Attorney General of Canada Arif Virani, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Housing Peter Fragiskatos, and Treasury Board of Canada President Anita Anand stand in front of YOU's affordable housing project Joan's Place in downtown London, April 2, 2024. (Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn Media)Attorney General of Canada Arif Virani, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Housing Peter Fragiskatos, and Treasury Board of Canada President Anita Anand stand in front of YOU's affordable housing project Joan's Place in downtown London, April 2, 2024. (Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn Media)
London

Feds announce more funding for housing infrastructure

The federal government is launching a new $6 billion infrastructure fund to accelerate the construction and upgrading of critical housing infrastructure.

Liberal Minister Anita Anand and Justice Minister Arif Virani made the announcement at Youth Opportunities Unlimited in London on Tuesday.

Along with launching the Canada Housing Infrastructure Fund, the pair announced a $400 million top-up to the Federal Housing Accelerator Fund, as part of the upcoming 2024 budget.

The government claims the $400 million top-up will fast-track an additional 12,000 new homes in the next three years.

The Infrastructure Fund will have $1 billion available for municipalities to support urgent infrastructure needs including water, wastewater, stormwater, and solid waste infrastructure.

The additional $5 billion will be available for provincial governments, but only those that commit to key actions that increase housing supply. That includes having provinces adopt fourplexes "as-of-right," something Ontario Premier Doug Ford has stood firmly against.

"The lesson there is that we are putting money on the table that will get spent on housing. We want to work diligently with provinces and territories," said Virani. "Following what happened last week, Minister (Sean) Fraser is writing to Premier Ford and his housing counterparts, saying there's $375 million on the table that we aren't releasing to you yet, because you haven't shown the type of ambition of cities like London, like the Mayor I'm standing next to."

Provinces will have until January 1, 2025, to secure an agreement, and territories will have until April 1, 2025. If an agreement isn't secured by their respective deadline, that funding allocation will be transferred to the municipal stream.

London Mayor Josh Morgan said the federal funds the city have already received have made a big difference

"You made this transformative investment, you're committing more money and I can tell you a city like London, is fully committed to this," he said. "Not only are we on the verge of announcing a committee soon our housing supply action plan which was developed in consolation with the development community and not-for-profits, but, we have for the first time I think ever, seen 20 high-density cranes in the sky in the city limit right now. There are 7100 high density units under construction in one phase or another... we cannot build the next 7100 units without the investments you're talking about today."

The Infrastructure Fund will also require implementing a three-year freeze on increasing development charges in municipalities with population over 300,000.

The federal budget will be tabled in the House of Commons on Tuesday, April 16.

-with files from Miranda Chant

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