Provincial-Territorial Meeting of Ministers responsible for Housing

NEWS RELEASE – Provincial/Territorial Ministers Address Issues of Affordable Housing

Winnipeg, Manitoba - April 15, 2003 - Provincial and Territorial (PT) Ministers responsible for housing met in Winnipeg today and discussed strategies for increasing affordable housing and for renovating existing housing across Canada. The meeting was chaired by the Honourable Drew Caldwell, Manitoba Minister of Family Services and Housing and Minister Responsible for the Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation.

The Ministers expressed their support for additional federal funding for the Affordable Housing Initiative and renovation initiatives, including the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program, as announced in the recent federal budget. All Ministers agreed, however, that cost-sharing should not be mandatory, given the existing financial challenges that the provinces and territories are experiencing and the large and growing fiscal imbalance in Canada between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments. Remedying the fiscal imbalance would enable provinces and territories to better deal with their key priorities.

“We acknowledge the progress made in the past few years to address the need for affordable housing and commitments of all governments to this key issue,” said Minister Caldwell “At the same time, we believe it is important for provinces and territories to retain primary responsibility for the design and delivery of housing programs and initiatives under our jurisdictions. There remains much work to be done”.

For this reason, PT Ministers noted that it is critical that they have the opportunity to have full input into any program proposals and/or changes. PT Ministers agree on the attached set of principles to guide further investments in affordable housing throughout Canada. (1)

The Ministers emphasized that future successes rely largely on the level of flexibility in implementing initiatives. This flexibility is also paramount so provinces and territories can address their specific housing needs and priorities and will help realize the goal of a long-term, sustainable supply of affordable housing in Canada. PT Ministers also recognize the need to address the unique challenges facing rural, remote and northern regions of Canada.

PT Ministers expressed support for further examining the implications of several taxation and other measures on housing supply such as deferring capital gains and capital cost allowance on the sale of property when the proceeds are reinvested as affordable housing units (rollovers). Ministers will encourage the Federal government to work with them to review options to meet the housing needs of all jurisdictions. Ministers agreed on the need to ensure that the federal tax system provides for a viable rental housing industry and encourages affordable home ownership options. 1

PT Ministers will further encourage CMHC to reinvest mortgage insurance fund surpluses into housing. 2

PT Ministers look forward to their meeting with Federal Ministers Collenette and Mahoney tomorrow to address these and other important housing matters.


John Thorpe
Communications Coordinator
(204) 945-6778


1 In the absence of the Quebec Minister Responsible for Housing, Quebec is not taking a position on this issue.

2 Idem.