98 Percent of CMHC Employees Got Bonuses Last Year Totalling $27M

98 Percent of CMHC Employees Got Bonuses Last Year Totalling $27M
Houses under construction in Toronto in a file photo. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
Chandra Philip

Canada’s national housing agency handed out more than $27 million in employee bonuses last year, bringing the total extra pay for its workers to $102 million since 2020, according to documents obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

The mandate of the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is to improve housing affordability, Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) federal director Franco Terrazzano noted in a April 4 press release, where he argued that it “doesn’t make sense” for the Crown corporation to “hand out $100 million in bonuses during a housing affordability crisis.”

“Why is the CMHC patting itself on the back and showering staff with bonuses when Canadians can’t afford homes?” Mr. Terrazzano asked, adding that 98 percent of agency employees received a bonus in 2023. The average amount came in at $11,800.

Ten of CMHC’s executives took home a total of $4.1 million in 2023, including $831,062 in bonuses, documents show. It works out to an average of roughly $83,000 per executive.

The national housing agency said 1,073 employees—46 percent of the organization’s workforce—earned a salary of more than $100,000 last year. That is a 15 percent increase from 2020, the CTF noted, adding that employee salaries cost taxpayers a total of $140 million in 2023.

“The CMHC could do more to end the housing affordability crisis by hiring a thousand carpenters, rather than paying a thousand bureaucratic pencil-pushers six-figure salaries,” Mr. Terrazzano said.

The Epoch Times contacted CMHC for comment but did not hear back by publication time.

Housing Affordability Crisis

The cost of housing across Canada has now hit a 30-year high, according to a housing affordability report from the Royal Bank of Canada released April 4.

The report said the average Canadian household would need to shell out 63.5 percent of its  income to own a home at current market prices. The report noted it is the “toughest time ever to afford a home.”

Canada’s average home price in February was $658,809, up 3.5 percent from February 2023, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.

CMHC is aware of the crisis, as noted by its deputy chief economist Aled ab Iorwerth in an October 2023 report.

“We face a crisis of housing affordability that is becoming entrenched,” he wrote. “We’ve needed more housing in Canada for years—in all forms, in every market and for everyone across the housing spectrum and quickly.”

The organization has said more than 22 million homes are needed by 2030 to achieve affordability. However, that is 3.5 million fewer homes than is currently planned for construction.

Mr. ab Iorwerth estimates it will require an investment of at least $1 trillion to achieve the goal.

“The scale of the challenge is so large that the private sector must be involved — governments cannot do this on their own,” he wrote.

The agency’s CEO told the Senate finance committee last December there was no plan to solve the problem.

“Is there any kind of overall plan which would indicate how the government is hoping to get to the 3.5 million deficit in homes?” asked Sen. Elizabeth Marshall, as reported by Blacklock’s Reporter.

Ms. Bowers said more time was needed to complete an assessment, adding it’s “very difficult” to estimate how many housing units can be built.

“There are many factors that contribute to housing production including things like interest rate trajectories, the availability of skilled labour, local conditions that really impact housing delivery,” she told the committee.

However, a recent CIBC report said the CHMC’s estimation that 3.5 million new homes are needed by 2030 is “already obsolete.”

It said the CMHC used a base population of 38.9 million to calculate its numbers. That’s 1.2 million short of the actual population, which recently surpassed 41 million.

CIBC said closer to 5 million new homes will need to be built to fix the housing shortage by 2030.

Noé Chartier contributed to this report.