Last week, as the latest step towards addressing the country’s housing crisis, Canada’s Department of Finance announced a new federal investment of $1.2 billion to building new rental homes in Toronto.
This money will be “provided as fully repayable low-interest loans through the Rental Construction Financing Initiative [RCFI]” and spread between “seven new projects in Toronto”, according to the November 14 press release.
The announcement, made jointly by Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland and Attorney General/Minister of Justice Arif Virani, says the money will help build 2,644 new rental homes in the city.
Note: Ontario, the province that houses the city of Toronto, is Canada’s largest immigrant destination among all provinces and territories across the country. Toronto is the largest city in Ontario, making this announcement an impactful one for newcomers to Canada. More on the impact of this announcement (and others in recent months and years) on newcomers will follow later in this article.
As articulated in the press release, the government understands the value of providing rental housing options to Canadians, indicating that Canada’s RCFI “is on track to create more than 71,000 new rental housing units across Canada by 2027-28.”
“Increasing the overall supply of rental housing is crucial to creating stronger and more vibrant communities that Canadians can feel proud to call home.”
This represents the latest initiative in a growing list of efforts from all levels of the Canadian government to rectify the housing availability and affordability crises that are currently plaguing Canadians all over the country.
The following will recap some of Canada’s other efforts to face and fix this problem across the country.
Canada’s other efforts to improve the country’s housing crisis
On November 1 this year, the Ontario government announced that it would be removing “the full provincial amount of Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) on “new purpose-built rental housing such as apartment buildings, student housing and senior residences built specifically for long-term rental accommodation.”
Note: To be eligible for what is being termed an “enhanced rebate” from the Government of Ontario, residential construction projects in the province must meet certain criteria, including having begun “construction between September 14, 2023, and December 31, 2030 [while completing] construction by December 31, 2035.”
Click here to learn more about this HST-based initiative in Ontario.
In addition, the press release that announced last week’s rental housing investment in Toronto also included a list of other initiatives from the federal government “to build more homes … and make homes more affordable for Canadians.”
Included in that list is the following:
- The Affordable Housing and Groceries Act, which would remove the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on new rental housing
- The $4 billion Housing Accelerator Fund
- A two-year ban on non-resident, non-Canadians purchasing a residential property “to … ensure that houses are used as homes for Canadians to live in, rather than as financial assets for foreign investors”
- Doubling the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit to provide up to $1,500 in direct support to home buyers
- Launching a third round of the Rapid Housing Initiative, “providing $1.5 billion to create 5,200 new affordable housing units for Canadians in severe housing need”
- “Delivering a top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit in December 2022, which provided low-income renters with a $500 payment to help with the cost of housing”
What this means for newcomers to Canada
Specific to Ontario, the top newcomer destination among all Canadian provinces and territories, these recent developments represent important steps being taken toward ensuring that all newcomers to this country – including permanent residents, international students, and foreign workers – can integrate comfortably into Canadian society.
Undoubtedly, housing is a significant part of comfortable living in Canada because having access to a residential property to call home can make it a lot easier to raise a family and apply more focus and energy toward one’s education or career as a new temporary or permanent resident in this country.
Further, both in Ontario and across Canada, it is typical for new Canadians to rent rather than buy a home when they first arrive here.
Therefore, announcements and initiatives such as the recent one made by Ontario’s Deputy Prime Minister, or the Affordable Housing and Groceries Act (see above), showcase that Canadian newcomers are being strongly considered as Canada works toward solving the country’s housing crises.