Mr. Speaker, let me say how thrilled and pleased I am to stand here in the House and speak to budget 2017. It is a budget that gives much hope and promise for middle-class Canadians.
Let me digress and go back to when I started to run in the past election and started going door to door in communities, going from neighbourhood to neighbourhood. I started in one of our priority neighbourhoods, Crescent Valley. The work that is being done in Crescent Valley is absolutely magnificent. The Crescent Valley association, led by Anne Driscoll, is doing a fantastic job.
One thing that was loud and clear to me going door to door in Crescent Valley was that the housing needed upgrading and rebuilding and in many instances a total overhaul. The families were and are living in conditions that certainly needed to be upgraded. There were many people who talked to me about their current situations. I went back and talked to non-profit organizations in Saint John and surrounding areas, and there was concern that a lot of the operating agreements with the housing co-ops were expiring and there was uncertainty in the future.
First and foremost with respect to housing, I want to commend and compliment people in my riding and in my region who are doing outstanding work on housing and helping those who need affordable housing to attain it. They include people like Kit Hickey, Randy Hatfield, Narinder Singh, Brian Marks, and many others who are working tirelessly every day to help those who are looking for housing in my riding.
I am not proud to stand here today and talk about the fact that there are 1,300 people from my riding on a wait-list for affordable housing. That is not acceptable, so I am absolutely delighted to speak in support of budget 2017. I am excited about the commitment of $11.2 billion for a national housing strategy for our country. This is something that I advocated for and something we have worked tirelessly toward. I am a proud member of the HUMA committee, which has just finished travelling from coast to coast to coast. Certainly one thing that was very evident travelling across this country was the need for affordable housing, and the fact that as a country we need a national housing strategy.
Our government signalled its intention to re-establish a federal leadership role in housing in budget 2016. As hon. members will recall, in addition to the existing baseline annual funding of over $2 billion, our first budget included funding of $2.3 billion over two years to address urgent housing needs across this country. This included a doubling of the investment in affordable housing, as well as targeted funding to improve housing for seniors and low-income households, northerners, indigenous people, and those fleeing situations of domestic violence. I am proud to say that this funding has already benefited more than 58,000 households across Canada. That is significant and transformational.
Budget 2016 also provided funding for low-cost loans and new financing tools to encourage municipalities, housing developers, and non-profit housing providers to develop more affordable rental housing units. This funding will significantly expand the stock of affordable rental housing in Canada.
I want to mention that I will be splitting my time with the member for Brampton South.
We made it clear a year ago that these investments were only a first step as we took the time needed to develop a new, inclusive national housing strategy to help guide the way forward.
Budget 2017, I am thrilled to say, affirms this. Let me be clear. This is the largest single spending commitment in our budget. It is historic, and it will be transformational for many, many families across our country.
To be formally launched later this year, the national housing strategy would provide a road map for governments and housing providers across the country, as well as focused support for those who need it the most, those living in poverty.
In the coming weeks and months, we will be meeting with provinces and territories, housing stakeholders, and indigenous leaders to discuss how we can best work together to ensure a coordinated and truly national strategy. This is key and is of utmost importance.
The strategy would be delivered by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation through a number of initiatives, which I would like to highlight for hon. members. Let me begin with our commitment to a renewed housing partnership with the provinces and territories.
Our government recognizes that housing needs vary across the country, and we are committed to working with provinces and territories to ensure that the unique needs of all communities are met. These priorities may include the construction of new affordable housing units, the renovation and repair of existing housing, rent subsidies and other measures to make housing more affordable, and initiatives to support safe independent living for seniors and persons with disabilities.
The national housing strategy would also include a new housing fund to address critical housing issues and prioritize support for vulnerable citizens, including seniors, indigenous peoples, victims of domestic violence, persons with disabilities, those dealing with mental health and addiction issues, and veterans. Administered by CMHC, the fund would receive $5 billion in federal funding over the next 11 years. It signals the government's renewed role, finally, in a housing policy for our country. Further details will be announced when the national housing strategy is launched later this year, but it includes a new co-investment fund to encourage greater collaboration and investment among diverse partners to prioritize large-scale community renewal projects.
It would also support innovative approaches to housing development and a strong, sustainable affordable housing sector. CMHC' s direct lending activities would be expanded to include low-cost loans for renewal of social and affordable housing. This is in addition to the budget 2016 lending program I mentioned earlier, which will support construction of new rental units.
In addition to these new investments of $11.2 billion, the government is also preserving baseline funding related to the expiry of long-term social housing operating agreements. The use and renewal of these funds will be determined over the next year.
Hon. members who represent northern ridings will know that the housing challenges in that region are unique and complex. Budget 2017 proposes to invest $300 million, starting in 2018-19, to provide stable and predictable funding to the territorial governments, to help offset the higher cost of construction, and improve housing conditions across the north.
Budget 2017 also includes an additional $4 billion over 10 years, starting in 2018-19, to build and improve housing, water treatment systems, health facilities, and other community infrastructure in indigenous communities. This builds on the $554 million provided in last year's budget to address urgent housing needs on reserve and the more than $10 million we are investing in new shelters for first nations families affected by domestic violence. We will be working with first nations, Inuit, and Métis partners in the coming months to determine how the budget 2017 funding will be allocated.
Finally, budget 2017 includes a proposed investment of $241 million through the national housing strategy to help CMHC improve housing data collection and analytics, expand housing research, and strengthen our ability to make informed policy decisions. Long-term funding would also be provided to Statistics Canada to develop and implement a new housing statistics framework.
I have talked primarily about the proposed investments in budget 2017 that relate specifically to the national housing strategy. It is key and critical for my riding to have this national housing strategy. I was proud to travel the country from coast to coast to coast to help in implementing this. I am proud to stand today and say that our government is actually backing a national housing strategy which will be good for all Canadians.