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Canada’s Housing Co-ops Optimistic Despite Cuts to Federal Spending

March 29, 2012 (Ottawa) — Canada’s housing co‑ops were not surprised by cuts to federal program spending in today’s 2012 budget, said Nicholas Gazzard, Executive Director of the Co‑operative Housing Federation of Canada (CHF Canada).

Gazzard noted that he did not expect the Harper government to commit to more housing spending during a period of fiscal restraint and global economic uncertainty. “Canadians are continuing to benefit from stimulus dollars that led directly to much-need renovations and retrofits of non-market housing, including housing co‑ops, and created construction jobs across the country through Canada’s Economic Action Plan,” said Gazzard.

While being mindful of the government’s goal to balance the budget by 2015, Canada’s housing co‑ops will continue to look for cost-shared funding through the Affordable Housing Initiative beyond its current expiry date of March 31, 2014.

CHF Canada also welcomes the opportunity to explore the new Social Impact Bonds initiative announced in today’s budget, and hopes that it will lead to creative ways to partner with government building better communities, while helping to meet deficit-reduction goals.

Gazzard stressed that “Ottawa needs to continue to engage with its provincial, territorial and stakeholder partners, including Canada’s housing co‑ops, on housing issues. Federal dollars through the existing Affordable Housing Framework beyond 2014 should guarantee both new affordable housing development and reductions in housing need.”

Gazzard also highlighted the looming crisis facing governments in the coming years. Some 200,000 households across Canada will lose their rent-geared-to-income (RGI) subsidies when current agreements between Ottawa and housing providers expire. “We will continue to work with other housing stakeholders to help the government solve the problem of expiring federal assistance to low-income households. Our goal will be to protect the public’s investment in co‑op, non-profit and municipal housing,” concluded Gazzard.

The United Nations has declared 2012 the International Year of Co‑operatives. There are nearly 1 billion co‑op members around the world, and the world’s top 300 co‑operative enterprises generate close to $1.1 trillion in annual revenue. Canada’s co‑operative sector is very robust, with 9,000 co‑ops serving 18 million members.

CHF Canada is the national voice of the Canadian co‑operative housing movement. Its members include over 900 non-profit housing co‑operatives and other organizations across Canada. More than a quarter of a million Canadians live in housing co‑ops, in every province and territory.

For more information:

Nicholas Gazzard, Executive Director, 1-800-465-2752 ext. 230, ngazzard@chfcanada.coop

David Granovsky, Government Relations Co-ordinator, 1-800-465-2752 ext. 222, dgranovsky@chfcanada.coop