Ottawa says $2.8B for housing assistance in 2017-18 could be ‘involuntary’
The federal government is set to give $2 billion to help Ottawa deal with rising housing costs, but the announcement could be voluntary, according to an official with the federal Department of Finance.
The Department of Housing, Community Development and Housing says it has received a proposal to support the province of Ontario with the remaining $1.6 billion.
The plan includes a $2,000 loan for each adult in the province.
Ottawa has been criticized for the amount of money that is being given to Ontario.
A recent report by the Parliamentary Budget Officer suggested the federal government could spend $2 million to help Ontario meet its housing affordability goals in the next three years.
But Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said this week that the province would not receive any additional funds, despite receiving $4 billion from the federal stimulus package.
“This is voluntary,” he told CBC News on Friday.
He added that Ottawa’s plan to help the province “is voluntary, and will not be in place in the future.”
The minister said he had not yet discussed the issue with his provincial counterparts.
However, Flaherty acknowledged that he had spoken with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and she told him that she supported the plan.
Flaherty said the province was looking forward to seeing the plan implemented in the near future.
“She has been very clear with me that she would support this program and I would look forward to that happening,” he said.
Ontario has been grappling with rising home prices.
On Wednesday, Statistics Canada said Ontario’s median home price had jumped 27 per cent from December 2017 to April 2018, which is more than double the national average.