Building more homes that Canadians can afford in Cape Breton / Unama’ki

2024 February 22

The status quo on home building in this country isn’t working. We need to build more homes and make sure they’re affordable – and we need to do it faster. That’s what today’s announcement in Cape Breton and Membertou First Nation is all about. Let’s get homes built at prices Canadians can afford.

The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Right now, in communities across the country, building affordable housing is too hard. That’s why the federal government is working with municipalities to break down barriers and build more homes, faster so Canadians – whether they are just starting out, growing their families, or aging in security – can find a place to call home, at a price they can afford.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that the federal government has reached agreements with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and Membertou First Nation in Nova Scotia to fast-track 367 new housing units over the next three years. This work will help spur the construction of more than 3,286 homes over the next decade and help meet the demand in the region.

Under the Housing Accelerator Fund, these agreements will provide a total of $13.3 million to eliminate barriers to building the housing we need, faster. The first agreement, with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, will create more housing options in the region, including allowing six units as-of-right in serviceable areas, and using pre-approved building plans to fast-track construction, from apartments to six-plexes. The municipality will also focus on building more affordable units and cut construction time and costs by providing financial incentives to builders. In addition, they will build more homes near transit and reduce parking requirements, removing barriers and helping make housing as accessible as possible. Together, these initiatives are going to improve the way affordable housing is built and delivered in the Cape Breton region.

Stable, reliable, and affordable housing is also a fundamental part of our commitment to responding to the needs of Indigenous partners and advancing reconciliation. That is why, under the second agreement, Membertou First Nation will receive more than $1.9 million to support new housing and infrastructure upgrades. The funding will allow Membertou First Nation to recruit housing administration staff and construction managers so that projects get off the ground quicker. The funds will also help complete critical infrastructure work in the community, including improving access to bridges, water, and sewer services.

The Housing Accelerator Fund is helping cut red tape and fast-track the construction of over 600,000 new homes for people in towns, cities, and Indigenous communities across Canada over the next decade. 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 supporting the middle class – and housing is key to that work. Our plan to double the rate of housing construction over the next decade will help build the housing supply we need. We are working with provincial, territorial, and municipal governments, as well as Indigenous partners, to build more homes for Canadians, faster, and make life better for everyone.