April 16, 2003
For immediate release
Provincial/Territorial Ministers Address Issues of Affordable Housing
Health and Social Services
The Ministers expressed their support for additional federal funding for the Affordable Housing Initiative and renovation initiatives, including the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program, as announced in the recent federal budget. All Ministers agreed, however, that cost sharing should not be mandatory, given the existing financial challenges that the provinces and territories are experiencing, and the large and growing fiscal imbalance in Canada between the federal and provincial and territorial governments.
The Ministers emphasized that future successes rely heavily on the level of flexibility in implementing the initiatives. This flexibility is also paramount to ensure provinces and territories can address their specific housing needs and priorities, and will help them realize the goal of a long-term, sustainable supply of affordable housing in Canada. PT Ministers also acknowledged the need to address the unique challenges facing rural, remote and northern regions of Canada.
"The issue of per capita funding was discussed at length and Ministers recognized the challenges this arrangement places on small jurisdictions," said Jamie Ballem, Minister of Health and Social Services, Prince Edward Island. "Many of the Provincial and Territorial representatives agreed that work needs to be done to ensure all Canadians have equal access to programs, regardless of where they live."
Ministers noted that is it critical they have the opportunity to have full input into any program proposals and/or changes. They agreed on a set of principals (attached) to guide further investments in affordable housing throughout Canada.
During the meeting on Tuesday, which was chaired by the Honourable Drew Caldwell, Minister Responsible for the Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation, provincial and territorial ministers expressed support for further examining the implications of several taxation and other measures on housing supply, such as deferring capital gains and capital cost allowance on the sale of property when the proceeds are reinvested as affordable housing units.
Ministers will encourage the Federal government to work with them to review options to meet the housing needs of all jurisdictions. Ministers agreed on the need for a tax system that provides for a viable rental housing industry and encourages affordable home ownership options Ministers agreed to encourage Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to reinvest mortgage insurance fund surpluses into housing.
Today, provincial and territorial Ministers are meeting with Federal Ministers, Hon. David Collenette and Hon. Steve Mahoney, to continue to address these and other important housing matters.
PRINCIPLES FOR FURTHER FEDERAL INVESTMENT(S)IN HOUSING
- Provinces and Territories have primary responsibility for the design and delivery of housing programs/initiatives within their jurisdictions;
- Provinces and Territories require flexible funding and programs/initiatives to address their housing needs and priorities;
- New federal funding should support Provincial/Territorial (P/T) strategic planning and investments already made by P/T jurisdictions;
- New federal funding should make use of delivery capacity and infrastructure within P/T jurisdictions and not establish new federal administrative or bureaucratic infrastructure;
- New federal funding should be provided to Provinces and Territories as direct transfers and should not require Provinces and Territories to cost-match or cost-share, as many P/T jurisdictions would find a further cost-matching requirement difficult to achieve;
- New federal funding should address both urban and non-urban housing needs;
- New investments in housing should recognize that Federal/Provincial/Territorial (F/P/T) Ministers have committed to continue to examine long-term sustainable improvements to the business and tax climate for affordable housing for low to moderate income households;
- Funding for new housing programs/initiatives should be both sustainable and be complementary to P/T and F/P/T long-term affordable housing strategies; and
- Funding allocations should be based on P/T housing needs, and not solely a per capita formula.