CMHC rubberstamps $102 million in bonuses amid housing affordability crisis

Author: Ryan Thorpe 2024/04/04

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation dished out more than $27 million in bonuses in 2023, according to access-to-information records obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. 

That pushes the total bonuses at the CMHC to $102 million since the beginning of 2020.

“Why is the CMHC patting itself on the back and showering staff with bonuses when Canadians can’t afford homes?” said Franco Terrazzano, CTF Federal Director. “If the CMHC’s number one goal is housing affordability, then it doesn’t make sense to hand out $100 million in bonuses during a housing affordability crisis.”

Ninety-eight per cent of the CMHC workforce took a bonus in 2023. 

At least 2,283 CMHC staffers took home a bonus last year, costing taxpayers $27.2 million, with the average bonus coming in at about $11,800. 

The CMHC’s 10 executives received $4.1 million in total compensation in 2023. That includes $3.1 million in salary (for an average of $311,000) and $831,000 in bonuses (for an average of $83,000). 

The CMHC also paid executives $211,000 in other “benefits.” 

More than 2,000 CMHC staffers, representing 89 per cent of its workforce, also got a pay raise last year. Not a single employee received a pay cut. 

There are now 1,073 CMHC bureaucrats taking home a six-figure annual salary, a 15 per cent increase over 2022, representing nearly half (46 per cent) of its workforce. Those six-figure salaries cost taxpayers a combined $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,” Terrazzano said. 

The CMHC is “driven by one goal: housing affordability for all,” according to its 2023-2027 corporate plan.

Polling from Ipsos and Global News in 2023 shows 63 per cent of Canadians who don’t own a home have “given up” on ever owning one. Nearly 70 per cent of respondents said home ownership in Canada is “only for the rich.” 

In April 2024, the Royal Bank of Canada said it was the “toughest time ever to afford a home as soaring interest costs keep raising the bar.”

The RBC said ownership costs were propelled to a “new summit” in the fourth quarter of 2023, with a “household earning a median income (needing) to spend a staggering 62.5 per cent of it to cover the costs of owning an average home at market price.” 

“Affordability worsened in all markets we track,” the RBC said, with the housing in Vancouver, Victoria and Toronto experiencing “the biggest deterioration,” and affordability in Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax being “at or near all-time worst levels.” 

In the 2023 Budget, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said, “the government will also work with federal Crown corporations to ensure they achieve comparable spending reductions, which would account for an estimated $1.3 billion over four years.”

“The feds need to stop rewarding failure with bonuses,” Terrazzano said. “Freeland said she would find savings in Crown corporations and these bonuses should be the first thing on the chopping block.”

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Franco Terrazzano
Federal Director at
Canadian Taxpayers

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