After a nearly 18-month journey since its inception in the 2022 federal budget, the federal government has successfully concluded its first partnership with a city through the $4-billion Housing Accelerator Fund.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Wednesday that an agreement of $74 million has been reached with the City of London, Ontario. The pact’s primary objective is to expedite the construction of more than 2,000 additional housing units within three years, with a commitment to deliver thousands more in the years ahead. This partnership empowers the City of London to permit “high-density development” without the cumbersome rezoning process. Additionally, it allows for the constructing of up to four housing units on a single property within low-density neighborhoods.
A Milestone in Housing Collaboration: The federal government’s collaboration with the City of London represents a significant milestone in addressing the nationwide housing challenge. The $74 million allocated from the Housing Accelerator Fund will catalyze the swift creation of over 2,000 housing units within a compact three-year timeline. This initiative aligns seamlessly with the overarching goal of augmenting housing supply and enhancing affordability for Canadians.
Facilitating Streamlined Development: A central component of this agreement is the “high-density development” provision without the demanding rezoning process. This strategic move streamlines the development process, eradicating potential bottlenecks that could hinder the construction of urgently needed housing units. By accommodating higher-density housing options, the City of London can optimize land use efficiently and efficiently meet the needs of its burgeoning population.
Innovative Solutions for Low-Density Areas: In addition to enabling high-density development, the agreement paves the way for constructing up to four housing units on a single property within low-density neighborhoods. This innovative approach addresses the housing scarcity while preserving the distinctive character of existing communities. It empowers the city to maximize available land resources and expand housing choices for its residents.
A Pledge for Change: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emphasized that this partnership signifies a new beginning and transformational change in how cities approach housing construction. “We’re going to use federal leadership and federal funding to change how cities build houses,” stated Housing Minister Sean Fraser during the announcement.
National Implications: This pioneering agreement marks a significant step in addressing housing affordability and sets a precedent for future collaborations between the federal government and other municipalities. It demonstrates a commitment to finding innovative solutions to Canadians’ housing challenges.
Prime Minister Trudeau hinted that this is just the first of many announcements regarding the Housing Accelerator Fund, with more expected in the coming weeks and months. This initiative, initially pledged in the 2021 Liberal election platform, is set to expedite the creation of 100,000 new homes across Canada by 2024–25 as part of a $10-billion housing affordability package outlined in the 2022 budget.
Prime Minister Trudeau also addressed concerns about rising house prices, pledging that they “cannot continue to go up.” He assured Canadian cities would not follow the examples of cities like New York, Paris, London (U.K.), and San Francisco in terms of skyrocketing housing costs.
In response to queries about his leadership, Prime Minister Trudeau remained steadfast, stating, “We’re two years away from the next elections. I’ll continue to do my work. There’s much to do to deliver for Canadians during these difficult times, and I’m enthusiastic and ready to work relentlessly.”