CFAA work on the new Housing Accelerator Fund

A major, concrete platform promise of the federal Liberals, echoed in the Throne Speech, is to create a Housing Accelerator Fund to support the municipalities in speeding up approvals for new housing.

Most of CFAA’s members associations support faster project approvals for three main reasons:

  • They have members who want to build.
  • Their cities need more rental housing.
  • More rental housing will take some of the pressure off the rental market so that there will be less demand for tighter rent control or other regulations.

CFAA has long supported more rental development where it is needed, and not where such new development is not needed.

The Liberal campaign promise about the Fund

In their election platform, under the title “Help Cities Accelerate Housing Construction”, the Liberals said:

“Overly complex, backlogged, and under-resourced municipal zoning and permitting systems are slowing the pace of building much-needed homes.

“A re-elected Liberal government will:

  • “Invest $4 billion in a new Housing Accelerator Fund which will grow the annual housing supply in the country’s largest cities every year, creating a target of 100,000 new middle-class homes by 2024-25. This application-based fund will offer support to municipalities that:
    • grow housing supply faster than their historical average;
    • increase densification; speed-up approval times;
    • tackle NIMBYism and establish inclusionary zoning bylaws; and
    • encourage public transit-oriented development.

“This fund will support a wide range of eligible municipal investments, including red tape reduction efforts, and reward cities and communities that build more homes, faster.

  • Help speed up the time it takes to build more homes by investing in e-permitting technology and help communities streamline the planning process.
  • Work with municipalities to identify vacant or underused property that should be converted to housing on the principle of use it or lose it.”

The key actions in the plan

The key actions within the Accelerator Fund appear to be:

  1. supporting a wide range of eligible municipal investments, including technology investments and red tape reduction efforts, seeking the production of 100,000 new middle-class homes by 2024-25 (over and above the 725,000 which would be built without the Fund based on recent trends).
  2. rewarding cities and communities that build more homes, faster, and
  3. identifying vacant or underused property that should be converted to housing.

CFAA’s information from CMHC

CMHC has confirmed that:

  • the Housing Accelerator Fund is a key government priority;
  • the target of new “middle-class homes” means that the Fund is to seek faster development of market housing; and
  • the Fund will probably be focused on the major cities, where immigrants are expected to settle (although there is always pressure to spread federal money across Canada on a per capital basis). The specific location of the highest and fastest rising house prices and rents may also impact on the geographic allocation.

However, it is not clear that the Fund is meant to assist in speeding up the approval of market rental homes, just as much as it is meant to speed up the approval of single-family homes and condominiums.

CFAA’s input to CMHC and the government

CFAA will be in ongoing contact CMHC and the relevant political people to emphasize the importance of rental housing for meeting Canadas’ housing needs, and the need that rental housing approvals be included in the Fund’s priorities.

While the outcomes of the Fund should be faster, more and denser development approvals, CFAA says the means to achieve such housing approvals should be open and flexible. CFAA has provided numerous examples in the following areas:

  • Technology
  • Staffing
  • Red-tape reduction efforts
  • Better management practices to avoid delays
  • Rule changes (mostly for provinces but could be municipalities)
    • Substantive rule changes
    • Procedural rule changes

Thanks to everyone who has provided input to date. If you would like to participate in further contact with CMHC about the Housing Accelerator Fund, please email