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Government announces new action to make rent and groceries more affordable

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Today, as part of Canada's economic plan, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, announced the federal government is taking new action to deliver rent support to low-income renters, open more emergency shelter spaces in cities across the country, and crack down on corporate greed to make groceries more affordable.

First, the Deputy Prime Minister announced a $99 million national top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit, which helps to make rent more affordable by delivering rent support payments directly to Canadians. This top-up brings the federal government’s contribution through the Canada Housing Benefit to $325 million in 2023-24, which will flow directly to low-income renters through provincial and territorial rent support programs. By 2027-28, the Canada Housing Benefit will have helped to make rent more affordable for over 300,000 low-income households.

Second, the Deputy Prime Minister highlighted the federal government is providing $100 million in emergency winter funding to enable 85 communities across the country to provide more shelter spaces for people experiencing homelessness. As announced in December, this investment through Reaching Home will help shelters to expand their spaces, offer temporary rental assistance, and provide more warming spaces and meals to those who need it most.

These announcements build on last week’s $362.4 million national top-up to the Interim Housing Assistance Program (IHAP), which is providing communities across the country with the resources needed to shelter vulnerable asylum seekers, who come to Canada for protection from violence, war, and persecution.

To help make groceries and other essentials more affordable, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, has tripled federal funding for Canada’s Contributions Program for Non-profit Consumer and Voluntary Organizations to $5 million per year. Today, Minister Champagne is announcing new projects, in partnership with consumer advocacy groups, to investigate and reveal price inflation and harmful business practices, such as shrinkflation and skimpflation in the grocery sector, as well as other forms of corporate greed that have increased the prices Canadians pay for everyday goods.

Today’s actions to make life more affordable and support those who need it most are just a few examples of how the federal government is fighting for Canadians everyday, as it delivers its economic plan to build an economy that works for everyone.

Quotes

“Our government is fighting for Canadians everyday—and our economic plan is building an economy that works for everyone. Today, we are delivering more rent support to low-income Canadians, providing more shelter spaces to those who need it most, and fighting corporate greed to deliver lower prices for Canadians.”

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

“Consumer advocacy organizations are key to protecting consumer rights. With today’s announcement, we are supporting organizations that will provide insight on harmful practices, with the goal to provide Canadians with tools to access high quality and affordable food. By developing better consumer advocacy and research, we will hold the grocers and manufacturers more accountable and deliver for Canadians.”

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“No person should ever have to experience homelessness or struggle to pay their rent. With today’s announcement of additional rental assistance directly to households and support for our shelters through Reaching Home, we are helping to meet the needs of the most vulnerable Canadians, improving access to services, and supporting safe, stable, and affordable housing.”

The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities

Quick Facts

  • The Canada Housing Benefit, co-developed with provinces and territories, is jointly funded with $4.8 billion over eight years to provide direct financial support to Canadians who are experiencing housing need, including $630 million dedicated to those facing gender-based violence. This benefit helps low-income Canadians with the cost of housing by delivering direct rent support.
  • Early last year, the federal government also directly issued over 800,000 tax-free $500 payments through a one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit, which provided rent support to families earning under $35,000 and individuals earning under $20,000 whose rent was at least 30 per cent of their income.
  • Since 2017, the federal government has provided provinces and municipalities with almost $750 million through the Interim Housing Assistance Program (IHAP) to alleviate extraordinary interim housing pressures resulting from increased volumes of asylum claimants.
  • The Contributions Program for Non-profit Consumer and Voluntary Organizations supports consumer advocacy organizations to produce high-quality, independent, and timely research. Newly funded projects announced today include:
    • The Public Interest Advocacy Centre will investigate food pricing policy and regulatory challenges, such as shrinkflation and grocery pricing, and competition concerns;
    • Union des consommateurs will bring together 100 experts from across Canada to discuss solutions to the most pressing challenges Canadian consumers are facing;
    • Food Secure Canada will investigate retail practices that negatively impact consumers, such as shrinkflation and skimpflation in the grocery sector;
    • Option consommateurs will conduct research to help consumers identify and protect themselves from potentially unfavorable sales practices;
    • Équiterre will highlight innovative solutions that provide consumers access to affordable, healthy, and sustainable food; and,
    • The Consumers Council of Canada will conduct research on food fraud, per unit pricing, price scanner accuracy, and shrinkflation and skimpflation.
  • Canada’s economic plan, including recent investments in the 2023 Fall Economic Statement, is building more homes, faster, and making housing more affordable for Canadians. This plan includes:
    • The Affordable Housing and Groceries Act, which removed the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on new rental housing;
    • Over $40 billion through the Apartment Construction Loan Program, which is providing low-cost financing to support more than 101,000 new rental homes across Canada by 2031-32;
    • Over $14 billion through the Affordable Housing Fund to build 60,000 new affordable homes and repair 240,000 homes;
    • The $4 billion Housing Accelerator Fund, which is incentivizing municipalities to make transformative changes by removing zoning barriers and ramping up housing construction. The Housing Accelerator Fund is already fast-tracking the construction of at least 100,000 homes over the next three years, and more than 500,000 homes across Canada over the next decade;
    • $4 billion through the Rapid Housing Initiative, which is expected to help build more than 15,500 affordable homes for people experiencing homelessness or in severe housing need;
    • Over $200 million through the Federal Lands Initiative to build 4,500 new homes by repurposing surplus federal lands and buildings to housing providers at low or no cost;
    • Unlocking $20 billion in new financing to build 30,000 more rental apartments per year by increasing the annual limit for Canada Mortgage Bonds from $40 billion to up to $60 billion;
    • The Canadian Mortgage Charter, which details the tailored mortgage relief that the government expects banks to provide borrowers who are facing financial difficulty with the mortgage on their principal residence;
    • The new Tax-Free First Home Savings Account, which is a registered savings account that allows Canadians to contribute up to $8,000 per year (up to a lifetime limit of $40,000) for their first down payment; and,
    • Nearly $4 billion towards ending chronic homelessness, through Reaching Home, Canada’s Homelessness Strategy.

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