With respect to the best path to create new, non-market supply of housing, including co-operatives, it would seem as though there are difficulties in accessing and generating new development opportunities through the federal co-investment fund, and I know that a lot of work has been under way to make that work more favourably for smaller non-profits and smaller co-ops. I know CMHC is now allowing for a portfolio approach to access that favourable financing and those grants.
However, we continue to advocate for a not-for-profit, non-market, co-op supply program through the federal government, ideally with the participation of provinces. It's very difficult and may not be reasonable to expect co-op and non-profit housing in Canada, which is a universe of just over 600,000 units, to compete with the whole private market when applying for these existing programs. A stand-alone program would certainly help with that.
To the second point, on renewal of agreements with co-ops and non-profits, what's really important and what must happen is that we need to separate income support from ongoing operations and management of buildings. Co-ops and non-profits in Canada are very well positioned to look after the buildings, but we need strong income support programs to help those who don't have enough income to pay an economic rent. Currently there are three programs on the table in the national housing strategy: the housing benefit, the federal community housing initiative and the Canada community housing initiative. They were all 10-year programs at the beginning of the strategy and now we're a few years into the strategy. Not all of them are up and running, so we really want to focus on getting those up and running.
Generally, longer-term, more permanent or stable rental assistance programs should be for more than a decade.