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Helping build more homes, faster in Halifax

Press Release

October 12, 2023

With federal funding, and federal leadership we are changing how cities let housing get built in their communities. With a greater focus on higher density housing, student housing, homes near transit and affordable housing we are going to get more homes built for Canadians at prices they can afford.

Today, the Government of Canada and the Halifax Regional Municipality announced that they have reached an agreement to fast track 2,600 housing units over the next three years. This work will help spur the construction of over 8,866 homes over the next decade.

The agreement, under the Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) will provide over $79.3 million to eliminate barriers to building the housing we need, faster. Through its Action Plan, Halifax will improve permitting processes, reduce upfront costs for permitting, and incentivize the use of pre-approved building plans. It will also develop an incentive program for conversions from commercial to residential and create incentives for small scale residential. Halifax will also encourage development along transit corridors, expand the current Affordable Housing Grant program, update its heritage preservation policy and resource a program to identify surplus land for affordable housing.

Through the agreement, Halifax will also allow for the construction of four residential units on one lot, increase density and student rentals within walking distance of post-secondary institutions, and create an affordable housing strategy, including a non-market component, with staff dedicated to it. Additionally, Halifax has committed to zoning changes that will increase density via greater height, reduced parking requirements and increased as-of-right development approvals. These initiatives are going to significantly improve access to housing in the Halifax Regional Municipality.

The Housing Accelerator Fund is helping cut red tape and fast track at least 100,000 new homes for people in towns, cities, and Indigenous communities across Canada. It asks for innovative action plans from local governments, and once approved, provides upfront funding to ensure the timely building of new homes, as well as additional funds upon delivering results. Local governments are encouraged to think big and be bold in their approaches, which could include accelerating project timelines, allowing increased housing density, and encouraging affordable housing units.

The Government of Canada is making life more affordable for Canadians – and housing is key to our work.  We will continue to work with provincial, territorial, and municipal governments, as well as Indigenous partners, to keep building more homes for Canadians, faster.

“Today’s announcement will help fast track over 2,600 permitted units in the next three years and 8,866 homes over the next decade. By working with cities, mayors and all levels of government we are helping to get more homes built for Canadians at prices they can afford.”
— The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities

“Whether you’re a growing family looking for a 3-bedroom apartment in Dartmouth, a displaced senior wanting to stay in our community, or a couple looking to buy your first condo—I want you to know that we are working together with the Halifax Regional Municipality so that you and your family can live and thrive here. Safe and reliable housing a human right, and today’s announcement will get more homes built faster in Dartmouth—Cole Harbour and across our municipality.”
— Darren Fisher, Member for Parliament of Dartmouth-Cole Harbour

“Tackling housing affordability requires focused attention from all orders of government. With this funding announcement from the federal government, HRM will be able to get rid of key bottlenecks that have hindered the construction of much needed homes in our city, proving that working together is how you get real results.”
— Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax

“Challenging moments like this one require big, transformative solutions. Communities like mine get that, and our governments do too. To keep people housed and prices reasonable, we must rapidly accelerate new builds and remove barriers to denser, better-connected cities. I’m thrilled that the Halifax Regional Municipality has responded to our call to action with an innovative approach to get that done. This is a testament to what we can accomplish when we work hand-in-hand on the issues that matter most to Canadians.”
— Lena Metlege Diab, Member of Parliament for Halifax West

“Housing is an extremely important issue in Nova Scotia today, and our government wants to work closely with all levels of government across the province to help support housing needs in urban, rural and Indigenous communities. These types of projects will make various types of housing more accessible and address the challenges of today and tomorrow.”
— Darrell Samson, Member of Parliament for Sackville-Preston-Chezzetcook

“As one of the fastest growing cities in the country, our municipality has been focused on housing supply for years, and we welcome the opportunities this funding provides. Through its cooperative approach, the Housing Accelerator Fund leverages the role cities play in meeting Canada’s social and economic goals.”
— Mike Savage, Mayor of Halifax Regional Municipality

Quick facts:

Today’s announcement was made by the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities, alongside Darren Fisher, Member of Parliament for Dartmouth – Cole Harbour, Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax, and Mike Savage, Mayor of Halifax Regional Municipality.

  • HAF funding will support the city in updating residential zoning to increase density via greater height, reduced parking requirements and increased as-of-right development approvals and reduce barriers to housing construction.
  • Federal HAF funding is subject to conditions outlined in the agreement, including Council’s approval of additional zoning changes.
  • Initiatives in Halifax’s Action Plan include:
    • Streamlined operational process and customer support services for permitting
    • Reduce upfront cost for permit application
    • Encourage conversion of non-residential buildings to residential units
    • Encourage higher density developments along bus rapid transit corridors
    • Make it easier to include housing in heritage redevelopment projects
    • Work with partners to offer incentives that encourage additional density in residential neighbourhoods
    • Partner with the private sector to develop pre-approved building plans to speed up pace of approvals
    • Expand Affordable Housing Grant program
    • Make surplus land available for affordable housing through a new program
    • Halifax will also implement additional measures that will allow for more density across the city, including:
      • Increasing height in Established Residential 3 Zones;
      • Increasing height in Higher Order Residential and Corridor Zones;
      • Increasing height and Floor Area Ratio (FAR) increases in Centre Zones;
      • Increasing density near universities;
      • Removing more minimum parking requirements;
      • Increasing as-of-right development approvals; and
      • Working with the Province to enable universal discharge of DAs.
  • Launched in March 2023, the Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) is a $4 billion initiative from the Government of Canada that will run until 2026-27. The HAF is part of Canada’s National Housing Strategy (NHS), an $82+ billion plan that has already committed to the creation and repair of over 400,000 units. Progress on programs and initiatives under the NHS are updated quarterly at The Housing Funding Initiatives Map shows affordable housing projects that have been developed through the NHS.
  • Since the creation of the NHS, the Government of Canada has committed over $36.82 billion to support the creation of over 113,467 units and the repair of over 126,011 units. These measures prioritize those in greatest need, including seniors, Indigenous Peoples, people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, and women and children fleeing violence.

Associated Links:

For information on this news release contact:

Kevin Collins
Office of the Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities

Media Relations
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation


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