Times are tough for Canadians from coast to coast, with housing costs and accessibility taking the cake as the most pressing concern for many. With that said, it’s only natural for housing to be front and centre in the upcoming federal budget 2024, which will be tabled on Tuesday, April 16. Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced measures that are designed to speed up the construction of new homes across the country.

“With Budget 2024, we’re making it easier, cheaper, and faster to build more homes in Canada,” said Trudeau in a statement. “Today’s announcement will cut red tape, speed up development, and build more homes, so that Canadians – from teachers, to nurses, to construction workers – can afford to stay in the communities where they work. It’s making the housing market fairer for every generation.”

Stating his agenda for a “team Canada” approach, Trudeau called on every order of government to come together to build more homes for Canadians at affordable prices, especially on land ready for development.

The prime minister announced that his government would be delivering a $15 billion top-up to the Apartment Construction Loan Program to build a minimum of 30,000 new apartments. “With this top-up, the program’s financing is on track to build over 131,000 new apartments within the next decade,” reads a press release.

BC construction apprenticeNew construction of high-rise buildings in Burnaby city, industrial construction site, construction equipment, several construction cranes on the background of finished skyscrapers and a clean bluestoreys.com

Trudeau also announced new reforms to the Apartment Construction Loan Program – an initiative that boosts the construction of new rental homes by providing low-cost financing to homebuilders – to increase access to the program and make it easier for builders to build.These reforms include: extending loan terms; extending access to financing to include housing for students and seniors; introducing a portfolio approach to eligibility requirements so builders can move forward on multiple sites at once; providing additional flexibility on affordability, energy efficiency, and accessibility requirements; and launching a new frequent builder stream to fast-track the application process for proven home builders.

The prime minister also announced the launch of Canada Builds, partnering with provinces and territories to build more rental housing across the country. “The federal government is leveraging its $55 billion Apartment Construction Loan Program by making it available to support partnerships with provinces and territories that launch their own ambitious housing plans, similar to the recently announced BC Builds initiative,” reads the release.

Naturally, this move comes with conditions as well. In order to access federal financing, provinces and territories will be expected to meet the benchmarks set by BC Builds and deliver action to build even more homes. This includes complementing federal funds with provincial or territorial investments into housing; building on government, non-profit, community-owned, and vacant lands; streamlining the process to cut development approval timelines to no longer than 12 to 18 months; and meeting all criteria included in the Apartment Construction Loan Program, including affordability requirements.

VancouverAerial image of Stanley Park, Coal Harbor and Vancouver, BC, Canadastoreys.com

“To fix Canada’s housing challenges, we need a Team Canada effort – every order of government must use every lever at its disposal to build more homes, faster,” said Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance in a statement. “Today, our government is coming to the table with billions in low-cost financing available for provinces and territories that step up to ambitious plans, as British Columbia is doing by cutting the time it takes to get shovels in the ground so they can build at pace and at scale right away.”

Today’s announcement comes after Trudeau announced a new $6 billion housing infrastructure fund to help provinces and municipalities build more homes quicker. The development dollars come with strings attached, including an embrace of fourplexes and other missing middle housing.