Federal Budget 2021: Long-term plan for affordable housing topped up

OTTAWA — The federal government has tweaked its housing and infrastructure plans in today's budget, but held back on an overhaul.

In the first budget in more than two years, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is topping up the Liberals' 10-year, $40-billion housing strategy with an additional $2.5-billion commitment.

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Some 60 per cent of that will go toward construction of 4,500 new units under the so-called Rapid Housing Initiative, which seeks to provide vulnerable Canadians with affordable homes.

The budget's plan to build or repair 35,000 units in total makes only a small dent in the 1.6 million Canadians in need of housing assistance.

The 739-page document also reiterates an eight-year, $15-billion pledge from February for public transit projects ranging from new subway lines to electric buses.

The budget further sets aside $23 million over four years for Infrastructure Canada to conduct what it calls the country's first-ever national infrastructure assessment, partly to identify next steps toward a long-discussed, never-developed high-frequency rail link between Toronto and Quebec City.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 19, 2021.

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