Federal Issues--Fall 2016

CMHC Affordable Rental Innovation Fund

The goal of the Affordable Rental Innovation Fund is to encourage new funding models and innovative building techniques in the rental housing sector. We’re looking for unique ideas that will revolutionize the sector moving forward. In the process, the $200M Fund is expected to help create up to 4,000 new affordable units over 5 years and will reduce reliance on long-term government subsidies.
Who is eligible?

Funding is available to eligible individuals, corporations and organizations that want to build affordable rental housing in Canada in response to demonstrated community need. Eligible applicants will include municipalities, private sector developers and builders and non-profit housing providers (including faith-based organizations).
Selection criteria

Applications to the Fund must be for affordable rental housing and must meet the minimum criteria:

• New affordable rental housing units (5 minimum)
• Innovative and unique models of design or financing
• Rental affordability maintained for at least 10 years
• Resource efficiencies in the design
• Accessibility features included
• Plans for viability and sustainability without long-term government subsidies

Projects with added value, for example where designed with higher impact through replicable designs, easy access to transit or where it serves vulnerable constituents, will be reviewed more favourably.

Funding Amounts

Applicants must be able to support the level of funding they require to ensure the project will be viable. The amount and type of funding will vary based on proposals received and CMHC may require security depending on the proposal. In addition to forgivable loans and contributions, innovative funding options will be available to proponents. These options may include: equity capital investments, minority ownership models, dividend payments or other innovative arrangements.

Application and Approval Process

The call for proposals opened on September 30, 2016. Online applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis, and funding announcements will be made every quarter. CMHC will require the ability to use information and ideas submitted by the applicant for research and evaluation, while taking intellectual property rights and confidentiality into consideration. Proposals that meet the criteria will be referred to the i3 Committee for further review. Proposals that may not meet all the criteria but show potential will be referred to an Innovation Lab for further refinement and potential resubmission to the i3 Committee for consideration. If your proposal is not chosen to move forward at either of these levels, you may be invited to resubmit at a later date based on the feedback received.

Funds are available for 5 years or until all funds are assigned, whichever comes first. CMHC has final decision-making authority on the selection of proposals.

The Innovation Lab

The Innovation Lab is an incubation hub within CMHC. The Lab will provide, access to technical resources and input for projects that have great potential but aren’t quite ready for funding. The Innovation Lab will aim to help the project become ready to appear before the i3 Committee.

The i3 Committee

The i3 Committee has representatives from the federal government and experts from various sectors (e.g., financial, lending, academia and innovation). Applicants may have the opportunity to pitch directly to the i3 Committee, who might challenge their proposals to help draw out the most innovative approaches and ideas. The i3 Committee will then make approval and funding recommendations to CMHC.

Questions? Contact an Innovation Fund consultant

Innovation Fund consultants are available to give you more information, guide you through the process and help you to take your idea from vision to reality. You can contact a member of the Innovation Fund team at .


New Rail Safety Program Targeted at Reducing Incidents and Accidents on Rail Lines

The Government of Canada is significantly increasing its investment, and expanding eligibility criteria to reduce injuries and fatalities, and increase public safety around the railway system.

The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, announced the new Rail Safety Improvement Program on October 13 with over $55 million in funding. This new program increases overall funding, expands the list of eligible recipients and broadens the scope of projects that could be funded to enhance rail safety.

Funding will support safety improvements on rail property, along rail lines and at road-rail grade crossings such as flashing lights, bells and/or gates; the use of innovative technologies; outreach, promotional awareness, educational activities and public service announcements, research and studies; as well as the closures of grade crossings that present safety concerns.

The new program builds on three previous rail safety programs: the Grade Crossing Improvement Program (GCIP); the Grade Crossing Closure Program (GCCP); and Operation Lifesaver.

Minister Garneau also launched a call for proposals for 2017-18 under the infrastructure, technology, and research program and the public education and awareness program.

Quick Facts

  • Transport Canada is funding over 380 existing grade crossing improvement projects across the country,
  • The new Rail Safety Improvement Program is a comprehensive approach to improving the safety of rail transportation across Canada, through two key components: Infrastructure, Technology and Research Activities; and Public Education and Awareness.
  • Applications for both components will be accepted from a wide range of applicants, including: provinces, territories, municipalities and local governments; road/transit authorities and Crown Corporations; for-profit and not-for-profit organizations; Indigenous groups, communities and organizations; and, individuals.


New Funding will Help More Women get Elected to Public Office

On October 26, 2016, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Status of Women, announced that Equal Voice is receiving $1-million in funding for a three-year national project to address systemic barriers that contribute to the under-representation of women in politics. The announcement was made at an event hosted by Equal Voice as Canadians celebrate the final days of Women's History Month.

Through this project, Equal Voice and its partners will examine how legislatures and councils function, with the aim of making them more inclusive.

This project is being funded through Status of Women Canada's last call for proposals, entitled Support for Women's Empowerment, which closed on May 3, 2016. Through this call for proposals, approximately 45 community organizations have been selected to receive over $8 million in Government of Canada funding for a dozen projects to create inclusive contexts to foster women's participation and leadership in the democratic and public life of the country.

Quick Facts

  • Equal Voice is receiving $1 million for a three-year national project to address systemic barriers that contribute to the under-representation of women in politics.
  • At the federal level, 26% of Members of Parliamentarians are women. Municipally, 26% of councillors and 16% of mayors are women.
  • October is Women's History Month in Canada. It includes the International Day of the Girl on October 11 and Persons Day on October 18.
  • Canadians are invited to use social media to tell us about the women and girls who have inspired them using the hashtag #BecauseOfHer.


National Disaster Mitigation Program (NDMP)

The Government of Canada provides cost sharing on The National Disaster Mitigation Program for eligible flood projects with provinces and territories. Projects are selected for funding through a competitive, merit-based process using objective and measurable criteria.

The deadline for applications for 2017/2018 is October 31, 2016.

Their goal is to seek content partners to share information that would encourage municipalities to apply under this program for the upcoming fiscal.

The target groups they would like to reach are — municipal emergency managers, city planners and technical specialists.

For further information please visit: National Disaster Mitigation Program.