Ontario Premier Doug Ford says the province is opening up funding for housing-enabling infrastructure to more municipalities.
Municipalities had asked the province to change criteria for its $1.2-billion Building Faster Fund so more of them could access money to build infrastructure such as roads and sewers that are needed to support housing.
Late last year, Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Paul Calandra told them no, but Ford told attendees of the Rural Ontario Municipal Association conference Monday that any money unspent through the Building Faster Fund will go to a different fund that all municipalities can access.
The province has assigned housing targets to 50 municipalities and has tied funding under the Building Faster Fund to meeting at least 80 per cent of those targets, but fewer than half of the municipalities met that threshold in 2023.
Municipalities had been pushing Calandra to base their eligibility for the fund on how many building permits they issue rather than on the number of housing starts, since the permits are within their control whereas developers may not start construction because of high interest rates, supply-chain issues or labour shortages.
Ford says the government will take the potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in unused funds from the Building Faster Fund and put them in a different fund for housing-enabling infrastructure that all municipalities can apply for.
"This approach will continue to reward municipalities that hit their targets while supporting much-needed new infrastructure in communities across the province," he said.