Federal Budget Lacks Meaningful Housing Supply Initiatives

Mar 31, 2023

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Posted by
Brenna Friesen
Policy Analyst

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On March 28, 2023, federal Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland announced the 2023 Federal Budget which focused on inflation relief for low-income families and incentives for the green economy. The Budget outlined several housing-related measures but fell short of what is needed to improve housing attainability for Canadians.

Below are the highlights from the federal 2023 Budget affecting the housing sector.

Consumer Protection and Home Buyer Assistance Measures

As of April 1, 2023, financial institutions will be able to start offering the Tax-Free First Home Savings Account to Canadians.

The federal government has committed to consulting on changes required to remove regulatory barriers for homebuyers from diverse communities seeking access to alternative financing products.

Through the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, the Feds have also published a guideline to protect Canadians with mortgages who are facing exceptional circumstances.

They propose provision of $31.7 million over three years, starting in 2023-24, to Public Safety Canada and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to work with the Department of Finance Canada to create a low-cost flood insurance program, aimed at protecting households at high risk of flooding and without access to adequate insurance.

Budget 2023 proposes to provide $15.3 million over three years, starting in 2023-24, to Public Safety Canada to create a publicly accessible online portal where Canadians can access information on their exposure to flooding.

The federal government also reiterated their commitment to tackling the financialization of housing through existing measures and remains committed to developing a Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights, stating they will work with provinces and territories to create this plan.

Housing Supply Measures

The recent announcement also included the stated intent 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.

Budget 2023 proposes to commit an additional $4 billion, over seven years, starting in 2024-25, to implement a co-developed Urban, Rural, and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy.

While BCREA welcomes the federal Budget 2023 housing initiatives, the details of their implementation are yet to be determined, and there remains a notable lack of meaningful supply-side solutions to significantly improve housing attainability for Canadians.

BCREA will continue to advocate for more impactful supply-related solutions and proactive, fulsome reliance on sectoral expertise to inform government housing policy.

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