Making Housing More Affordable: One-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit program
For many Canadians, it is becoming increasingly challenging to find a safe and affordable place to call home, and the high cost of living is making affordable housing even less attainable for the most vulnerable Canadians.
Affordability support for low-income renters
The proposed one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit program would consist of a tax-free payment of $500 to provide direct support to low-income renters—those most exposed to inflation—who are experiencing housing affordability challenges.
The payment would be launched by the end of the year, pending Parliamentary approval and Royal Assent of enabling legislation.
The federal benefit would be available to renters with adjusted net incomes below $35,000 for families, or $20,000 for individuals, and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) would deliver the money through an attestation-based application process.
In order to determine eligibility, the CRA would proceed with an up-front verification of the applicant's income, age and residency for tax purposes. Applicants would need to have filed their 2021 tax return and provide information and attest that they:
- Are paying at least 30 per cent of their adjusted net income on shelter;
- Are paying rent for their own primary residence in Canada, which would include the address of the rental property, the amount of the rent paid in 2022, and the landlord’s contact information; and
- Consent to the Canada Revenue Agency verifying their information to confirm eligibility.
It is estimated that 1.8 million low-income renters, including students, who are struggling with the cost of housing would be eligible for this new support. The proposed funding totals $1.2 billion, of which $475 million was committed in Budget 2022.
The one-time top-up would not reduce other federal income-tested benefits, such as the Canada Workers Benefit, the Canada Child Benefit, the Goods and Services Tax Credit, and the Guaranteed Income Supplement.
The top-up is part of the government’s plan to make housing more affordable for Canadians. This plan also includes measures to put Canada on the path to double housing construction over the next decade, help Canadians save for and buy their first home, and ban foreign ownership and curb speculation that both make housing more expensive for Canadians.
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