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

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that billions of taxpayer dollars have been earmarked for new housing initiatives. Glen McGregor, explains how the money will be put to work.

By The Canadian Press

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says 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.

Trudeau is in Halifax 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.

“We need more affordable homes, and we need the infrastructure to help build these homes,” said Prime Minister Trudeau.

“That’s why in Budget 2024, we’re building more infrastructure, building more homes, and helping more Canadians find a place to call their own. This is about fairness — making sure communities have the safe, quality housing they need to get ahead.”

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

However, the Liberal government is attaching strings to the funding available for provinces and territories, noting the money will only flow if they commit to a series of actions.

They 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.

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.

Canadian provinces will have until Jan. 1, 2025, to secure an agreement, and territories will have until April 1, 2025. If a province or territory does not secure an agreement by their respective deadline, their funding allocation will be transferred to the municipal stream. 

With files from Lucas Casaletto of CityNews

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