IN THE HOUSE ~ Question on the Order Paper - Program and spending by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CHMC)

Question No. 168--
Mr. Peter Julian:

With regard to programs and spending by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) within the riding of Burnaby—New Westminster: (a) what was the amount spent in 2006; (b) what is the projected budget for 2007; (c) how many CMHC-funded housing units for singles and families currently exist; (d) how many CMHC-funded housing units for singles and families are planned for 2006 and 2007; and (e) what is the amount that CMHC has provided to housing co-ops in the riding for maintenance over the last two years and what will be the amount over the next two years?

Hon. Monte Solberg (Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, with respect to programs and spending administered by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, CMHC, within the riding of Burnaby-New Westminster:

Social housing: CMHC currently administers 890 co-operative housing units which provide housing for singles and families. These co-ops received annual subsidies of $1,290,496 in 2006. Under program design, there is no CMHC funding specifically earmarked for maintenance. Co-operatives set housing charges at levels sufficient to cover project operating costs including maintenance expenses and the provision of an allocation to a capital repair reserve fund. The funding provided by CMHC is used to offset or reduce these project operating costs and/or to subsidize housing charges for households in need.

In addition, CMHC provided funding to another 1,048 units in the riding of Burnaby-New Westminster, committed under various programs, which provides housing for singles and families. Of this total, there are 618 units benefiting from a preferential interest rate and some of these units are also benefiting from a forgivable capital contribution grant equivalent to 10% of the original project cost. The remaining 430 units received annual funding of $540,851 in 2006.

The administration of these 1,048 units was transferred to the Province on January 15, 2007, under a social housing agreement, SHA, with the province of British Columbia signed in 2006. CMHC annual funding contained in the Canada-B.C. SHA is currently some $140 million. The Province also received a one-time lump sum amount of $24 million for risks associated with future inflation, changes in interest rates and loan losses. The amount of subsidy available in 2007 is governed by the agreements between CMHC and the various sponsor groups and assumed by the British Columbia Housing Management Corporation pursuant to the SHA.

There may be additional units located in the riding that received on-going federal assistance in 2006 under various federal-provincial programs already administered by the province of British Columbia prior to this summer’s signing of an SHA which are not included in the above unit counts. The province has the lead role for these units and does not report subsidies by project to CMHC. For the first nine months of 2006 the province had claimed federal funding of some $75 million on these programs, covering some 27,000 units across the province. These units are also covered by the SHA. Effective October 1, 2006 funding for these units is being provided through the annual funding of $140 million contained in the SHA.

Renovation programs: On December 19, 2006, the Government of Canada announced a $256 million, two-year extension of the housing renovation and adaptation programs, effective April 1, 2007. The funding will help improve the quality of housing for an additional 38,000 low-income households in all regions of Canada. For 2006/2007, British Columbia’s allocation for these housing renovation programs is approximately $16.2 million.

Under federal renovation programs in the riding of Burnaby-New Westminster, some $296,000 has been committed for 22 units in 2006. CMHC is unable to provide a forecast of how many units and dollars will be committed in 2007, since this will depend on the number of applications approved.

Affordable housing initiative/Canada-B.C. affordable housing program agreement: Under the $1 billion affordable housing initiative, AHI, over $130 million has been allocated to British Columbia. As of December 31, 2006, 4,432 affordable housing units had been committed or announced in British Columbia, representing federal funding of $126.4 million. The province of British Columbia and others are matching federal AHI investments.

British Columbia Housing (B.C. Housing) administers the Canada-British-Columbia affordable housing program agreement. According to information provided by B.C. Housing, there have not been any commitments under this program in the riding of Burnaby-New Westminster in 2006. B.C. Housing is not required to provide forecasts of units planned by riding to CMHC, but it does report on projects approved during the year.

Housing trusts: The 2006 budget provides for a one time investment of $1.4 billion towards helping Canadians find safe, adequate and affordable housing in all provinces and territories. This investment is being made through three housing trusts with provinces and territories to invest in affordable housing. This includes an affordable housing trust of $800 million, a northern housing trust of $300 million and a trust for off reserve aboriginal housing of $300 million. Funding for these housing trusts, which was confirmed on September 25, 2006, will be allocated over three years. B.C.'s share of this funding is $156.9 million.