Financial Incentives for Affordable Housing

Last week, the City of Toronto has released the 2020 Open Door Call for applications.

What are the different programs, incentive tools and streams that exist today in order to accelerate affordable housing construction?

Here’s a summary of the municipal, provincial and federal tools:

Through our Affordable Housing Centre, we provide a hub of resources to help facilitate the creation of new affordable housing or preserve existing affordable housing. Groups in the public, private and non-profit sectors rely on the Centre for affordable housing knowledge and expertise. We offer many interactive tools, as well as Canada’s largest inventory of housing information, research and market analyses.

City of Toronto Incentives

  • Open Door: Program (RFP) issued annually, offering some capital-funding, limited fee-waivers & a streamlined planning service for affordable-rental units with a 40 year period of affordability.
  • CreateTO Housing Now: Long-Term lease of surplus City-Lands. Targeted to developers with mandatory partnering with non-profits, supportive/affordable housing providers for affordable-units with a 99 year period of affordability.

Provincial Incentives


Federal Incentives

  • National Housing Strategy (NHS): a 10-year, $40-billion strategy announced in 2017 to be primarily administered by the CMHC. 
  • National Housing Co-Investment Fund: the $15.9-billion fund aims to ensure that existing rental housing is not lost to disrepair and to develop new affordable housing integrated with social support and services.
    • $4.7 billion will come in the form of direct financial contributions with the remaining $11.2 billion offered as low-interest loans.
  • Rental Construction Financing Initiative (RCFi): the $3.75-billion, four-year Rental Housing Construction Initiative provides low-interest loans to encourage the construction of rental housing across Canada.
  • Investing in Canada Plan: investment of more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.
  • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Incentives: Predevelopment Seed Grants and Loans (max $150,000 grant balance up to $500,000 loan).
  • Other Funding Sources: FCM / grant support for sustainable affordable housing and energy efficiency.


Joint Provincial-Federal Incentives

  • Canada-Ontario Housing Benefit (COHB) program: increase the affordability of rental housing by providing an income-tested, portable housing benefit payment directly to eligible households.
  • Investment in Affordable Housing for Ontario Program: $800 million in federal and provincial funding over a six-year delivery period, ending in 2020.
    • Funding for affordable housing projects, including rental housing programs, homeownership programs, home renovation/multi-unit rehabilitation programs.

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