The Government of Canada will be creating a $1.5B Canada Rental Protection Fund that will "protect affordable housing and create thousands of new affordable apartments," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Thursday.

The Canada Rental Protection Fund will provide a total of $1B in loans and $470M in grants to non-profit organizations and other partners in order to allow them to acquire existing affordable rental homes, essentially shielding them rent increases or redevelopment.

The Fund will be "co-led and co-funded by the federal government and other partners" and "will mobilize investments and financing from the charitable sector and the private sector to protect and grow affordable housing in Canada."

The creation of the Canada Rental Protection Fund was likely inspired by the Rental Protection Fund created by the British Columbian government, although BC was not directly cited in today's announcement like it was in yesterday's announcement, which was for a Canada Builds directly modelled after BC Builds.

British Columbia's Rental Protection Fund was announced in January 2023 and it recently began announcing acquisitions. It is nearly identical to what the Canada Rental Protection Fund will look like, although BC's provides only grants and not loans.

Upon the program's launch, CEO Katie Maslechko told STOREYS that the Rental Protection Fund had been receiving a lot of interest from around the country, and the creation of a national program akin to the Rental Protection Fund has been continuously recommended by the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association.

Recently, a coalition of organizations also formed to advocate for a Canadian Housing Acquisition Fund. That coalition included BC's Rental Protection Fund, the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, the National Indigenous Collaborative Housing Inc., and the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada.

In an interview with STOREYS on Wednesday, federal Minister of Housing, Infrastructure, and Communities Sean Fraser spoke in depth about his support for the concept, although he would not confirm that that an announcement was impending.

"Right now, Canada has less than 4% of housing stock [that] exists outside of the market," Fraser said. "The OECD average is about 8%. We need to do more to ensure that a portion of Canada's housing stock is reserved for low-income families. Now, we need to do more to build out middle class housing opportunities as well, but the whole system won't work if we don't ensure that the most vulnerable in this country have a roof over their head. One way to do that is to finance the construction of new builds, but another way to help address that challenge is to transition existing affordable housing stock to permanent affordable housing stock."

"We, over the course of the last number of decades, have lost hundreds of thousands of affordable housing units in this country, as older buildings become renovated, or the price go[es] up when a new owner takes over a building, and if we [provide] an opportunity for non-profits to maintain quality accommodations at prices for low-income families, then we can solve a very, very big social problem," Fraser said.

Thursday's announcement of the Canada Rental Protection Fund is the latest tease of what is expected to be a housing-focused budget. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland will be presenting the federal budget on Tuesday, April 16.