Canada’s capital is the latest city to reach a Housing Accelerator Fund agreement with the federal government.
Ottawa will receive $176.3M under the deal, which will help fast-track the creation of over 4,400 housing units over the next three years. Over the next decade, the funds will spur the construction of more than 41,500 homes.
"We're in a housing crisis and the only way we're going to solve this challenge is by working together collaboratively and directly with municipalities who know the real needs of their communities,” said Mona Fortier, Deputy Government Whip and Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Vanier
“The Housing Accelerator Fund is an acknowledgement that the status quo in how we build homes is no longer acceptable. By working together, collaboratively with the City of Ottawa and our government we're going to get more homes built for the people of Ottawa."
The Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) is a $4B initiative intended to speed up the creation of 100,000 new homes across Canada by 2026-2027. Since September, over $3B has been dolled out to 34 cities, including Toronto, Kelowna, and Richmond Hill.
To access funding, local governments are required to submit an application outlining their supply growth targets, as well as specific initiatives they plan to undertake in an effort to boost supply and speed up approvals.
As part of its action plan, Ottawa will eliminate or simplify rezoning requirements to allow for low-density area intensification, expand existing affordable rental programs, and modernize policy and regulatory frameworks. The latter includes digitization and leveraging office buildings and city-owned land for housing.
As part of a comprehensive by-law review process, Ottawa City Council approved a motion to permit four units as-of-right city-wide in November. Under its HAF agreement, the bylaw will be introduced in the first half of 2024.
Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe said advancing the bylaw will allow for the creation of higher densities in a “balanced approach city-wide."
“The funding announced today represents a significant investment towards made-in-Ottawa solutions to get homes built faster, and support the systemic changes needed to address our housing challenges,” Sutcliffe said.
David McGuinty, Member of Parliament for Ottawa South added that the funding will streamline the approval processes for affordable, missing-middle, and market rental housing, helping to “realize a more inclusive and livable community.”
“This is a huge investment in building more homes, and especially more affordable homes, for Ottawa," said Anita Vandenbeld, Member of Parliament for Ottawa West-Nepean. "Together, our governments are creating the Ottawa of the future — a thriving community where everyone has access to a home they can afford."