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Mario Dargis, Chairman, APCHQ; François Vincent; Luc Bélanger, CEO; Andrée Laforest, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing; distinguished guests and friends.
I am very pleased to be here with you today. Thank you to the APCHQ for the invitation and also for developing and promoting your 18,000 members.
Last year, to make sure that more Quebeckers have a place to call home, the federal government launched the National Housing Strategy – a 10 year, $40 billion plan to increase the housing stock across the country.
This Strategy will have positive impacts on middle-class families and, especially, on those working hard to join the middle class.
With such a low vacancy rate in Canada – 3.4% in Quebec – it is clear that housing supply has not met the growing demand from the population, which has caused rents to rise.
This is making it harder and harder for people trying to make ends meet.
That’s unacceptable. And that’s why, through the National Housing Strategy, we’ve introduced several new programs to address this challenge.
Let me tell you about the National Housing Co-investment Fund, which is a cornerstone initiative of our Strategy.
This $13.2-billion program will allow for the construction of 60,000 new affordable housing units, in addition to the renovation and repair of 240,000 existing ones.
How? Through teamwork. Because this is a co-investment fund, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is offering contributions and low-interest loans to encourage all partners to collaborate.
The various levels of government, the private and non-profit sectors as well as Indigenous groups are all invited to work together on creating housing that meets the needs of the population.
Along with this Fund, there is also the Rental Construction Financing initiative. This financing, offered in the form of low-interest loans, is especially intended for developers in order to encourage the construction of more than 14,000 new housing units where the need is clearly demonstrated.
From now until 2021, $3.75 billion will be allocated to this initiative, which will allow rental apartment projects to get under way.
The $200-million Affordable Rental Innovation Fund is another example of an initiative that our government has introduced.
In place since 2016, this Fund is allowing for the funding of 4,000 new housing units, by encouraging new funding models and innovative building techniques.
All administered by CMHC, the programs give priority to projects that exceed affordability, accessibility and energy efficiency requirements.
The construction of new affordable housing will be good for the economy, create jobs in the residential construction and renovation sectors, and increase access to all housing, ultimately creating more equitable, inclusive and prosperous communities.
The commitment of partners like the APCHQ is key in achieving the potential of the National Housing Strategy, to create a new generation of housing, to help the most vulnerable people.
Since these challenges cannot be overcome alone, the creation of partnerships among developers and collaboration with the various levels of government are winning solutions to take advantage of these historic federal measures.
It is clear that our government is committed to keeping the housing market healthy though affordability, all while protecting our economy.
In fact, through CMHC, we are monitoring the impact of the new federal rules on mortgage eligibility.
In regard to housing across the country, the Canadian government is charting the course with the new National Housing Strategy, and it’s now your turn to get on board and make Quebec and Canada examples to follow.
In closing, I thank the APCHQ and builders and renovators in Quebec for their important contribution to the housing industry.
I wish you all an excellent convention!