March 3rd, 2024

Housing minister warns against resistance to ending exclusionary zoning

By The Canadian Press on January 17, 2024.

Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities Sean Fraser speaks to reporters following a meeting in Halifax, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024. Canada's housing minister is warning that municipalities won't be successful in their applications for the federal Housing Accelerator Fund if they refuse to ban exclusionary zoning. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

TORONTO – Canada’s Housing Minister is warning that municipalities without a ban on exclusionary zoning will not succeed with applications for federal housing accelerator funding.

Speaking Wednesday at an Empire Club of Canada luncheon in Toronto, Sean Fraser said a willingness to adopt zoning reforms has been key for the 19 communities that signed deals with Ottawa.

Fraser says the federal government has seen “a change in approach overnight” on the part of cities that were initially resistant to such changes, as competition for the money has prompted some jurisdictions to become more open to reform.

The Housing Accelerator Fund, which is meant to spur the creation of housing supply, includes $4 billion in federal funding for Canadian municipalities and Indigenous governments.

Fund administrator Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. has said an end to exclusionary zoning is among best practices for successful applications.

That includes getting rid of low-density zoning and regulations that exclude affordable and social housing in residential areas, and instead allowing mixed-use development and high-density residential within proximity to urban cores and transit corridors.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2024.

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