The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) called on the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to rethink its objectives after it awarded employees $48 million in bonuses during a housing affordability crisis. 

“Why is the CMHC patting itself on the back and handing out millions in bonuses while Canadians are facing a housing affordability crisis?” said CTF federal director Franco Terrazzano in a press release on Wednesday. “If its number one goal is housing affordability, then it doesn’t make sense for the CMHC to give its employees bonuses while Canadians are struggling to find homes.” 

Documents obtained by the CTF through an access to information and privacy (ATIP) request show that the CMHC gave its employees $48 million in bonuses in 2020 and 2021, working out to more than $12,000 for each employee per year. According to the documents, more than 93% of CMHC employees received a bonus in 2020, and 94% of them earned one in 2021. 

“Yearly performance assessments are conducted and based on the final result, the relative incentive percentage is paid as the percentage of the employees’ base salary,” said CMHC’s ATIP analyst.

The Crown corporation states that it is “driven by one goal: Housing affordability for all.” 

Despite this stated goal, a CMHC-funded report published in January recommended adding a new tax on the value of a home beyond the $1 million threshold. 

“Everyday working people can’t afford to buy a basic home in many regions of Canada anymore,” said British Columbia CTF director Kris Sims. “Studying a plan to reduce housing prices with a new tax is like trying to put out a fire by looking for gasoline to dump on it.”

Statistics Canada reported in February that Canada’s annual pace of inflation has surpassed 5%, the highest since 1991.

The inflation rate, said Statistics Canada, rose 5.1% on a year-over-year basis and was up from a 4.8% gain in December. 

According to the agency, in January “prices rose in all major components on a year-over-year basis, with shelter prices (+6.2%) contributing the most to the all-items increase.”