Mr. Speaker, affordable and social housing continues to be a priority for the Government of Canada. The federal government has made significant investments in housing and has a multi-pronged approach to facilitate access to safe, quality and affordable housing across the country.
The government works closely with provinces and territories, municipalities, national aboriginal organizations and other housing stakeholders to address housing needs across a broad continuum, from shelter and supports for the homeless and other Canadians at risk to supportive and adapted housing to help seniors or those with disabilities live more independently to affordable housing for low-income households.
The federal government also provides ongoing subsidies for existing social housing in Canada through its long-term operating agreements of 25 to 50 years with provincial and territorial governments and social housing owners/providers. These agreements generally expire as mortgages on the properties are paid off, over the next 25 years.
A significant portion, approximately 80%, of the existing social housing stock receiving federal assistance is under provincial or territorial administration, with the majority being owned and managed by provinces and territories. The remaining 20% of the social housing stock is federally administered.
In 1993, the Government of Canada ceased making new long-term commitments in social housing, except for housing in first nations communities; however, it continues to honour its long-term obligations under existing agreements. Currently, the government invests $1.7 billion a year in support of almost 605,000 households living in existing social housing, with provinces and territories also contributing funding to this housing stock.
A federal, provincial and territorial working group has been examining the viability of the existing social housing stock.
The Government of Canada has also made other significant investments to increase the supply of safe, affordable and adequate housing in recent years.
As part of Canada’s economic action plan, the federal government invested $2 billion over two years to create new and renovate existing social housing. Furthermore, on July 4, 2011, federal, provincial and territorial governments announced a combined investment of some $1.4 billion toward reducing the number of Canadians in housing need under the new investment in affordable housing 2011-2014 framework agreement. Under the framework, provinces and territories continue to have responsibility for the design and delivery of social and affordable housing programs and have the flexibility to invest in a range of programs and initiatives that improve access to affordable housing that is sound, suitable and sustainable.
The new investment in affordable housing framework agreement with the provinces and territories continues until 2014.