Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland teed up the government’s upcoming fall economic statement Tuesday when she revealed two “key challenges” it hopes to address.
Freeland, who is also deputy prime minister, spoke about the fall economic statement during a housing announcement in Toronto.
The 2023 fall economic statement — a fiscal update on the government’s economic plan — will be presented to the House of Commons on Nov. 21.
“Next Tuesday, I will be delivering our government’s fall economic statement. Our fall economic statement is based on a responsible fiscal plan that allows us to invest in what Canadians need right now,” Freeland told reporters.
“That is why the fall economic statement will be focused on two key challenges: making life more affordable for Canadians and taking further concrete action on housing. We know this is an urgent priority for Canadians, and we believe that at the heart of this issue is supply, supply, supply.”
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Canada’s housing crisis has been fueled by a surge in demand and a lack of inventory for years, leading to inflated prices in many markets.
The minority Liberals have recently been touting the Housing Accelerator Fund, a program designed to entice cities to submit applications for federal funding tied to zoning changes.
They promised the $4-billion fund during the 2021 election campaign. The money was allocated to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. in the 2022 federal budget, with the goal of adding at least 100,000 new homes across the country over five years. However, the first deal wasn’t announced until September, with London, Ont., being the recipient.
Other Ontario cities, Brampton, London, Vaughan and Hamilton, as well as Halifax and Kelowna, have all signed agreements with the federal government.
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Ottawa is facing pressure to avoid spending, which could make it harder to keep lowering inflation. The Liberals are trying to tackle both the housing crisis and significant affordability challenges and to halt their ongoing slump in the polls, as they’re trailing the Conservatives in many parts of the country.
The Bank of Canada helped relieve some pressure on Oct. 25 when it held its key interest rate for a second straight decision, but with the economy still showing signs of weakening, Ottawa will be under pressure to show officials grasp the moment and have a plan forward.
Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem voiced his own concerns late last month about the pace of government spending. After holding rates steady on Oct. 25, he said the projected fiscal spending plans at all levels of government are “not helpful” in taming inflation.
— with files from Global News’ Sean Previl and Uday Rana
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