Trudeau Announces First Housing Accelerator Fund Deal With London, Ontario

Trudeau Announces First Housing Accelerator Fund Deal With London, Ontario
New homes are constructed in Ottawa on Aug. 14, 2023. (The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick)

The Liberal government announced a $74 million deal with the Ontario city of London to expedite the development of more than 2,000 housing units over the next three years.

“I want to challenge other mayors right across the country to step up with their proposals so we can get building more homes, increasing supply and lowering the prices for families,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said from London on Sept. 13.

The $4 billion Housing Accelerator Fund was funded in Budget 2022 and launched in March. It aims to cut through red tape with as-of-right zoning for high-density housing along transit lines and ameliorate permitting processes. London’s plan also earmarked city-owned lands for additional development.

The government says it is focused on increasing supply to rectify the housing crisis, and the Housing Accelerator Fund will create 100,000 affordable homes through similar deals with municipalities across the country.

The fund also aims to build duplexes, triplexes, and other smaller multifamily dwellings.

“We need to build more homes faster here in London, but also right across the country, because we’re facing a shortage of housing right now, and that’s why prices of homes have become far too high,” Mr. Trudeau said.

“It’s not fair to young people who feel like cities are turning their backs on them. When housing is that expensive, young people feel like cities don’t want them. They feel like they can’t succeed. But if young people can’t succeed in our cities, then where can they succeed?”

Asked by The Epoch Times how many municipalities have applied for funding through the Housing Accelerator Fund, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) wouldn’t provide figures, but said participation has been high across the country.

The fund application window is officially closed, but certain communities with scarcer resources have been granted an extension until Sept. 29.

Housing Minister Sean Fraser was also on hand and said the government would look for ways to reduce builders’ financial burdens, and even teased a more cost-effective way of building homes.

“We will be looking for ways to boost the productive capacity through training, through immigration, and through innovation by having more homes built in factories, among other things,” he said.

Pressed several times by reporters about his housing strategy, Mr. Trudeau talked about the importance of collaboration between all orders of government, the private and public sectors, and nonprofits.

The Sept. 13 press conference began with remarks from London West MP Arielle Kayabaga, a 32-year-old single mother who, days earlier, said she could not afford a home on her parliamentary salary.

According to CMHC, Canada will need 3.5 million new homes by 2030 in order to make them affordable.