Madam Speaker, I am pleased today to speak to Motion No. 331 and to indicate our party's support for this motion.
I thank the hon. member for bringing this matter before the House. It gives me the opportunity to talk about the unprecedented investments our government has made to improve access to affordable housing and to address the issue of homelessness in communities across the country.
I hope the member across the way is aware that our economic action plan invested record amounts in social housing, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in over 10,000 projects. This is in addition to the extension through 2014 of the homelessness partnering strategy, where we are working with communities, both urban and rural, to prevent and reduce homelessness.
Through these investments, we are helping to expand the stock of affordable rental housing across Canada, while creating jobs and stimulating demand for Canadian made building products and services.
I do not believe there is a person in this chamber who does not recognize the importance of housing. We can all agree that everyone in Canada deserves a stable, safe and affordable place to call home.
Prior to coming to this place, I was the president of the Greater Toronto Apartment Association and spent close to 20 years in the property management and rental housing sectors. I have seen federal housing programs first-hand and can tell the House that no other government in that time has done more, provided more local flexibility and maintained stability in programs like this government.
Having access to stable affordable housing is a foundation for healthy living and a building block for success in so many other areas such as education, the labour market, personal relationships and community engagement. This is why we have a range of policies and programs in place to support Canadians from all walks of life and in all parts of the country in accessing housing that meets their needs. This includes providing housing assistance for those whose housing needs cannot be met in the marketplace, including low-income families, seniors, people with disabilities and first nations people on reserve.
In fact, our government has made unprecedented investments in housing over the past number of years. Since 2006, we have invested an estimated $12.5 billion in housing programs. These investments have improved living conditions for tens of thousands of Canadians, helped build stronger communities and created thousands of jobs across Canada.
Sadly, these investments were opposed at every opportunity by the opposition parties. The official opposition and the third party stood against budget measure after budget measure that funded these projects. However, our unprecedented investment in housing programs happened in spite of the opposition.
Even though his party voted against the money, I am sure the hon. member across the way will be pleased to know that we continue to invest heavily in housing. This year, through CMHC, the Government of Canada will invest approximately $2 billion in housing. Of this amount, $1.7 billion will be spent in support of almost 615,000 households living in existing social housing to ensure they can continue to afford their homes.
I recently visited two federally funded co-operative housing complexes in my riding of Mississauga—Streetsville, and I can report to the House the very successful operations at Tecumseh and Meadows Co-ops and what these projects mean to the people who live there.
We will also spend more than $250 million this year to continue to reduce the number of Canadians in housing need. This is part of a commitment we made in 2008 to invest $1.9 billion over five years in housing and homelessness programs.
As a first step in delivering on this commitment, the affordable housing initiative and the federal renovation programs for low-income households were extended for two years. In July 2011, federal and provincial housing ministers announced the investment in affordable housing 2011-2014 framework agreement to guide the deliver of federal investments in affordable housing off reserve over the final three years of this five year commitment.
The overall objective of the framework is to reduce the number of Canadians in housing need by improving access to affordable housing that is sound, suitable and sustainable. It is being implemented through bilateral agreements with each province and territory that are best positioned to design and deliver programs to address housing needs and priorities in their respective jurisdiction.
Under these arrangements, federal funding will be matched by the provinces and territories. When these contributions are included, the new framework provides for a combined investment of $1.4 billion over three years toward reducing the number of Canadians in housing need.
Over and above these investments, our government will spend about $407 million this year to address housing needs on reserve. This funding is used to subsidize existing rental housing, build new homes and renovate existing houses that are in need of repair.
The homelessness partnering strategy was renewed at $134.8 million per year until March 2014. So far this money has supported over 2,900 projects across Canada. I have seen, first-hand, in Toronto how successful the HPS is through its funding of the internationally recognized streets to homes program.
In his motion, the hon. member also calls on the government to expand the stock of affordable rental housing. Again, he will be pleased to hear that our government offers strong support for this housing option. The federal investments I have already mentioned go a long way in helping to make affordable rental housing available to Canadians.
For example, an estimated 5,000 new affordable housing units were created through the two year extension of the affordable housing initiative. More than 50,000 units have been created since this initiative was established, and we expect that that thousands more will be created under the new investment in affordable housing framework agreement.
Renovation assistance is also available from CMHC for repairs to rental properties occupied by low-income tenants, including rooming houses. CMHC also supports the conversion of non-residential properties into affordable self-contained rental housing units or bed units, and provides financial assistance to assist in the repair of existing shelter housing and the creation of new shelters for victims of family violence.
CMHC's Affordable Housing Centre also facilitates the development of affordable housing solutions that do not require ongoing support from government. In addition to providing guidance and expertise to project proponents, the centre offers seed and proposal development funding to help get projects started. In 2010 the centre facilitated the creation of close to 2,900 new affordable housing units and projects across Canada.
Our government provides other support for rental housing. For example, CMHC is the only mortgage loan insurer for large, multi-unit rental properties, nursing and retirement homes. Mortgage loan insurance from CMHC is critical to ensuring these housing options continue to be available to Canadians. Without it, many large rental housing projects simply would not get the financing they need to be affordable.
The motion currently before the House also calls on the government to ensure that federal housing programs provide economic benefits to local housing construction businesses. Our government recognizes that housing is an important source of job creation in Canada. That is why investments in social housing were a key element of Canada's economic action plan.
As hon. members will recall, the stimulus phase of our economic action plan included an additional $2 billion over two years to renovate existing and build new social housing. This funding has supported more than 14,000 social housing and first nations housing projects across Canada. If I had the time I would point out some of the great things about these 14,000 projects.
In conclusion, our government is proud of its housing record. We will be supporting the hon. member's motion.