OMDREB Commends Federal Government For Building Homes on Public Lands Announcement

Oakville, ON, April 24, 2024 – This morning, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, was in Oakville at the Halton Region government office to highlight new measures included in Budget 2024 and Canada’s Housing Plan to build more affordable homes on public lands. The full announcement can be viewed here.

Representatives from The Oakville, Milton and District Real Estate Board (OMDREB) – Heidi Noel, Chair of OMDREB’s Government Relations Committee, and John Rich, OMDREB’s Manager of Communications and Public Affairs – were in attendance for the “Building Homes on Public Lands” announcement, where Mr. Trudeau expanded on the federal government’s plans for housing between now and 2031.

The Prime Minister’s announcement included the following action items:

    Reviewing the federal government’s entire portfolio of federally owned land and properties to rapidly identify sites where new homes can be built.

  • Making more land available for housing by identifying and building on under-utilized public lands as well as acquiring new lands.
  • Leasing public lands as opposed to selling them off so public land stays public and affordable homes stay affordable.
  • Launching a new public land bank and mapping tool to help homebuilders more easily identify and navigate public lands.
  • Introducing legislation to facilitate the acquisition and use of public lands for homes, in partnership with other orders of government.
  • Accelerating administrative timelines to make public lands available for affordable housing faster.
  • The feds also plan to make better use of existing land. This includes:

    • Building homes on Canada Post properties. With a large portfolio of land, Canada Post has more than 1,700 post offices in over 1,700 communities across the country. Many of these sites often house one-storey Canada Post buildings, which could be leveraged to build new homes across the country, while maintaining Canada Post services.
    • Building homes on National Defence lands. National Defence owns property in every province and territory, and these properties are often under-utilized. The government will redevelop National Defence properties that are suitable for military and civilian use and divest surplus properties that are not required for National Defence operations but have the potential for housing.
    • Converting underused federal offices into homes. The federal government owns a lot of office buildings and half of them are either underused or entirely vacant. They will reduce their office footprint, convert these offices into homes – especially in urban areas – and prioritize student housing and affordable housing.

    Alongside these measures, Budget 2024 will also:

    • Provide $500 million to launch a new public lands acquisition fund, which will buy land from other orders of government to help build middle-class homes.
    • Top-up the Federal Lands Initiative with $117 million to unlock more federal lands for affordable housing providers, with a minimum of 1,500 homes.
    • Make public lands available more quickly by scaling up the Centre of Expertise on Disposals. With an investment of $20 million, Public Services and Procurement Canada will advance collaboration with key government and industry partners.
    • Invest $15 million in the recently announced Public Land Bank and mapping tool. This funding will develop a public land bank, including an interactive geo-spatial mapping tool to better plan the use of public lands.
    • Support and expand the activities of the Canada Lands Company through an investment of $5 million to build more homes on public lands.

    OMDREB applauds the federal government for expanding the use of public lands to make housing more attainable, and will be keeping a close eye on progress as it moves ahead. We also wish to thank the office of Oakville North-Burlington MP Pam Damoff for the invitation to today’s announcement.

    (with information from