Trudeau announces $6 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund

Apr 4, 2024 | Canadian News, News

The federal government announced a new $6 billion Canada Housing Infrastructure Fund on Tuesday, April 2.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the new key measures from the upcoming 2024 budget which will be directed towards critical utilities infrastructure projects, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a news release.

The Canada Housing Infrastructure Fund would accelerate the construction and upgrading of critical housing infrastructure including water, wastewater, stormwater, and solid waste piping to support the construction of more homes, the PM office said.

In a statement, Trudeau said Canada needs more affordable homes along with the infrastructure to help build these homes.

“That’s why in Budget 2024, we’re building more infrastructure, building more homes, and helping more Canadians find a place to call their own. This is about fairness, making sure communities have the safe, quality housing they need to get ahead,” Trudeau said.

The PMO said out of the total $6 billion, $1 billion will be provided to municipalities to support urgent infrastructure needs that will directly create more housing. The remaining $5 billion is set for agreements with provinces and territories to support long-term priorities, the PMO said.

However, the provinces and territories can only access the fund after they make specific commitments such as allowing more double-storeys, triplexes, townhouses and multi-unit buildings, the PMO said.

Other requirements also include imposing a three-year freeze on development charges for cities with a population of more than 300,000.

The federal government has given the provinces until Jan. 1, 2025, to secure an agreement under the Canada Housing Infrastructure Fund while the territories have until April 1, 2025, to do the same.

“If a province or territory does not secure an agreement by their respective deadline, their funding allocation will be transferred to the municipal stream, the federal government will work with territorial governments to ensure the actions in their agreements are suitable to their distinct needs,” the PMO said.

In a media briefing following Trudeau’s announcement in Dartmouth, N.S., Housing Minister Sean Fraser said the money will not be released all at once. He said the first $1 billion will be for projects that are “shovel-ready.”

“When it comes to the additional $5 billion, that is going to be spread out over a longer period of time and the exact flow of money will be subject to negotiations with our provincial and territorial partners,” he said.

Following the federal government’s announcement, the Conservative Party of Canada said it was “yet another housing photo-op” for Trudeau.

“After eight years of Justin Trudeau, Canadians are living through a housing hell,” the Conservative release said. “The cost of rent and a downpayment has doubled. Before Trudeau, it used to take 25 years to pay off a mortgage, now it takes 25 years just to save up for a downpayment.”

The opposition party cited the Royal Bank of Canada’s report on housing affordability which states a household earning a median pre-tax income needed to spend another 63.5 per cent of it to cover the costs of owning an average home at market price.

“That’s up from 61.8 per cent in the third quarter. In 2015, the same measure was 39.3 per cent,” the Conservative party said.