Our mission at Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation is simple: We exist to help Canadians meet their housing needs. But achieving that mission is complex — and has never felt more urgent.
As I write this message, Canadians are still feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. And while Canadians were struggling to afford housing before the pandemic, it has only been made worse in recent years. Far too many people are experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Tenants are paying more in rent. Homebuyers are seeing lower house prices being countered by higher interest rates. For young people, the dream of homeownership is increasingly elusive. Current inflationary pressures will pass, but Canada’s low housing supply will continue to threaten affordability.
Housing affordability is a major challenge of our times — and meeting it calls for strong, focused action from Canada’s national housing agency. That’s why we’re mobilizing all our resources where we could have the most impact for Canadians — now and in the future.
Delivering on the federal government’s budget commitments to Canadians was key in having that impact.
- We relaunched and expanded programs that create more affordable housing. For example, we rolled out the third round of the highly successful Rapid Housing Initiative. Municipalities, non-profit housing providers and other partners have embraced this program, and we’re on track to build more than 14,500 permanent affordable homes for those experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
- We designed the new Housing Accelerator Fund, in consultation with government and industry partners. This fund will help municipalities address barriers that prevent or slow down housing projects in the development phase. This means more homes will get built more quickly.
- We supported the federal government in deploying legislation that was made to address some specific, pressing issues. The one-time federal top-up of the Canada Housing Benefit is providing $500 to low-income renters struggling to pay their rent. The Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Properties by Non-Canadians Act, which came into force on 1 January 2023, will make housing more accessible to Canadians.
Leveraging our commercial offerings to make a greater impact was also key.
- Our mortgage loan insurance (MLI) products are integral to a healthy, stable housing finance system. We launched a new product, MLI Select, that’s already incentivizing more affordable, accessible and climate-compatible rental housing.
Finally, we prioritized work that will help us to better serve Canadians in the future.
- We’re deepening our research on vulnerabilities in the housing system so that we can better anticipate them and help policymakers act. Our major Housing Supply Report series, for example, is giving a clearer picture of the extent of Canada’s housing supply gap and insights on how to fix it.
- We’re also working to ensure that housing advances other issues that matter to Canadians, such as climate change, equity, and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. One example of this is our participation in the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business’s Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) program this year. This provides accountability and third-party validation of our reconciliation efforts.
The many accomplishments you’ll read about in this report were made possible by the dedication and expertise of CMHC’s employees — a courageous community building impactful solutions together. I also recognize the strong leadership of our Board of Directors, notably our Chair, Derek Ballantyne. I’m extremely proud of CMHC as we continue to advance our common goals during these difficult times. But it’s clear that no one organization can solve our country’s housing affordability challenges. Everyone has an interest in a fair, affordable housing system — and everyone has a role to play.
That’s why, throughout 2022, I drew on CMHC’s unique position, with extensive networks in both government and industry, to lead this conversation. Together we’re joining forces to promote big, bold changes in the way Canada builds, operates, and finances housing.
Canadians can count on CMHC to keep building this momentum.
President and chief executive officer