BILL C-66: AN ACT TO
AMEND THE NATIONAL
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF BILL C-66
TABLE OF CONTENTS
BILL C-66: AN ACT TO AMEND THE
NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporations general authorities are derived from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Act. CMHC is a Crown corporation within the meaning of Part I of Schedule 3 of the Financial Administration Act (FAA) and is subject to the various conditions and requirements set out in this legislation. CMHCs specific authorities in housing are embodied in the National Housing Act (NHA). The NHA provides CMHC with a range of authorities and tools to address the housing and related needs of Canadians. These tools can be grouped under four main headings: housing financing, assisted housing, research and information transfer, and international activity.(1)
In the 1993 Budget,(2) the federal government announced that it would no longer be increasing its support for social housing through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) beyond the current funding level of about $2 billion a year.
In 1995, CMHCs mandate in research and information transfer was reaffirmed by the Treasury Board and a Cabinet decision determined that CMHC should be given the authority to sell products and services in support of housing exports. The 1996 federal Budget announced the governments intention to operate CMHCs mortgage loan insurance and mortgage loan guaranty activities on a more commercial basis. At the same time, the federal government announced that it would be phasing out its remaining role in social housing except for housing on Indian reserves and the funding of other specific initiatives for targeted client groups (battered women, the disabled elderly, the homeless). To further clarify the jurisdiction in the housing field, the federal government offered provincial and territorial governments the opportunity to take over the management of existing social housing resources, provided that the federal subsidies continue to be used for housing assistance for low-income households.(3)
To implement CMHCs new mandate requires changes to the National Housing Act (NHA) and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Act (CMHC). Bill C-66 would provide the necessary amendments.
The bill also proposes substantive and technical amendments, particularly in the areas of housing finance, and export promotion, in order to improve government management and delivery of housing services. Many administrative and technical amendments have been pending since the last amendments were made to the NHA and CMHC Act.
The modifications to the NHA follow three basic themes:
The proposed amendments to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Act are administrative and technical in nature and consist of improvements to the wording of the Act in order to:
These amendments aim at enabling CMHC to adjust its insurance and guarantee operations under the NHA to help ensure the continuing availability of low-cost financing to home buyers in all regions of Canada, promote market competitiveness and efficiency and contribute to the well-being of the housing sector.
These amendments are expected to give CMHC the necessary tools to compete effectively and fairly in the loan insurance marketplace. It is hoped that they will simplify the NHA by removing unnecessary restrictions and permit CMHC to respond quickly to shifts in consumer demand and market conditions.
The aim of these proposed legislative changes is to expand export opportunities for Canadas housing industry by granting CMHC broad authority to assist Canadians to sell their housing expertise to foreign countries, participate in housing development and financial infrastructure projects, and better promote Canadian housing products and services abroad. The ultimate aim of these proposals is to improve domestic job opportunities for Canadians.
(1) Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Summary of Corporate Plan: 1998-2002, p. 1. (2) Department of Finance, The Budget 1993, The Budget Speech, 26 April 1993, p. 55. (3) Department of Finance, The Budget 1996, Budget Plan, 6 March 1996, p. 43-44.