Mr. Speaker, of course, the minister is telling the truth. I welcome the opportunity to respond to the hon. member for Hochelaga.
Ensuring that low-income families and other vulnerable Canadians have access to affordable housing is a matter of great importance to the government. That is why we have made unprecedented investments in housing over the past nine years. Working with our partners, some 940,000 individuals and families have benefited from these investments. This includes those living in existing social housing units.
Through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, our government has invested almost $19 billion in housing since 2006, and we will be continuing this important work. This year, CMHC is providing approximately $2 billion in housing investments on behalf of the Government of Canada. It is funding that includes support for nearly 600,000 Canadian households living in existing social housing, including on reserve.
We have also ensured the continuation of federal funding for housing programs through the investment in affordable housing initiative, a collaborative effort with the provinces and territories to reduce the number of Canadians in housing need. This initiative was launched by our government in 2011 and has been renewed until 2019, with total funding of close to $2 billion over eight years.
The hon. member will be pleased to know that one of the ways the provinces and territories can use this federal funding under the investment in affordable housing initiative is to support projects after the long-term housing agreements with CMHC have matured. That is their choice.
As I have said on previous occasions, the majority of non-profit and co-operative housing projects are expected to be financially viable and mortgage-free when these agreements mature. For projects that may face financial difficulties when the federal subsidies end, CMHC is taking action to help them prepare for the end of their ongoing operating agreements. For example, in 2013, CMHC changed its lending program to allow non-profit co-operative housing groups to prepay closed CMHC mortgages with a penalty that is consistent with private lending institutions.
In addition, social housing providers whose operating agreements allow for the establishment of a subsidy surplus fund can now retain any money they have in this fund and use it after the operating agreements mature to continue to lower the cost of housing for households living in existing social housing. These are changes that support exactly what the member opposite is talking about.
Building on the prepayment flexibility announced in 2013, economic action plan 2015 proposes further support for social housing providers by allowing them to prepay their long-term non-renewable mortgages without any penalty at all. This will enable eligible social housing providers to access private sector loans with more favourable interest rates, significantly reducing their mortgage expenses. Lower mortgage expenses will help housing providers undertake capital repairs and renovations to help them improve the condition and quality of the affordable housing units.
I would also like to remind the hon. member that Canada's economic action plan 2009 included an investment of $1 billion to protect and revitalize the existing social housing stock off reserve. This funding supported the renovation and retrofit of more than 12,600 social housing projects across Canada, ensuring that these homes will continue to be available for years to come.