OTTAWA – Business – Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development) today addressed the 2014 Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) Political Action Committee (PAC) Days Conference, highlighting the Government’s measures to ensure the accessibility and sustainability of housing, including social housing for those most in need.
The Minister also reiterated the Government’s commitment to ensuring the stability of the housing market and financial system and ensuring mortgages are available to creditworthy Canadians at a reasonable cost.
- Since 2006, the Government has invested more than $16.5 billion in housing, including more than $2 billion in stimulus funding under Canada’s Economic Action Plan.
- These investments have benefitted tens of thousands of households across Canada – promoting new home building, home renovation and job creation.
- As Canada’s national housing agency, CMHC provides a broad range of objective housing research and market analysis information to Canadian governments, consumers and the housing industry to help them make informed housing decisions.
“The Canadian Real Estate Association is proud to collaborate with the federal government on resources that put consumers first,” said Beth Crosbie, President of The Canadian Real Estate Association. “A prime example of this is our collaboration on the Homebuyers’ Road Map. It arms Canadians with the knowledge, skills and confidence to make responsible home buying decisions, contributing to the long-term stability of the housing market.”
Minister Bergen’s Speech to CREA
It’s a pleasure to be here to open this conference on behalf of the Government of Canada.
I understand that over 300 of you – Realtors and Board and Association executives from across Canada – are here in the city for this Political Action Committee Days conference or PAC days, as it’s known.
As a politician, I can tell you that your travel is not in vain. I’m looking forward to meeting with Manitoba representatives tomorrow evening on Parliament Hill. At least that is the plan – we’ll have to see what happens with votes.
Our Government values your efforts and your input.
We value the positive working relationship that we’ve had with CREA over the years – be it on the Homebuyers plan in 2009, the Homebuyers’ Road Map, or our continued discussions through CMHC and Finance.
As Minister of State for Social Development, I’ve been working with my provincial and territorial counterparts, municipalities and other stakeholders on the housing file.
Specifically, I’ve been working to ensure the accessibility and sustainability of housing, including social housing, for those most in need.
Canada came through the recent global recession better than any other country in the western world. The strength of the housing sector – supported by realtors such as yourselves – was a big part of the reason.
And this strength wasn’t an accident. It was due to hard work and careful planning. It was due to prudent investments and strong leadership.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Former Finance Minister Jim Flaherty steered our country through very precarious financial times.
They put us on a path to ensure jobs and opportunities. And we’re all better for it.
I’m proud to be doing my part – in fact, just two weeks ago I was in Alberta to meet with my counterpart and sign the renewal of our Investment in Affordable Housing. Before that, in PEI and BC to do the same.
These agreements have been coming up for renewal and I’ll be signing more of them in the near future.
Through our Investment in Affordable Housing, or IAH, as we call it, provinces and territories match our federal investments and design and deliver programs to meet their local needs. This is an important point – we respect provincial jurisdiction.
This is a point I also stressed when I met with the FCM big city mayors when they came to Ottawa in February.
Our Government provides substantial funds to the provinces and territories while allowing them the flexibility to allocate those funds in a way that best meets local priorities. In other words, we don’t dictate where the money goes. But that’s not to say there is no accountability.
There are program parameters they must operate within, and at the end of the day, obviously they must answer to their electorate about how they are prioritizing their spending.
In B.C. for example, they are allocating a lot of their funding into rent subsidies.
In Alberta, they’re making significant investments into seniors residences. Overall, since 2006, we have invested more than $16.5 billion in housing, including more than $2 billion worth of stimulus funding under Canada’s Economic Action Plan.
These investments have benefited tens of thousands of households across Canada – creating new homes for some, renovating existing homes for others, and creating needed jobs at the height of the recession.
I’m not going to list off all of the measures we’ve implemented to support a healthy housing industry as I’m sure you’re already very familiar with them.
However, before I wrap up, I do want to assure everyone here today that our Government remains committed to the stability of the housing market and the financial system. We want to ensure mortgages are available to creditworthy Canadians at a reasonable cost.
That has not and will not change.
Our Government will ensure we continue to have one of the best housing systems in the world.
And we’re appreciative of the role that all of you play in supporting this goal.
Thank you – merci – and I wish you all the best for a successful conference and year ahead.