What Is the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation?
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is a Canadian Crown Corporation which serves as the national housing agency of Canada and provides mortgage loans to prospective buyers, particularly those in need.
Understanding the CMHC
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) serves as the national housing agency of Canada. CMHC is a state-owned enterprise, or a Crown corporation, which provides a range of services for home buyers, the government, and the housing industry. CMHC’s stated mission is to “promote housing affordability and choice, to facilitate access to, and competition and efficiency in the provision of, housing finance, to protect the availability of adequate funding for housing at low cost, and generally contribute to the well-being of the housing sector in the national economy.”
A primary focus of CMHC is to provide federal funding for Canadian housing programs, particularly to buyers with demonstrated needs. CMHC, headquartered in Ottawa, provides many additional services to renters and home buyers, including mortgage insurance and financial assistance programs. CMHC acts as an information hub for consumers, providing information on renting, financial planning, home buying, and mortgage management.
CMHC also provides mortgage loan insurance for public and private housing organizations and facilitates affordable, accessible, and adaptable housing in Canada. Additionally, CMHC provides financial assistance and housing programs to First Nations and Aboriginal communities in Canada.
CMHC and the National Housing Strategy
In November 2017, the Canadian government announced the National Housing Strategy. Rooted in the idea that housing is a human right, this 10-year, $40 billion project will largely be administered by CMHC, although some services and deliverables will be provided by third-party contractors and other Canadian federal agencies.
Strategic initiatives of the National Housing Strategy include:
- Building new affordable housing and renewing existing affordable housing stock
- Providing technical assistance, tools, and resources to build capacity in the community housing sector and funds to support local organizations
- Supporting research, capacity-building, excellence, and innovation in housing research
Origins of the CMHC
CMHC was established in 1946 as the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation by the federal government in Canada with the primary mission of administering the National Housing Act and the Home Improvement Loans Guarantee Act and facilitating discounts to mortgage companies. Initially, CMHC began by providing housing to returning Canadian war veterans, and toward the end of the 1940s, CMHC began to administer a program providing low-income housing across Canada.
In 1950, CMHC was responsible for opening Regent Park, a large low-income housing project, and Toronto’s first urban renewal project. By the 1960s, CMHC introduced co-op housing and multi-unit apartment buildings throughout Canada.
In 1979, the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation changed its name to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.