New Era Begins for Social Housing Services in Alberta

CALGARY, ALBERTA, September 2, 2016 — The Government of Canada remains committed to making significant investments in social housing, strengthening Canadian communities, and helping create jobs and grow the middle class, while building a strong foundation for a sustainable economic future.

Today, Minister Kent Hehr, along with Alberta Minister Lori Sigurdson, announced an 18-year agreement that will provide close to $90 million to Alberta in the first year – from the Government of Canada – for the transfer of federally-funded social housing stock to the province.

This agreement will provide for one-window delivery of social housing services and gives the province broader flexibility to adapt its housing programs to meet the needs of Albertans.

Quick facts:

  • Over the term of the 18-year agreement, the Government of Canada will provide annual funding to the Province to support existing social housing units. In the first year of the agreement, the federal government will pay close to $90 million to the Government of Alberta, in support of approximately 29,000 households.
  • The Social Housing Agreement covers some 29,000 units, of which some 26,000 are already being administered by the Alberta Social Housing Corporation on behalf of the federal-provincial partnership.
  • Approximately 2,200 co-operative housing units will remain with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) along with over 2,500 rental housing units that are owned and managed by First Nations.
  • The new agreement replaces 17 cost-share agreements that had various conditions and expiry dates.
  • The agreement provides increased flexibility to the Province on how federal dollars are spent, using efficiency savings for the redevelopment of the existing social housing stock.
  • The Federal budget tabled earlier this year provides a significant boost to the annual funding under the agreement, with $2.3 billion in new investments over the next two years under the Social Infrastructure Fund to give Canadians greater access to affordable housing. This is a key component of the Government of Canada’s plan to help strengthen the middle class, promote inclusive growth and lift more Canadians out of poverty. This new funding includes a doubling of the Investment in Affordable Housing, a collaborative initiative with the provinces and territories.

Quotes:

“Our Government is pleased to partner with provinces to ensure that federal investments are delivered as efficiently as possible. We want to maximize outcomes for individuals and families who need help with their housing needs. This agreement will ensure that Albertans benefit from federal funding for social housing for generations to come.”
— The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, on behalf of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)

“The new Social Housing Agreement allows us to achieve better outcomes for tenants because it gives greater flexibility to improve housing programs. This new agreement is part of the Alberta government's commitment to housing that provides a safe and affordable place for Albertans to call home.”
— Honourable Lori Sigurdson, Minister of Seniors and Housing

Associated Links:

  • CMHC has been helping Canadians meet their housing needs for more than 70 years. As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provide support for Canadians in housing need, and offer unbiased housing research and advice to Canadian governments, consumers and the housing industry. Prudent risk management, strong corporate governance and transparency are cornerstones of CMHC’s operations. For more information, please call 1-800-668-2642.
  • The Alberta government ministry of Seniors and Housing fosters the development of affordable housing and supports access to housing options for Albertans most in need. To achieve these outcomes, the ministry works with seniors, Albertans who require housing supports, their families and caregivers, communities and other government partners. A more detailed description of the ministry and its programs and initiatives can be found at www.seniors-housing.gov.ab.ca.

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Media contacts:

Mathieu Filion
Director of Communications
Office of Minister Duclos
819-654-5546
Mathieu.filion@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca

Tim Chu
Press Secretary
Alberta Seniors and Housing
780-293-8024
Timothy.Chu@gov.ab.ca

Renée Anne Nat
Public Affairs
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
403-515-2963
rnat@cmhc-schl.gc.ca

Backgrounder

Federal Principles

  • CMHC is transferring its responsibilities for the management of the majority of federally funded social housing projects located in Alberta to the Province.
  • The Province will assume all the rights and responsibilities which CMHC has under project operating agreements with project sponsor groups.
  • Federal funds are to be used solely for housing purposes.
  • The new agreement contains a schedule setting out the total amount of federal funding which will be provided each year, commencing April 1, 2016, and continuing until March 31, 2034, when all operating agreements will have ended.
  • Although the SHA is effective April 1, 2016, CMHC continues to administer the social housing stock on behalf of the Province of Alberta until the transfer is fully implemented. An implementation date has yet to be confirmed with the Province of Alberta.
  • Federal funds will continue to be used to provide residential rental accommodations through a portfolio of programs.
  • CMHC will establish housing income limits which will reflect the maximum income for a household to be eligible for targeted federal assistance.
  • Federal funds currently directed to households with insufficient income to cover the cost of appropriate accommodation will continue to be used for this purpose. If the funding is not needed in the program where it is currently directed, the Province can use this funding for another program, but it must be directed to households with incomes below established income limits.
  • Federal funding currently directed to moderate income households can continue to be used for this purpose until such time as the units no longer exist. Should this funding become available in the future, it is to be used to provide targeted assistance.
  • The Province can use the federal funding savings achieved through cost reductions and efficient management and administration of the stock to serve households in its jurisdiction.

Program Design

  • The Social Housing Agreement will enable the Government of Alberta to modify housing programs in support of the provincial housing policy as long as federal principles are respected.
  • Increased administrative flexibility under the new arrangements would permit the Province to develop new administrative arrangements with local communities and management bodies.

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