04/09/2018 16:04 EDT | Updated 04/09/2018 22:24 EDT

Liberal Housing Strategy: Provinces, Territories Agree To Spend Billions On Plan

"It puts real fuel in the tank in moving this forward."

Chad Hipolito/CP
Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos speaks to media in Victoria, B.C. on June 28, 2016.

The speed with which Monday's announcement came together caught housing advocates off-guard.

Pedro Barata, co-chair of the National Housing Collaborative, an umbrella group created to lobby the Liberals on the design of the housing strategy, said the agreement "puts real fuel in the tank in moving this forward.'' And Jeff Morrison, executive director of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, said the framework "removes a major stumbling block'' to implementing the housing strategy.

Tim Ross, director of strategic affairs for the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada, said the agreement gives certainty to low-income households worried about affording their homes.

What the framework doesn't include is provincial and territorial blessing for a federal initiative to legislate a right to housing. Duclos said regions had different views on how useful the promised federal rights legislation would be in reducing the country's housing crunch and the agreement references the idea only as a federal initiative.

The next step will be to sign one-on-one funding agreements so federal money can flow to provinces and, ultimately, municipalities.

And Duclos said that in a few weeks, the government will unveil the details of a new $15.9 billion financing program to help housing providers use their assets to leverage additional cash to build new apartments and homes.