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Trudeau reveals new $6 billion housing infrastructure initiative

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced a new $6 billion investment in housing infrastructure as part of the upcoming federal budget.

Mr. Trudeau announced the measures in Dartmouth, N.S., on April 2, saying his government intends to create a Canada Housing Infrastructure Fund, which will allocate $1 billion dollars to municipalities for urgent infrastructure needs and a further $5 billion for longer-term projects.

“Building more homes faster — this is how we‘ll address the shortage of housing options for Canadians, and this is how we’ll make it fairer for younger generations who feel like they’re falling behind because housing costs are too high,” Mr. Trudeau said.

The infrastructure fund aims to “accelerate the construction and upgrading of critical housing infrastructure,” said a government news release. “This includes water, wastewater, stormwater, and solid waste infrastructure to support the construction of more homes.”

Among the longer-term projects funded will be a push for municipalities to allow for the construction of more duplexes, triplexes and other homes the release referred to as “missing middle” homes that it says are both more dense and more affordable for buyers and renters. Provinces and territories must also commit to building such homes in order to access the funding along with agreeing to other key points.

The Liberals are attaching other strings to the funding available for provinces and territories, such as adopting the recently announced renters’ bill of rights, which would create a national standard lease agreement and require landlords to disclose previous rent prices.

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Other aspects include a three-year freeze on development charges from April 2 of this year and adopting new changes to the National Building Code of Canada that are meant to increase the number of affordable homes as well as give “climate-friendly” housing options.

The deadline to secure a deal will be Jan. 1, 2025 for provinces and April 1, 2025 for territories.

The upcoming budget will also add more funding to the existing housing accelerator fund.

Previous Announcements

The Renters’ Bill of Rights was announced by Mr. Trudeau last week during a press conference in Vancouver.

According to the prime minister, the bill of rights will allow renters to view the previous rental costs of units prior to their rental agreements so they can better negotiate with landlords and will also see a $15 million legal aid fund created to protect renters from abuse by landlords.

Housing has become a major priority ahead of the federal budget, which is set to be released on April 16. Canada’s housing crisis has largely stemmed from a lack of availability due to heavy demand, a lull in construction, and an increase in mortgage rates making housing less affordable.

According to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Canada will need to produce at least another 3.5 million homes by 2030 in order to meet demand for housing in the country.

CIBC has claimed that the real number of houses needed could be as high as nearly 6 million due to the fact the CMHC had used a population figure of around 38 million to create the estimate. Last week Canada’s population surpassed 41 million people and continues to grow largely due to immigration inflows.

The Canadian Press contributed to this report.

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