Mr. Speaker, it is great today to speak to Bill C-97, the budget implementation act, which introduces many of the measures we have brought forward un budget 2019. This goes to our central value of continuing to strengthen the middle class and help those working hard to join it in our great and beautiful country, Canada.
I am proud to be the member of Parliament for Vaughan—Woodbridge, a riding that is very entrepreneurial and a riding in which I have the benefit of raising my two daughters. It is also a riding that when I knock on people's doors, I hear plenty of feedback. My residents are doing well. They are working hard. They are creating a better future for them and their families, which is great to see. We are all here in the House to ensure that Canadians and their families have a better future. That has been a central tenet of our government.
It is my pleasure to rise today to speak about the government's next step in its plan to invest in the middle class and grow the economy.
Recently, our government tabled Bill C-97, the budget implementation act, which announced a number of new initiatives, including measures to make it more affordable for Canadians to rent or buy a home.
I mentioned the word affordable. I hear this a lot, and it is something our government is acting on, and has acted on. Today, the OECD announced that Canadians faced one of the lowest tax burdens among all of the OECD members. That is due to our middle-class tax cut, the Canada child benefit, the 10% increase in the guaranteed income supplement and a number of measures that we have adopted which help Canadians and Canadian families.
Canadians now face one of the lowest tax bases among all OECD countries. We should be proud of that. We need to applaud that and move forward on it. This includes lifting 820,000 Canadians out of poverty and lifting 300,000 children out of poverty. We should be proud of that as well.
Something that is near and dear to the residents of York region and across Canada is housing affordability. Housing affordability and market stability are issues that concern many middle-class families and they are issues that this government takes seriously.
Everyone needs a safe and affordable place to call home, but today too many Canadians are being priced out of the housing market. For 10 years, Conservative politicians, like Stephen Harper and the hon. opposition leader, did nothing to address housing affordability, pushing home ownership further out of the reach of hard-working middle-class Canadians and putting household debt on the rise.
With budget 2019 and through Bill C-97, the BIA, our government is making smart significant investments to help Canadians find an affordable place to call home. One of our responsibilities as a government is to support a healthy, competitive and stable housing market, one in which all middle-class families and first-time home buyers specifically have the possibility to buy their first home without having to take on excessive risk.
This is why our government, to date, has taken a wide array of actions to improve housing affordability. To help more young families take their first steps toward home ownership, our government is announcing targeted support to first-time homebuyers across the country in this budget and implemented through Bill C-97.
Through Bill C-97, we are introducing a first-time homebuyer incentive, a new program that will make home ownership more affordable for first-time buyers by allowing them to lower their monthly mortgage payments. The first-time homebuyer incentive will give eligible first-time homebuyers the option to finance a portion of their home directly with Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation. The program would provide up to $1.25 billion in shared equity mortgages to eligible borrowers over the next three years. The program would mean more a more affordable down payment, as well as more manageable mortgage payments.
Also, we are proposing to provide first-time homebuyers with greater access to their registered retirement savings plan to buy a home. Budget 2019 proposes to increase the home buyers' plan withdrawal limit to $35,000 from the current limit of $25,000. In a two-income family, that could mean up to $70,000 could be withdrawn from an RRSP to purchase a first home. This means more equity in a home, lower mortgage amounts and lower debt for Canadian families. I believe that is a smart investment and a smart policy tool that our government put in place.
This change will help first-time homebuyers achieve their dream of purchasing their very own home. When Canadians can take pride in the place that they hang their hats at the end of the day, they feel better about their community and their country.
In 2017, our government also launched the national housing strategy. It is the first of its kind in Canada, and it provides a range of new tools and programming to build, repair and renew Canada's stock of community and affordable housing. The strategy will create 100,000 new housing units and repair and renew 300,000 units. Simply put, Canada's national housing strategy is a $40-billion 10-year plan to help Canadians across the country access housing that meets their needs and that they can afford.
Most importantly, we need to ensure that Canadians have a safe, secure place and affordable place to call home so they can raise their families and have a brighter future for themselves and their children and grandchildren. As part of this strategy, our government also launched a $13.2-billion national housing co-investment fund that will assist vulnerable Canadians in accessing affordable housing. That includes survivors leaving violence, seniors, indigenous people, new immigrants and people with disabilities.
Through the national housing strategy, more Canadians will a have a safe and affordable place to call home, including in my riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge, where currently we have under construction an affordable development in which 162 units will be offered to individuals who need assistance. That is what Canada is about: helping those who need assistance and ensuring that we all have opportunities to succeed.
I am happy to say that Canadians have created over 900,000 jobs over the last few years. We have set the conditions for foreign direct investment and for domestic investment, which is at elevated levels. We are recovering from the oil crisis three years ago, and we see investments across the country, particularly here in Ontario.
In my riding, manufacturing firms are continuing to expand and are continuing to hire. When I visit these firms and enterprises, the biggest issue they have is that they cannot find enough labour. There are currently 540,000 job postings unfilled, according to Statistics Canada. That reflects the robustness of our job market and also demographics. People are retiring, and we need to replace them through a robust and secure immigration system.
Through the national housing strategy, more Canadians will have a safe and affordable place to call home. In fact, these measures are expected to lift 530,000 Canadians out of housing need. It will lift 825,000 Canadians out of poverty, which I think we need to talk about, because that is how we create a better Canada for all Canadians. It will help reduce chronic homelessness by half over the next 10 years.
I am proud to say that budget 2019 would build on these actions, helping more middle-class Canadians realize their dream of owning a home. To start, budget 2019 proposes to further expand the rental construction financing initiative with an additional $10 billion in financing over the next nine years. I am happy to report that this program is oversubscribed by individuals and developers building new rental construction.
We have not seen a lot of new rental construction over the last few years. In Canada, the housing market is a continuum, and we need a greater supply of rental housing, and through this program, we are getting it. The program will help build thousands of new units across Canada, with a particular focus on areas of low rental supply.
In recognition of barriers to developing new housing, budget 2019 also proposes a $300-million housing supply challenge. Through this challenge, the government will invite municipalities and other groups to propose new ways to break down the barriers that limit the creation of new housing. Those ideas will be added to our consultations on how we can best increase the housing supply.
To that point, budget 2019 proposes support for the recently announced expert panel on the future of housing supply and affordability, launched in partnership with the Province of British Columbia. The panel will be tasked with examining factors that limit housing availability and will be recommending actions governments can take to build better, more affordable and more inclusive communities.
Finally, to ensure that future investments in the housing supply are put to their best use possible, budget 2019, through Bill C-97, proposes that CMHC invest $5 million over two years in state-of-the-art modelling of housing supply and related data collection. That is what our government is doing on the supply side, because we know that greater supply is important in reducing costs.
Budget 2019 is also making the housing market more fair and more affordable for Canadians. After all, for many families, their homes are their most important assets, so ensuring a healthy, competitive and stable housing market for all is a priority for our government.