Can Trudeau's plan make renting more affordable?

Liberals announce new funding as part of pre-budget housing push

Can Trudeau's plan make renting more affordable?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced a new $1.5 billion Canada Rental Protection Fund to support non-profit organizations acquiring and maintaining affordable rental units.

The fund, included in the upcoming federal budget, aims to address the loss of affordable housing to investors and rising rents.

It will allocate $1 billion in loans and $470 million in contributions to eligible organizations. Trudeau referenced an existing fund in British Columbia as a successful model.

“They recognize that for every new affordable rental home built in their province, four more are lost to investors, to conversions, to demolition, and to rent increases,” Trudeau said at a news conference in Winnipeg. “And this is happening in communities right across the country.”

The announcement is the latest in a broader strategy by the Liberal government to tackle housing affordability, an issue that has garnered increasing attention in recent months. With interest rates expected to decrease, concerns persist regarding the resilience of the housing market and the widening gap between supply and demand.

Advocates have called on the government to help non-profit groups purchase affordable units before selling them to investors.

However, the Conservative and NDP opposition have criticized the plan, with the Tories blaming the governing Liberals for the housing crisis and the NDP calling the new fund too small and late to have significant impact.

Read next: Affordable housing needs budget action - Habitat for Humanity Canada

A recent report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. warned that home prices could reach new peaks in 2024 and exceed those levels by 2026, despite an expected cooling in the market as the Bank of Canada cuts interest rates.

The government says funding for provinces and territories under the new programs will be subject to conditions, including adopting a renters’ bill of rights and allowing fourplexes on residential land.

Some provincial leaders, including those in Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, have criticized the federal government for encroaching on provincial jurisdiction with its housing policies.

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