over the next decade. We will track and report on our success, and adapt our approach as needed as the Strategy unfolds. Our primary focus will be on meeting the needs of vulnerable populations, such as women and children fleeing family violence, seniors, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, those dealing with mental health and addiction issues, veterans and young adults.


  1. It’s taken the new government two years, but it’s great to see the feds back in the housing strategy business after a hiatus of at least a quarter century. The jury will remain out on some of their policies (e.g. P3s), but it’s clear they are back at the table.
    Now, if only they could conjoin the National Housing Strategy with a National Transit Plan to create a very dynamic urban economy.

  2. A “National” strategy in name only. The plan excludes Quebec (25% of the population of Canada). The plan also excludes First Nations.
    No wonder the Quebec press did not carry the story except through the French branch of CP in Ottawa. No announcement was made in Montreal, only Toronto and Vancouver , which the minister for Quebec City was sent here for.
    The $40 billion is the total which includes the provincial contributions, once years of arm twisting the provinces is done. BC would be proportionally entitled to 12% of the total, which it would have to contribute up to 50%.
    Money will go first to renos and co-ops and only start after the next federal election. It will be 2021 before any new building are planned. If the provinces agree then sites can be selected, designs drawn up and buildings built. Look for ribbon cuttings and occupancy sometime in 2023, at least 6 years form now. As long as everyone votes for the Liberals again.

      1. “To address those issues, we will work on a nation-to-nation basis to create distinctions-based strategies that meet the unique housing needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation partners.
        These strategies will be founded on the core principles of self-determination, reconciliation, respect and cooperation. The goal will be to give Indigenous peoples the tools they need to create, control and manage their own housing.
        In addition, housing challenges in Canada’s North are also very different than in the rest of the country. Harsh climates, remote locations and higher costs make homes in northern communities more expensive to build, operate and maintain.
        To offset these high costs, the strategy will invest $300 million to help some 3,000 northern families find affordable homes.”
        One percent of $40 billion is $400 million.

    1. @ Marc D, where specifically does it say the $40B strategy will include the provincial contribution and whittle down the federal portion?

      1. “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released a $40-billion national housing program on Wednesday, but the plan counts on the provinces to contribute billions and key elements won’t begin until after the next federal election.
        The 10-year program assumes the provinces will be willing to match federal spending plans in some areas, meaning further negotiations will be needed before the details are worked out. Quebec in particular says it wants to hammer out its own agreement with Ottawa.”
        Bill Cuury & Jeff Grey (Ottawa), Justine Hunter (Victoria),Les Perreuax (Montreal)
        Globe and Mail.
        “But the plan itself rests heavily on provinces and territories kicking in matching funds, without which federal dollars won’t flow.
        Even then, it won’t happen until April 2018 and not until 2021 in the case of the new housing benefit.
        Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the reason much of the money won’t be spent until after the next election in 2019 is because the federal government needs to take the time to get the details right and satisfy myriad local, provincial and territorial needs.
        What the plan does is pull together almost $10 billion in planned spending, $11.2 billion in housing money outlined in this year’s budget, and $4.8 billion the Liberals promised to keep spending on funding to affordable housing providers. The rest is all from provinces, territories and the private sector to total about $40 billion over a decade.
        There are also strict strings attached.”
        Canadian Press, Nov.22.17

        1. Thanks for providing a citation to your comment above.
          Still, why shouldn’t the provinces and cities participate? Yes, the strategy was proposed without a joint planning effort with all jurisdictions, but that doesn’t necessarily kill it before it’s even off the ground. Cities especially will probably be ecstatic supporters, especially those with a widespread homeless situation and an affordability crisis.
          Remember, it’s the first peep from the feds on the housing file in a generation. I have more concern about the involvement of the private sector in the gargantuan Infrastructure Bank than this singular policy announcement.
          The housing strategy was the central topic of discussion last night on ‘At Issue’ on CBC’s The National. McLean’s Paul Wells reiterating how supplying homes for the homeless and other social housing programs will take some burden off the emergency centres in all major cities and will help stabilize addiction with readily available treatment. The National Post’s Andrew Coyne seemed to agree and didn’t flinch at the expenditures, which was telling for a conservative-minded journalist. The Toronto Star’s Chantal Hebert mentioned that such programs are all too often subject to sudden crashes when the political tables are turned back to budget slashers.
          The rather brief discussion covered a good range. See the Nov 23rd podcast:

        2. It may be the first peep from the feds in a while, on general housing financing but we will have to wait and see if anything actually does happen. The forty billion number is a bit silly because it includes funding from hoped partners. Like me standing on the corner saying I’m investing a hundred thousand dollars in a new local vegetables and foods shop. Then you read the details and realise it will only happen as long as a couple of my buddies each come up with a hundred grand too.
          The feds have always been in social housing, such as Woodwards, “More than 200 downtown Vancouver apartments that were built to provide affordable rental options for singles, families and people with disabilities are now officially open.
          Federal Treasury Board President Stockwell Day and B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell were among those on hand Friday to mark the opening inside the Woodward’s development in the city’s Downtown Eastside.
          Of the 209 affordable rental units, 125 are single-occupancy suites, 75 are two- and three-bedroom apartments for families and nine are designed for people with disabilities.
          The tenants’ portion of the subsidized rent is determined by their incomes.
          Ottawa contributed more than $20 million to the development and Day said the apartments are about improving people’s lives.” CBC May 28, 2010.
          It would be very difficult to find any social housing in Vancouver that has not received federal funding.
          The Government of Canada, through CMHC, works with its provincial and territorial partners to reduce the number of Canadians in need by improving access to affordable housing. Since 2011, new federal funding for affordable housing has been provided through the Investment in Affordable Housing (IAH).
          Through initiatives like new construction, renovation, homeownership assistance, rent supplements, shelter allowances, accessibility modifications, and accommodations for victims of family violence, funding under the IAH is used by provinces and territories to:
          increase the supply of affordable housing across Canada;
          improve and preserve the quality of affordable housing;
          improve housing affordability for vulnerable Canadians; and
          foster safe, independent living
          Federal funding delivered under the IAH totalled more than $1.432 billion from April 2011 to the end of March 2017.

        3. $1.43 billion over six years for a nation of 35 million people, and five cities with over 14 million people with widespread homeless and affordability issues …. that’s not very much help at all.
          I do agree that the federal Liberal misinformation about the shared funding is not acceptable. Should Trudeau find himself looking at the possibility of a minority government during the next election, I would hope the NDP will offer support to fix the housing policy portfolio and put a lid on the bullshit. The federal Liberals enacted some of our best social programs (healthcare, CPP) not alone, but backed by the NDP decades ago.
          I wouldn’t trust the Conservatives in any regard with respect to the social end of the federal mandate, especially after Harper was set to eliminate all federal funding for housing. He was defeated before he could act on that one.

  3. Because of the narrow focus on less than 6% of the housing universe it’s more correctly a limited social welfare program rather than a national strategy. It actually incentivizes the working poor above the benefit level (who’s taxes help fund the initiative) to capitulate.
    Several generations living in misery under a gov’t whose annual expenditures are a third of a trillion. Real efforts that allow incomes to rise through meaningful employment would be far more effective.

    1. I’m inclined to agree, but with less cynicism, especially when you consider that Canada’s economy touches $2 trillion annually. We are a wealthy, advanced nation and it behoves us to elect governments that are capable of long-range planning beyond the election cycles.

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