Ottawa announces new funding to tackle rent affordability and rising grocery prices

In a press conference on Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland and Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Francois-Philippe Champagne announced the new spending as part of Canada’s economic plan.

The $99 million “top-up” to the Canada Housing Benefit will support low-income renters by “delivering rent support payments directly to Canadians” and will open emergency shelter spaces across the country, a press release about the announcement explained.

The $5 million in annual funding triples Canada’s commitment to the Contributions Program for Non-profit Consumer and Voluntary Organizations. On Tuesday, Champagne said this will help create new projects in partnership with consumer advocacy groups to investigate price inflation and harmful business practices such as “shrinkflation” and “skimpflation” in grocery stores and “other forms of corporate greed” that have increased consumer prices.

The additional housing funds bring the Canada Housing Benefit to $325 million for 2023-24. The aid will be dispersed through provincial and territorial rent support programs. By 2027-28, the program will have made rent more affordable for over 300,000 low-income households, according to the federal government.

This funding builds on last week’s $362.4 million announcement to the Interim Housing Assistance Program, which provides resources to communities to shelter vulnerable asylum seekers.

“Our government is fighting for Canadians everyday—and our economic plan is building an economy that works for everyone,” Freeland said in a press release. “Today, we are delivering more rent support to low-income Canadians, providing more shelter spaces to those who need it most, and fighting corporate greed to deliver lower prices for Canadians.”

Natasha O’Neill Writer

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