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Government working on more homes, better and stronger health care for Canadians

In a significant move to address housing shortages and healthcare challenges in rural communities, the federal government has announced a comprehensive plan aimed at enhancing living conditions and medical services in these areas. As part of its initiative, the government is finalizing agreements with over 60 small and rural communities to inject more than $176 million towards accelerating the construction of over 5,300 homes within the next three years and aiming for more than 51,000 homes in the next decade, specifically for rural Canadians.

The initiative is backed by the $4 billion Housing Accelerator Fund, which is designed to encourage municipalities to undertake transformative changes. These changes include removing zoning barriers and increasing the pace of housing construction to meet the ambitious target of fast-tracking at least 100,000 homes in the next three years and more than 550,000 homes across Canada over the next decade. The focus for small and rural municipalities involves creating action plans to expedite permitting processes and eliminate construction barriers. Key strategies include unlocking municipally owned land for housing development, particularly affordable homes; providing the necessary municipal infrastructure; incentivizing redevelopment on underused land; constructing more Accessory Dwelling Units; and promoting energy efficiency to reduce energy costs.

The federal government is also taking significant steps to bolster public healthcare in rural areas by increasing student loan forgiveness by 50 percent for rural doctors and nurses. This enhancement means up to $60,000 in loan forgiveness for family physicians and family medicine residents, and up to $30,000 for nurses working in underserved rural and remote communities. Over the next decade, this increased loan forgiveness is anticipated to attract nearly 1,200 more doctors and 4,000 more nurses to rural communities, addressing the critical need for medical professionals in these areas.

“Our economic plan is building more homes, faster across the country, and it is strengthening Canada’s public health care—very much including in rural Canada. To build more than 51,000 new homes for Canadians in rural areas, today we announced over 60 agreements with small towns across the country. And we are investing in rural public health care by attracting thousands more of the doctors and nurses that small towns need. Together, these latest actions will keep Canada’s small towns as a great place to call home”, said the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.

“By working together, we can help communities grow and build more homes. We’re working with cities, mayors, and all levels of government, to get more homes built for Canadians at prices they can afford”, said the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities.

“During the pandemic, we saw first-hand how important our health workforce is, especially in rural and remote communities. With these regulatory changes, we are improving our support for health workers as well as offering people living in Canada’s under-served rural and remote communities the quality health care they need”, said the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages.

These efforts are expected to contribute significantly to the growth and sustainability of rural communities, ensuring they remain vibrant places to live and receive quality healthcare.

Source: Government of Canada