Remarks by the Deputy Prime Minister on building more co-op homes, faster


June 6, 2024 – Toronto, Ontario

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Charles Hastings Co-op, Toronto

Good afternoon everyone.

I am so happy to be here. I am happy to be here in Toronto. I’m happy to be here in the amazing community I have the privilege to represent as a Member of Parliament. And I am really happy to be here at the Charles Hastings Housing Co-op. This is a beautiful place, an amazing warm community that provides housing and truly a home to all of the 125 members who live here. This is a very special day for me and it is a special announcement for me.

Because my family is a co-op family. 

My late mother, together with one of my aunts, co-founded the Hromada Housing Co-op in Edmonton, where my aunt and uncle still live. And I want to say to all the wonderful people of Hromada Housing Co-op—Hromada means “community” in Ukrainian—and to all of the wonderful people of the Charles Hastings Co-op and all the wonderful co-op members across Canada, thank you so much. 

And thank you for the work you do to build such vibrant, warm, welcoming communities. 

Co-ops, of course, are about providing housing and providing affordable housing but they are so much more. They are also about building and creating true communities in which all the members take care of each other. And that’s what we’ve seen on our tour of this amazing co-op today. And it takes hard work. 

So truly, thank you very much to everyone across Canada who serves on the boards of their co-ops and works so hard to make them the vibrant welcoming communities that they are. 

We had the chance to see some of the ways that the Charles Hastings Co-op is truly a community today. And I am so glad that we are able today to make an announcement about further support from the government for co-ops. So we can have even more great communities like this one built across the country. 

Before I go into the details though, I want to highlight some good economic news, which is also good news for people who want to build new co-ops. And that is, that yesterday, the Bank of Canada lowered interest rates. A truly welcome moment for Canada and for Canadians.

Our government has an economically responsible plan. We have been working hard to create the economic conditions that would make it possible for the Bank to take this big step yesterday and lower rates. And that is why yesterday was such an important moment. 

We saw the fruit of all of our hard work. Canada, yesterday, was the first country in the G7 to lower interest rates and this is the first time that rates have moved down in more than four years.

I know how welcome the news is to everyone across the country, including people who want to build more co-ops. And I’ll talk about that in a minute. And this shows that our economic plan is working and delivering for Canadians. 

What I want to talk about today is our plan to make housing more affordable for every generation of Canadians, including Millennials and Gen Z.

Our recent budget is about fairness for every generation. It’s about making Canada work better for everyone.

That is why we are moving with purpose to build nearly 4 million more homes.

We are reducing the cost of living and fostering the kind of economic growth that will ensure every generation of Canadians can reach their full potential and build a good life in the middle class.

One of the biggest pressures facing Canadians right now is housing. And we know that this is especially true for younger Canadians. Faced with a shortage of housing options—high rent, high home prices—many younger Canadians feel that the dream of homeownership is just that—a dream.

Our government is changing that. We won’t leave you behind.

Our April budget launched a no-holds-barred plan to wrestle down the costs of housing or renting a home.

We are doing that by investing in supply, supply, supply—because we know Canada needs more homes and Canada needs more affordable homes.

We are investing billions of dollars to support affordable housing providers, to repair existing affordable homes, and to build new ones, through programs such as the $15 billion Affordable Housing Fund.

Today’s announcement builds on that important work.

So, today we are launching a new $1.5 billion Co-operative Housing Development Program to build a new generation of co-op housing across Canada.

The Program will provide loans and contributions to help build new co-ops like this beautiful community to maintain co-op housing.

This is the largest investment in co-op housing in the last three decades, and will fund thousands of new co-op units by 2028.

This is important and necessary.

And it builds up on other measures put in place by our government since 2015.

We are also supporting renters. They are facing skyrocketing rents, renovictions, unfair competition, and a lack of housing options. This is why we are launching a new $15 million Tenant Protection Fund, to provide funding to legal aid and tenants’ rights advocacy organizations.

We are creating a new Canadian Renters’ Bill of Rights that will (1) require landlords to disclose a clear history of apartment pricing so renters can bargain fairly and (2) would also crack down on renovictions.

And we are making sure renters get credit for on-time rent payments. Which is why we’re going to amend the Canadian Mortgage Charter and call on landlords, banks, credit bureaus, and fintech companies to make sure that rental history is taken into account in your credit score.

And for those who want to own a home, we are making it easier to save for a downpayment. We know it is one of the biggest hurdles to homeownership.

Last year, we launched the Tax-Free First Home Savings Account, to help you save up to $40,000 tax-free towards your first home. It’s tax-free in, and tax-free out, and more than 750,000 Canadians have already signed up.

At the same time we are increasing the amount of your RRSP you can put towards a downpayment, with a new Home Buyers’ Plan limit of $60,000.

Our plan for fairness is about unlocking the door to the middle class for millions of younger Canadians.

It is a plan to build a Canada that works better for you, where you can get ahead, where your hard work pays off—and where you can realize the promise of our country and get a fair chance at a middle class life.

And it is a plan to build more wonderful co-ops that provide affordable housing. And above all, are a place where people can build a wonderful community, like this terrific co-op that we’re at today. 

So, I’m really glad that we’re able to make this announcement. I would like to thank everyone at the Charles Hastings Co-op for welcoming us here so warmly, for working so hard to build this community and for being so enthusiastic about talking to Canadians about it. 

Thank you very much.

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