Canada and Quebec announce agreement to speed up housing construction

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Government of Canada will provide Quebec with $900 million, matching funds from the province to speed up construction of housing units across the province.

Funding is expected to create 8,000 social and affordable housing units, 500 earmarked for clients who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, along with tens of thousands of additional housing units over the next few years in Quebec, and will also bring about regulatory reforms.

“The current housing crisis is a complex problem that is affecting many Quebecers. I’m proud to announce, in partnership with the federal government, an $900 million agreement, free of conditions, to build more affordable housing. In this week’s economic update, we also added $900 million for housing, bringing the total combined investment to $1.8 billion,” said Quebec Premier Francois Legault. “Everyone must work together to speed up housing construction, and Quebec is doing its part.”

The Quebec government will also set up an interdepartmental project acceleration unit in co-operation with Quebec municipalities, and will adopt new government policies for land use planning, with housing construction indicators on which municipalities will have to base their targets.

The province intends to propose legislative amendments – these are currently in the drafting phase and will be subject to adoption by the National Assembly – to improve urban densification and facilitate the authorization of residential building construction, thus reducing related delays.

“This is excellent news for households looking for affordable housing, and for municipalities and organizations trying to develop this type of project for their residents at a time of rising construction costs,” said France-Élaine Duranceau, Quebec minister responsible for housing. “I’m pleased with the healthy partnership that Minister Fraser and I were able to build during our discussions, which made it possible for Quebec’s priorities and needs to be taken into account in this agreement.

“With this major additional investment in housing construction, we need to move quickly from financing to building projects. Each partner will have to act accordingly. For our part, we will make use of our existing financial vehicles to speed up the flow of the assistance being provided.”

Projects must meet the objectives of the Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) and the requirements of applicable Quebec programs and initiatives. The SHQ is also committed to ensuring that to the extent possible, project selection takes into account regional distribution in conjunction with regional needs.

The HAF is a $4 billion initiative launched by the Government of Canada in March 2023 to provide funding to accelerate the construction of 100,000 new homes across Canada.

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