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Nova Scotia finally signs its bilateral agreement to access National Housing Strategy funding

The National Housing Strategy was rolled out in 2017-2018.

Since the National Housing Strategy was rolled out in fall 2017, Nova Scotians have been waiting to hear how funds from the National Housing Strategy will be spent in this province. Today the Province announced that the bilateral agreement, which will cover 10 years and invest $394.2 million, will continue to funding repairs and renovations to existing housing and support new housing construction. Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Chuck Porter noted that he will be working with CMHC on a three-year action plan (as have the other provincial Ministers of housing) which will include “affordable and accessible housing for those who need it.” Seven long-range housing outcomes will guide this action plan:

  • reduce the public housing waitlist;
  • advance government’s strategic goal of Safe, Connected Communities through affordable housing;
  • ensure long-term sustainability of housing;
  • ensure that most vulnerable clients are served;
  • increase the supply of affordable housing;
  • leverage external funding; and
  • achieve operational efficiency and effectiveness

You can see all the provincial and territorial bilateral agreements on the CMHC/National Housing Strategy website. The BC government’s bilateral agreement for $990 million reflected the priorities in their 30-point plan for housing affordability, including stabilizing the market by taxing speculators, cracking down on tax fraud and closing loopholes, partnering with Indigenous groups to build supportive housing, and strengthening protection for renters. Saskatchewan’s agreement includes the preservation of Urban Native Social Housing units through the community housing initiative, specifies baseline numbers of existing social housing units, and sets out a framework for their three-year action plan (which like Nova Scotia’s, will begin in 2019).

Nova Scotia’s existing social Housing Agreement funds repairs to the existing 11,625 community housing units in the province (e.g. co-op units supported through CMHC), and the NHS was supposed to repair and renew over 300,000 existing units of this type across the country. The new bilateral agreement proposes to protect the existing units and expand it by 15%, repair 20% of social housing units. The existing provincial programs need to be simplified so they’re easier to understand, according to Deputy Minister Nancy MacLellan. The federal government has indicated that they will not support social housing past 2034, so they’re calling on the provinces and territories to build capacity in this area. The Canada Housing Benefit, through the NHS, will be developed soon and added as an addendum to all the provincial/territorial agreements.

You can see Deputy Minister MacLellan’s formal announcement below.


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