Canada’s deputy prime minister and minister of finance, Chrystia Freeland, delivered her 2023 Fall Economic Statement on 21 November, which included some measures which will benefit housing co-ops.
In an effort to address the impact of higher interest rates on the housing sector, Freeland announced plans to accelerate the construction of new rental housing. As part of this, the government is allocating CA$1bn over three years to the Affordable Housing Fund for co-op, non-profit, and social housing development. The fund is expected to support community housing providers, including co-ops, as they construct 7,000 new homes by 2028.
Other actions include offering eligibility for the goods and service tax rebate to co-op housing projects that begin construction between 13 September 2023 and the end of 2030. It is hoped this will cut project costs and debts, and reduce housing charges from the outset.
The government is also pledging $15bn in loan funding for rental housing construction as part of a new Apartment Constructions Loan programme.
The budget announcements were welcomed by the Co-operative Housing Federation (CHF) of Canada. “We appreciate these investments to build more co-op homes; now it is time to focus on implementation,” said executive director, Tim Ross. “CHF Canada encourages the federal government to launch the Co-operative Housing Development Program as soon as possible.
“We know there are co-op housing projects waiting for this funding. In a housing crisis, we need to act quickly and develop a diversity of housing options for all people in Canada.”
The measures build on previous support for the housing co-op sector announced in the 2022 budget.
“The co-op advantage ensures housing is delivered as economically and affordably as possible while maintaining buildings in good repair and supporting strong communities,” said Ross. “We are encouraged by these investments to spur more co-op and community housing, and we are eager to do our part to address the housing crisis.”