On Tuesday, the Government of Canada announced that it has reached an agreement with the City of Burnaby regarding their Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) application, which will see British Columbia's third-largest city receive $43M towards new housing.
The $43M is expected to fast track 1,290 housing units over the next three years and 11,340 homes over the next 10 years.
HAF money is released in installments. After an initial installment, municipal governments must fulfill the requirements as outlined in their agreements — amending policy or approving new policy, as two examples — before further installments are released.
"Burnaby's action plan commits to seven local initiatives that address the region's increasing housing demand," the federal government said. "Zoning reforms and approval process improvements will increase housing diversity and affordability to better respond to the diverse needs of the community. The funding will enable gentle density and missing middle housing, streamline the development process with the use of technology, and support the Burnaby Housing Authority in the delivery of new non-market housing."
The City previously announced that it is creating the Burnaby Housing Authority, a municipal housing corporation, with the authority set to begin operations by this time next year.
Burnaby's application was actually approved in September, with Minister of Housing, Infrastructure, and Communities Sean Fraser sending a letter to Mayor of Burnaby Mike Hurley informing him of the approval — citing much of the same reasons the announcement on Tuesday did.
A formal announcement was planned for the following week, but Fraser then suspended it after learning that the Metro Vancouver Regional District — of which Burnaby is a member — was proposing an increase to development cost charges (DCCs), which many saw as counterproductive towards the development of new housing.
The Metro Vancouver Regional District ultimately still went through with the DCC increases in October after extensive and contentious deliberations, and no Housing Accelerator Fund announcements have been made for any Metro Vancouver municipalities since then, until the announcement for the City of Vancouver last week.
The two consecutive announcements are a sign that the tensions have perhaps eased, with an announcement for Surrey — which had its application approved and then suspended along with Burnaby's — likely also incoming.
Fraser, however, was notably absent from Burnaby's announcement on Tuesday, and it will be telling if he is again absent for Surrey's announcement, after being present for Vancouver and Kelowna's.
The Housing Accelerator Fund was first announced by the Government of Canada in 2021, but did not officially launch until earlier this year. Numerous cities in Ontario have received funding, with funding for Mississauga also announced this week.