Governments of Canada and British Columbia Launch Expert Panel on Future of Housing

From: Department of Finance Canada

March 15, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Finance Canada

Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home, yet finding affordable housing can be a challenge. While the Governments of Canada and British Columbia have made historic investments in building new housing, there is still more work to be done. Together with the Government of British Columbia, we are taking the next steps to help make housing more affordable for Canadians.

Today, to build upon the steps that have already been taken in B.C. to address the housing crisis, federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau, British Columbia Finance Minister Carole James and British Columbia Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Selina Robinson announced their intention to create an Expert Panel on the Future of Housing Supply and Affordability.

The Expert Panel will examine housing trends for rental and homeownership, exploring what could be done so British Columbians can have further access to housing that they need and can afford. The Expert Panel will be comprised of leaders and specialists in a range of fields with relevant expertise who will be jointly selected by Canada and British Columbia in the coming months.

The Expert Panel will consult with stakeholders to identify and evaluate measures that could build on recent investments and initiatives to increase the supply of housing in British Columbia to meet demand. The Panel will also identify additional measures that could be undertaken to deter unwarranted demand.

“Canada’s economy is growing, and a competitive housing market is a testament to that. Yet there’s a problem when too many Canadians are priced out of buying a home or finding a good place to rent. To make the housing market more fair, affordable and accessible, we need new and innovative ideas to increase the supply of units. I am pleased to launch this expert panel with the Government of British Columbia in order to find those new approaches that meet the future housing needs of not only British Columbians, but all Canadians. I look forward to seeing the recommendations that come forward from the panel.”

– Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance

“B.C.’s housing crisis won’t be solved overnight and it won’t be solved alone. Through our 30-point housing plan we’ve taken action to increase supply, curb speculative demand and crack down on tax evasion and money laundering, but we know there is more to do. We welcome partnering with the federal government and look forward to exploring further innovative solutions that will bring balance back to our housing market. I look forward to seeing the panel’s recommendations to make housing more affordable for the people who live and work in our province.”

– Carole James, Minister of Finance, British Columbia

“When people can’t find a home they can afford, it can be difficult for them to take advantage of opportunities to build a prosperous future. Recognizing that an affordable home is key to a better life, our government has made it a priority to increase the supply of affordable homes, with more than 17,000 homes underway so far as a result of our investments. We are glad to have the federal government join our efforts to create opportunities for people, and a better future for British Columbia.”

– Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, British Columbia

Quick facts

  • To help more Canadians access affordable housing that meets their needs, the Government of Canada launched the National Housing Strategy—a 10-year, $40 billion plan that will build 100,000 new affordable housing units, repair 300,000 others, and reduce chronic homelessness by 50 per cent.

  • Since announcing the Strategy in 2017:

    • The new National Housing Co-Investment Fund has been launched, and is expected to help build 60,000 new units and repair or renew 240,000 existing units of affordable and community housing.
    • Seven provinces and territories have now signed bilateral agreements under the multilateral Housing Partnership Framework, which will see more than $7.7 billion in new federal funding flow to provinces and territories over the next decade to support the stock of community housing and address regional priorities.
  • To address the issue of housing affordability for British Columbians, the B.C. government is taking action to curb speculative demand in B.C.’s housing market and helping build 114,000 affordable market rental, non-profit, supported social housing and owner-purchase housing through partnerships.

    • The B.C. government is investing more than $7 billion over 10 years in housing affordability—the largest investment in B.C.’s history.
    • To stabilize the market the B.C. government has already increased the additional property transfer tax, introduced the speculation and vacancy tax, launched the Condo and Strata Assignment Integrity Register, and taken action to crack down on money laundering and increase transparency in real estate.

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