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Information Alert 

2017 Federal Budget: Human Services Investments

March 23, 2017

The 2017 Federal Budget includes little in the way of more spending, but rather is a update and a fleshing out some of the government's budget priorities from its 2016 budget.  See below for relevant highlights for the human services sector:

Affordable Housing: $11.2 Billion over 11 years
Budget 2016 committed to invest $2.2 billion over two years, to give Canadians access to more affordable housing. To supplement these investments, Budget 2016 also provided funding  for low-cost loans and new financing tools to encourage municipalities, housing developers and non-profit housing providers to develop more affordable rental housing units.

In Budget 2017, the government sees the need for long term investment and proposed to put in place more than $11.2 billion over 11 years in a variety of initiatives designed to build, renew and  repair Canada's stock of affordable housing. It is unclear if the $11.2 Billion includes or is in addition to the $2.2 Billion in Budget 2016.

Part of the Government's National Housing Strategy, this investment includes a new $5 billion National Housing Fund to address critical housing issues and provides targeted support for the north, for Indigenous people not living on reserve, and in the area of homelessness.

This mirrors a recent announcement in Ontario's Long Term Affordable Housing Strategy update, which focuses in part on supportive housing, including for off reserve Indigenous communities.

Early Learning and Child Care: Additional $7 billion over 10 years, starting in 2018-19
In addition to the $500 million defined in Budget 2016, this budget adds $7 billion to provide 40,000 subsidized licensed day care spaces over the next 10 years.  This is small investment as compared with the 100,000 spaces now committed and being planned provincially over the next 5 years.

Employment and Skills Training: $2.7 Billion over 6 years
This investment is being made to upgrade Labour Market transfer payments to Provinces and Territories. The intent is to modernize jobs and training supports for job seekers, to upgrade skills, gain experience, and get counselling. This includes availability of EI funded training to those previously not eligible. Pilot measures are proposed related to providing student loans for adults returning to school.