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Ottawa to launch $6B infrastructure fund to help build homes — with strings attached

Darpan News Desk The Canadian Press, 02 Apr, 2024 09:56 AM
  • Ottawa to launch $6B infrastructure fund to help build homes — with strings attached

The upcoming federal budget will include a $6-billion infrastructure fund to support homebuilding as well as a $400 million top-up to the housing accelerator fund, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday.

Trudeau was in Dartmouth, N.S., alongside Housing Minister Sean Fraser as part of the government's pre-budget tour, which aims to drum up attention and win back support on cost-of-living issues.

"Building more homes faster — this is how we'll address the shortage of housing options for Canadians, and this is how we'll make it fairer for younger generations who feel like they're falling behind because housing costs are too high," Trudeau said.

The federal government said $1 billion would be directly available to cities for urgent infrastructure needs, while $5 billion would be allocated toward agreements with provinces and territories to support long-term priorities.

But the Liberals are attaching strings to the funding available for provinces and territories, noting the money will only flow if they commit to set of actions.

Those actions include adopting the recently announced renters' bill of rights, which would create a national standard lease agreement and require landlords to disclose previous rent prices.

The federal government is also demanding that provinces and territories freeze development charges for three years and require municipalities to broadly allow the construction of fourplexes.

The deadline to secure a deal will be Jan. 1, 2025 for provinces and April 1, 2025 for territories.

If a province or territory doesn't secure a deal by those deadlines, their funding will be transferred to the municipal stream of the infrastructure fund, the government said.

The upcoming budget will also add more funding to the existing housing accelerator fund.

The first $4-billion phase of the fund saw Ottawa striking deals with cities and offering money in exchange for changes to municipal bylaws and regulations that are supposed to boost homebuilding.

Liberals also say future public-transit funding will require municipalities to meet certain criteria, including eliminating all mandatory minimum parking requirements and allowing high-density housing within 800 metres of a high-frequency transit line.

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