Housing Accelerator Fund: progress tracker

Avatar photo
| Published , updated April 18, 2024

As of April 15, 2024, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) received 544 applications for Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) funding, of which 179 resulted in signed agreements and 365 unsuccessful agreements. Through these agreements with communities across Canada, the HAF will incentivize the creation of more than 100,000 newly permitted homes over the next three years, and over 750,000 over the next decade.

April 2, 2024 – the federal government announced that the 2024 budget would top up the Housing Accelerator Fund with an additional $400 million.

Project locations, funding and status

Enter your municipality or province or a funding program to see how much federal funding your elected representatives have secured to build housing in your community. Don’t see your community listed? Contact your local council members.

Last Updated: March 30, 2024

MunicipalityProvinceFunding ($M)3-Year Goal10-Year GoalAnnouncementAction PlanLetter from Housing MinisterAskResultNews
AbbotsfordBritish Columbia25.67302,300February 12, 2024
AirdrieAlberta24.89003,500March 5, 2024Four units as-of-rightReport
AjaxOntario2258011,000January 19, 2024Action PlanFour units as-of-rightReport
BarrieOntario25.66804,100March 14, 2024Action PlanFour units as-of-right
BathurstNew Brunswick3300 (4 communities)3100 (4 communities)March 1, 2024
BramptonOntario1143,15024,000October 20, 2023Action PlanLetterFour storeys within 800m of transitFour storeys within 800m of transit
BrooksAlbertaLetter
BurlingtonOntario216005,000January 15, 2024Action PlanFour units as-of-rightReport
BurnabyBritish Columbia431,29011,340December 19, 2023Reconsider Metro Van DCC increasesNoReport
CalgaryAlberta2286,80035,000November 14, 2023Action PlanLetterProceed with Calgary Housing StrategyProceed with Calgary Housing StrategyReport
CambridgeOntario13.33573,600March 7, 2024Report
Campbell RiverBritish Columbia10.4See VictoriaSee VictoriaFebruary 16, 2024Four units as-of-right
CampbelltonNew Brunswick4.5130460February 20, 2024Four units as-of-right
Cap-AcadieNew Brunswick253360March 4, 2024
Cape Breton / Unama’kiNova Scotia13.33673,286February 22, 2024Six units by right
CaraquetNew Brunswick2.7300 (4 communities)3100 (4 communities)March 1, 2024
ChampdoréNew Brunswick3.8198 (3 communities)1800 (3 communities)March 4, 2024
Channel-Port aux BasquesNewfoundland3.390390February 19, 2024
CharlottetownPrince Edward Island103001,000February 9, 2024LetterFour units by right, more density near UPEIFour storeys 800 m from UPEIReport
ChesterNova Scotia2330 (3 communities)1800 (3 communities)March 11, 2024Report
Communities in Alberta (Banff, Sylvan Lake, Bow Island, Westlock, Smoky Lake, Duchess)Alberta13.84003,100February 19, 2024
ComoxBritish Columbia5.2See VictoriaSee VictoriaFebruary 16, 2024Four units as-of-right
CoquitlamBritish Columbia256502,800February 9, 2024Action Plan
CornwallPrince Edward Island4.3140500February 23, 2024
County of AntigonishNova Scotia1.993 (total Town and County)270 (total Town and County)March 13, 2024Report
EdmontonAlberta1755,20022,000February 21, 2024Action PlanThree storeys, eight unitsReport
FrederictonNew Brunswick103002,500January 22, 2024Action PlanFour units as-of-rightReport
GibsonsBritish Columbia2.158900March 14, 2024Action PlanMedium-density and multi-family housing like townhouses and multiplexes
Grand-BouctoucheNew Brunswick2.9198 (3 communities)1800 (3 communities)March 4, 2024
GuelphOntario21.47509,450January 12, 2024Action PlanFour units as-of-rightReport
HalifaxNova Scotia79.32,6008,866October 12, 2023Action PlanLetterFour units by right, four storeysThree storeysReport
HamiltonOntario932,6009,000October 10, 2023Action PlanLetterFour units as-of-right
Indian Island First NationNew Brunswick0.4198 (3 communities)1800 (3 communities)March 4, 2024
IqaluitNunavut8.91601,450January 5, 2024Action PlanSix storeys by rightReport
KelownaBritish Columbia31.595020,000October 25, 2023Action PlanLetter
Kings CountyNova Scotia6330 (3 communities)1800 (3 communities)March 11, 2024Report
KingstonOntario27.69004,800January 18, 2024Action PlanFour units as-of-right
KitchenerOntario42.41,20037,500November 3, 2023LetterFour units by rightFour units as-of-rightReport
LondonOntario742,000UnspecifiedSeptember 13, 2023Action PlanLetterFour units by rightFour units as-of-rightReport
LunenburgNova Scotia1.1330 (3 communities)1800 (3 communities)March 11, 2024Report
MarathonOntario1.960300February 20, 2024
MarkhamOntario58.81,6406,630March 12, 2024Four units as-of-rightReport
MiltonOntario228004,700January 22, 2024Action PlanLetterFour units as-of-right
MississaugaOntario1133,00035,200December 18, 2023Action PlanLetterFour units by rightYes, via strong mayor directiveReport
MonctonNew Brunswick15.54905,500November 16, 2023LetterFour units as-of-right
Mount PearlNewfoundland6.11802,000February 26, 2024Report
New GlasgowNova Scotia3.31902,100February 23, 2024
North GrenvilleOntario5.21701,700March 1, 2024Action PlanUp to three units on serviced lotsReport
North VancouverBritish Columbia18.65003,100March 1, 2024Action PlanFour, six, and eight units as-of-right, higher residential housing density near the urban core and close to transitReport
Nunavut (Province)Nunavut274593,100January 5, 2024
OakvilleOntarioAction PlanLetterFour units by right, density near Sheridan CollegeFour units by right, density near Sheridan CollegeReport
OttawaOntario176.34,40032,600February 12, 2024Action PlanFour units as-of-right
PembertonBritish Columbia2.7981,995March 6, 2024Medium-density duplex and multi-family housing such as townhouses and multiplexes, and higher density as-of-right in specific areasReport
PictouNova Scotia0.775See New GlasgowSee New GlasgowFebruary 23, 2024
Quebec (Province)Quebec9008,000 social and affordable unitsNovember 9, 2023
ReginaSaskatchewan351,0003,000February 9, 2024Action PlanLetterFour storeys within 400m of frequent transitFour storeys within 400m of frequent transitReport
RichmondBritish Columbia361,0003,100January 22, 2024
Richmond HillOntario3178041,500November 27, 2023Action PlanLetter
Saint JohnNew Brunswick9.12851,700January 17, 2024Action PlanFour units as-of-rightReport
SaskatoonSaskatchewan41.394025,200October 16, 2023Action PlanLetterFour storeys within 800m of rapid transitFour units by right, four storeys within 800m of rapid transitReport
ShipaganNew Brunswick2.3300 (4 communities)3100 (4 communities)March 1, 2024
SquamishBritish Columbia72001,300January 23, 2024Action Plan
St. CatharinesOntario25.770012,000January 17, 2024Action PlanFour units as-of-rightReport
St. John'sNewfoundland10.42804,100March 14, 2024LetterFour units by right, cut permit timesFour units as-of-rightReport
StratfordPrince Edward Island51802,000March 14, 2024Report
SummersidePrince Edward Island5.8132725January 9, 2024Four units by right
SurreyBritish Columbia95.62,80016,500January 10, 2024Action PlanReconsider Metro Van DCC increasesNoReport
TecumsehOntario4.41375,850March 4, 2024Action PlanReport
Three RiversPrince Edward Island3.4116400March 15, 2024Report
Thunder BayOntario20.76006,500February 29, 2024Action PlanFour units as-of-rightReport
TorontoOntario47112,00053,000December 21, 2023Action PlanLetterMore height and density near transit, like BCMore height and density near transit, like BC
Town of AntigonishNova Scotia1.393 (total Town and County)270 (total Town and County)March 13, 2024Report
Township of WoolwichOntario6.71901,600February 22, 2024Four units as-of-right
TracadieNew Brunswick2.5300 (4 communities)3100 (4 communities)March 1, 2024Four units as-of-right
VancouverBritish Columbia1153,20040,000December 15, 2023Action PlanOff-arterial housing
VaughanOntario591,70040,000October 5, 2023Action PlanLetter(no further requirements)Four units as-of-right
VictoriaBritish Columbia1890016,000February 16, 2024Six units by right
WaterlooOntario2265015,000February 2, 2024Four storeys city-wideReport
West HantsNova Scotia1401,500March 12, 2024
WestvilleNova Scotia1.5See New GlasgowSee New GlasgowFebruary 23, 2024
WhitbyOntario2565018,000January 23, 2024Four units as-of-right
WhitehorseYukon111903,900February 28, 2024Report
WindsorOntarioDenied due to insufficient applicationFour units by rightReport
WinnipegManitoba1223,16615,000December 20, 2023Action PlanLetterFour storeys within 800m of transitFour units by right, Four storeys within 800m of transitReport
WolfvilleNova Scotia1.845280February 21, 2024Action Plan
Maple RidgeBritish ColumbiaDenied due to program funding maxed outReport
LangleyBritish ColumbiaDenied due to program funding maxed outReport
Port CoquitlamBritish ColumbiaDenied due to program funding maxed outReport
White RockBritish ColumbiaDenied due to program funding maxed outReport
DeltaBritish ColumbiaDenied due to program funding maxed outReport
BellevilleOntario22.3DeniedReport
Quinte WestOntario3DeniedAction PlanDidn't propose four units as-of-right
Prince Edward CountyOntario14.2DeniedReport

Data is gathered from CMHC updates, Howard Chai at Storeys and Vancouver Needs More Housing, an excellent Substack about Canadian housing by Russil Wvong, a software developer based in Vancouver and federal Liberal riding chair for Vancouver Kingsway.

What is the Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF)?

The Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) is a federally-funded, application-based program and part of the federal National Housing Strategy (NHS) which aims to increase the supply of market housing by incentivizing municipalities to make changes that will:

  • Grow housing supply faster than their historical average
  • Increase densification
  • Speed-up approval times
  • Tackle NIMBYism and establishing inclusionary zoning bylaws
  • Encourage public transit-oriented development

Municipalities are given money in exchange for making lasting structural and regulatory changes that will make it easier to create new housing.

The top priority for any municipality looking to get federal funding is to end exclusionary zoning:

  • Upzoning: Stop low-density zoning and regulation that excludes housing types such as affordable and social housing in residential areas.
  • Encourage high density by allowing mixed-use development and high-density residential as-of-right within proximity to urban cores and transit corridors.
  • Adopting by-laws to adopt more as-of-right zoning measures, from the number of units to storeys.
HAF best practices – CMHC

First introduced in the Government of Canada’s 2022 Budget and launched in March 2023, it is a $4B initiative from the federal Liberal government that will run until 2026-27. The first announcement was in September 2023, for London, Ontario.

Progress on the HAF and other NHS programs are updated quarterly at placetocallhome.ca. The Housing Funding Initiatives Map shows the social, affordable and market housing that have been developed with NHS funding.

For more details on the program’s impact, read the statement on the Housing Accelerator Fund progress from the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities. Here, you’ll find examples of letters from Minister Fraser to municipalities that have been approved for Housing Accelerator Funding. These letters can provide you with more insights into how this program is removing barriers to housing supply and improving affordability.

How does it work?

To get the money, municipalities must submit an application including an action plan with at least 7 different initiatives to grow housing supply and speed up housing approvals, and to:

  • Develop an action plan as part of their HAF application. The purpose of the action plan is to outline supply growth targets and specific initiatives to grow housing supply and speed up housing approvals.
  • Commit to a housing supply growth target within the action plan that increases the average annual rate of growth by at least 10%. The annual growth rate must also exceed 1.1% (the national average).
  • Complete or update a housing needs assessment report. This requirement may be waived if the applicant recently completed or updated a housing needs assessment.

The action plan will include:

  • A housing supply growth target, which reflects the total number of permitted housing units projected with HAF
  • Additional targets related to the type of housing projected, as well as affordable housing
  • Proposed initiatives such as measures to increase density, revise parking requirements, enhance processes or systems, etc. that will help the applicant achieve their committed targets and support the objectives of the program. There is flexibility for CMHC to consider alternative initiatives proposed by applicants.

In practice, common initiatives include:

  • 4 units as-of-right
  • Medium-density and multi-family housing like townhouses and multiplexes
  • Reduce or eliminate off-street parking requirements for housing developments
  • Strategy to develop municipally-owned “surplus” lands for affordable and rental housing
  • Waiving fees for affordable and supportive housing development applications
  • Rezoning commercial land to allow for residential and new commercial development
  • Introducing zoning revisions that will remove barriers restricting multi-unit developments
  • Establish pre-approved design plans for medium-density and multi-family homes such as townhouses and multiplexes
  • Implement e-permitting systems for accepting and issuing development permit applications to streamline housing applications and reduce wait times

The funding is flexible so that municipalities can decide what the funds are needed for, such as:

  • Capacity (ie. a surge of planners)
  • Offsets for land purchases
  • Underlying infrastructure
  • Offset policies like inclusionary zoning

Housing Accelerator Fund money is released in installments. After an initial installment, municipal governments must fulfill the requirements as outlined in their agreement with the federal government. Sometimes that means amending an existing policy, other times it may be creating an entirely new program. After meeting the requirements outlined in their agreement, further installments are then released.

What does 4 units as-of-right mean?

A municipal zoning bylaw that allows 4 units “as-of-right” means allowing up to 4 units (“fourplexes”) per existing residential property without the need to apply for rezoning, so the development could be done without public consultation or special permissions.

The 4 units could include:

  • Up to 3 units in primary building, including secondary basement/in-law suite
  • 1 unit in an outbuilding/garage sometimes known as a “laneway suite”, “garden suite” or “coachhouse”

Before the HAF, special zoning approvals were needed to build fourplexes in many Ontario municipalities.

In November 2022, the Ford government mandated triplexes (3 units as-of-right) in Ontario in Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act.

Changing municipal zoning bylaws to allow 4 units as-of-right has been recognized as a “minimum ticket” to receiving HAF funding and are a good example of what is referred to as “missing-middle housing” as they are more affordable.

Example HAF applications

Many municipalities across Canada have accepted the strings attached and been awarded funding.

Municipalities that do not submit sufficient applications have received open letters from Minister of Housing Sean Fraser telling them that in order their application to be approved, they need to do specific things, like allowing fourplexes everywhere, or more height and density near frequent transit.

With few exceptions, they’ve accepted these requirements, in exchange for the one-time funding.

Quebec

Quebec reached an agreement with the federal government to get $900M (around 1/4 of the HAF), matched by the Quebec government, to build 23,000 additional homes, with 8,000 being non-market housing. Quebec’s estimate of the cost to build a non-market home is considerably lower than $500K: the combined federal and provincial funding is $1.8B, which would build 8000 homes if they’re $225K each.

In Quebec, unlike the rest of the country, there’s a provincial law which prevents municipalities from negotiating directly with the federal government. (Municipalities are creations of the province, so they only have powers which are delegated to them by the province.)

Vancouver Needs More Housing

Kitchener, Ontario awarded $42.4M

On October 17, 2023 Kitchener city council voted unanimously to allow four units per lot. On November 3, 2023 Sean Fraser announced that he had approved Kitchener’s Housing Accelerator application, providing $42.4 million for the city to fast track 1,200 housing units over the next 3 years and 37,500 homes over the next 10 years.

If spent directly by the federal government to build homes, $42M would build about 80 homes at $500K each. However, by using that money to make it easier for homes to be built, the 3-year target is 15x that, and the 10-year target is more than 400x.

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie uses Strong Mayor powers to approve fourplexes

October 3, 2023 – Sean Fraser wrote a letter to Mayor Bonnie Crombie requesting 4 additions to their application before their funding could be approved, including 4 units as-of-right city-wide:

October 11, 2023 – Mississauga council failed to pass a motion supporting fourplexes in a 5-5 tie, so the city was denied funding believed to be $120M.

voting in favour along with the Ward 2 representative

  • For: Parrish, councillors Chris Fonseca, Joe Horneck and Martin Reid, Alvin Tedjo
  • Against: Brad Butt, Damerla, Kovac, Mahoney and Dasko against.

Housing Minister Sean Fraser wrote the following letter to Acting Mayor Chris Fonseca on October 19, 2023:

October 20, 2023 – Mayor Crombie used her strong mayor powers to override council’s vote and allow 4 residential units as-of-right city-wide:

Calgary

  • June 2022 – Established a housing and affordability task force
  • May 2023 – Released its recommendations
  • June 6, 2023 – Council had voted 8-7 to reject the recommendations, fearing voter reaction
  • June 7, 2023 – Council voted 10-5 to reconsider, and subsequently voted 14-1 to move ahead with an amended motion, allowing more time for discussion and the final decision.
  • September 14, 2023 – Sean Fraser wrote an open letter to Calgary mayor Jyoti Gondek saying that unless Calgary city council approved its missing-middle plan, Calgary would not receive Housing Accelerator funding:

I understand that key elements of this housing action plan will either be approved or rejected at this week’s Council meeting. In light of this, I wish to inform you that Calgary’s Housing Accelerator Fund application will not be approved unless you follow through to create the new missing middle zoning designations of H-GO and R-CG, as you laid out in your application. Otherwise said, in order to receive a positive decision from me on your application – you must end exclusionary zoning in your city.

This is intergovernmental relations as diplomacy (“persuasion, compromise, pressure”), with Sean Fraser using the Housing Accelerator Fund as a negotiating element (“to receive a positive decision from me”), rather than a technocratic approval to be made by someone within CMHC.

Russil Wvong

September 16, 2023 – Calgary approved the plan on a 12-3 vote.

Municipalities denied funding

Windsor refuses to change zoning bylaw from 3 units as-of-right to 4, denied $40M to $70M in funding

A staff report to council warned:

Significant uptake could have an impact on established neighbourhoods by changing the landscape that residents did not anticipate, and making demands on services such as sewer capacity, traffic, parking, enhance flooding issues, etc

Increasing the number of units permitted must consider the infrastructure and environmental impacts.

City of Windsor staff

On January 22, 2024, Windsor city council reaffirmed their existing zoning rules that permit up to 3 residential units as-of-right in an 8-3 vote, refusing to change zoning rules to allow for greater housing density. Councillors Kieran McKenzie, Fabio Costante and Renaldo Agostino voted against reaffirming the zoning bylaws.

Without question, there is an urgent need for more homes, here and all across the country

As mayor of the city of Windsor, I am steadfast in my commitment to safeguard Windsor neighbourhoods and the vital infrastructure that supports them.”

I refuse to compromise our neighbourhoods and to do away with fair public consultation with our residents in exchange for uncertain funding that will be tied to sacrificing the makeup of our communities.

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens

On January 31, 2024, Federal Housing Minister Sean Fraser sent a rejection letter to Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens:

Windsor had already been allowing 3 units as-of-right including one in a main dwelling and one as an accessory dwelling unit since 2020, so 4 units-by-right would have added one additional possible unit.

Windsor would have received at least $40M, and up to $70M in federal funding from the HAF.

Prince Edward County

The County applied for up to $14.2 million after completing the Prince Edward County Housing Plan 2023 to 2028.

Sources

Leave a comment

All comments are reviewed prior to appearing on the site.

Rules:

  • Remember the human. No harassment, bullying, and threats of violence.
  • Be respectful. Provide constructive feedback on specific policies and actions.
  • Stay on topic. Relevance to the subject of the post or to the previous comment.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Do you follow municipal politics in your area?

Join us in our Discord server!