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Canada’s New Housing Plan Critics

A magnifying glass highlighting the phrase "affordable housing crisis" on a background of newspaper clippings featuring words like "fear" and "uncertainty.

On April 12th, the government released the Solving the Housing Crisis: Canada’s Housing Plan, with the goal of unlocking 3.87 million new homes by 2031. This strategy involves adding 2 million net new homes, in addition to the 1.87 million homes expected to be built by 2031. Specifically, policy actions outlined in Budget 2024 and Canada’s Housing Plan, along with initiatives from fall 2023, are projected to support at least 1.2 million net new homes. 

Prime Minister Trudeau emphasized the importance of collaboration among federal, provincial, and municipal governments, urging them to collectively strive for an additional 800,000 new homes over the same period. 

However, not all reactions to the plan have been positive. Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, for one, has threatened to take Ottawa to court over housing deals.

Smith has previously opposed prior federal announcements about housing funding. She has also now introduced a bill in the Edmonton legislature, which she calls the “stay out of my backyard bill,” aiming to mandate provincial oversight of future federal-municipal housing agreements within Alberta. Smith expressed readiness to pursue legal action against the federal government, alleging misuse of federal spending power and unfair treatment of Alberta municipalities. 

She also expressed concerns about language in the housing plan referring to “climate-friendly housing.” However, Housing Minister Sean Fraser indicated this language did not constitute a requirement to meet net-zero standards.

To date, in Alberta, various municipalities have, however, benefited from the federal Accelerated Housing Fund.

Under these agreements, for larger municipalities, Airdrie will be provided over $24.8 million, Edmonton will be provided over $175 million, and Calgary will receive over $228 million. For Alberta’s smaller municipalities of Banff, Sylvan Lake, Bow Island, Westlock, Smoky Lake and the Village of Duchess, over $13.8 million has been promised under these agreements. 

The Housing Accelerator Fund is a $4 billion federal initiative, from the previous Liberal housing plan, and is expected to run until 2026 to 2027.

Miniature figure standing on coin stacks next to a small model house on architectural blueprints, symbolizing property investment.

Meanwhile, Ontario Premier Doug Ford has spoken out strongly against four plexes recently, and has introduced his own new bill for the Cutting Red Tape to Build More Housing Act.

Ontario recipients of the Accelerated Housing Fund received a total of $1,405.6 million, as follows:

Barrie – Over $25.6 million

Markham – $58.8 million

Cambridge – Over $13.3 million

Tecumseh – $4.4 million

North Grenville – Over $5.2 million

Thunder Bay – $20.7 million

Woolwich – $6.7 million

Ottawa – Over $176.3 million

Waterloo – Over $22 million

Whitby – $25 million

Milton – Over $22 million

Ajax – $22 million

Kingston – $27.6 million

St. Catharines – $25.7 million

Burlington – Over $21 million

Guelph – Over $21.4 million

Toronto – Over $471 million

Mississauga – $113 million

Richmond Hill – Over $31 million

Kitchener – Over $42.4 million

Brampton – Over $114 million

Hamilton – Over $93.5 million

Vaughan – Over $59 million

London – $74 million

Marathon – $1.9 million

Outside of provincial government critics, other critics of the new federal Housing Plan say the federal plan does not go far enough, and reduced immigration will have a bigger impact on helping with the housing crisis. Others expressed disappointment in the delays to address housing issues.

The impacts of these criticisms and actions will become apparent over time.

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