On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, on behalf of the Government of Canada, announced that the City of Vancouver’s application for the Housing Accelerator Fund had been approved, and that Vancouver would be receiving $115M.
The $115M will go towards fast-tracking over 3,200 new housing units over the next three years, the federal government says, and will also spur the construction of over 40,000 homes across the next 10 years.
“It will allow for high density development including multiplexes and apartment buildings, help fast-track development processes, and build housing near public transit,” the Government of Canada said. “As part of the agreement, Vancouver will work to streamline re-zoning laws, expand affordable rental programs, cut red tape, and unlock non-market housing. These initiatives are going to significantly improve the way housing is built in one of Canada’s largest cities.”
Funding that comes from the Housing Accelerator Fund is released in installments. After an initial installment, municipal governments are then required to fulfill the requirements as outlined in their agreements — amending policy, approving new policy, as two examples — before further installments are released.
“Like so many cities across Canada, Vancouver needs more homes, and fast,” Trudeau said at a press conference. “That’s why we’re working with mayors across the country to cut red tape and change the way we build housing. Today’s announcement with Vancouver will help build more homes, faster, so that every Canadian has a good place to call their own.”
In a press release, the federal government noted that the provincial government has recently announced a series of new legislation — the transit-oriented development legislation and small-scale multi-unit housing legistlation, among others — and that the funding from the Housing Accelerator Fund will also support the City of Vancouver towards meeting the Province’s initiatives “due to strong program alignment between the Housing Accelerator Fund and the provincial initiatives.”
Provincial Minister of Housing Ravi Kahlon was also in attendance on Friday, along with Mayor of Vancouver Ken Sim, who has spent the week embroiled in a controversy over his decision to abolish the elected Park Board.
“The housing crisis is a nation-wide problem that extends beyond the borders of any single municipality,” Sim said. “The City of Vancouver is grateful to the Government of Canada for their support as we continue working together to build more homes faster and create a brighter future for all Vancouverites.”
In the press release, the Government of Canada also pointed to the City’s Housing Vancouver Strategy, much of which was introduced by the previous administration led by former-Mayor Kennedy Stewart.
The Housing Accelerator Fund was first announced in 2021 but did not officially launch until earlier this year. Cities that have received funding so far include London, Vaughan, Hamilton, Brampton, and Halifax.
In British Columbia, Vancouver is the second municipality to have their application approved, after Kelowna, which received approval in late-October.
The City of Burnaby and City of Surrey both received letters from federal Minister of Housing Sean Fraser in September saying their applications had been approved, but Fraser subsequently suspended the announcements over the Metro Vancouver Regional District’s decision to increase development cost charges. The announcement for Vancouver could potentially be a signal that announcements for other municipalities are coming soon.