Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Ottawa's economic statement leaves BC wanting on housing

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British Columbia Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon would have liked to see Ottawa invest in non-profits to respond to the crisis housing. He believes that the province cannot depend only on the private sector.

  • Amélia MachHour (View profile)Amélia MachHour

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The economic statement from the federal Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland, disappoints British Columbia since it will be necessary to wait two years before accessing the funds dedicated to two measures on rental and social housing.

The province's Housing Minister, Ravi Kahlon, like his Finance colleague, Katrine Conroy, shared their concerns about the timetable presented by Ottawa for the financing of these two measures , impatiently awaited.

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Federal Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister, Chrystia Freeland, presented his economic update to the House of Commons.

First, Ottawa announced an additional $15 billion in its loan program for the construction of rental apartments. Then, the federal government will release an additional billion dollars over three years for the construction of housing for vulnerable people.

The provinces, however, will not have access only in 2025-2026.

We need housing now. It's good to see such an investment coming in 2025-2026, but if we had access to it right now, it would help us considerably.

A quote from Katrine Conroy, Minister of Finance

In recent weeks, Prime Minister David Eby, like Ravi Kahlon, has not hidden his disappointment at the slowness of the federal government on the housing crisis.

To the point where British Columbia itself began to finance the construction of social housing on indigenous lands, such as those of the Tsawout First Nation, on the x27;Vancouver Island. It is a responsibility that falls to Ottawa.

We are the only one province to do so. We are tired of waiting for the federal government, but now it must invest massively.

A quote from Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing

The Minister of Housing says he is ready to fight for the envelopes presented in the economic statement, emphasizing the work of BC Housing and saying the province is full of projects and partners.

Ravi Kahlon would also have liked to see in Chrystia Freeland's document an announcement on the federal government's surplus land being used to build new housing. Ottawa promises to build nearly 30,000 homes by 2029 on its land, but so far no location has been identified in British Columbia.

The Minister of Housing, however, welcomes the new restrictions affecting short-term rentals like Airbnb which, he says, support the work of British Columbia.

The province adopted its own law on October 26 to restrict the definition of a short rental and its use. Starting in 2024, the federal government will deny tax deductions for expenses associated with activities aimed at earning income from short-term rentals.

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