Solutions Labs will bring experts and housing stakeholders together to rapidly incubate and scale potential solutions to housing pressures. Housing Sector teams with diverse experience and knowledge will be invited to identify housing challenges in key NHS priority areas. Then, they will be asked to propose strategies to co-develop new, world-leading solutions.

There is up to $500,000 available for this coming year. Funding will grow to $3 million in subsequent years.

Note: The application deadline has been extended to June 29, 2018


Solutions Labs provides funding that allows stakeholders across Canada to co-develop solutions to challenges in housing like:

  • affordability
  • social inclusion
  • northern and remote supports
  • Indigenous housing
  • environmental sustainability

Diverse stakeholders – including those with lived experience – will work together. They will examine and reframe current housing issues, use new problem-solving processes and co-develop innovative solutions. Time for testing to determine the potential for uptake is included.  Solutions Labs are inclusive and foster a rapid deployment of solutions to persistent affordable housing challenges.

The labs will lead to the development of solutions to identified housing issues within NHS priority areas. Potential Solutions may include emerging technologies, best practices, innovative policies or programs.

Solutions Labs will be a catalyst for driving action and innovation in the affordable housing sector. It will enable of sector viability and sustainability by providing a roadmap from successful solution development to full-scale uptake.



To align Solutions Labs project proposals with the NHS, issues to be examined must support the NHS Priority Areas.

Eligible applicants include:

  • affordable housing providers
  • academic institutions
  • government agencies
  • Indigenous organizations
  • agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations  involved in NHS priority area activities academic institutions
  • individuals with lived experiences that can provide first hand expertise to co-development of solutions
  • private sector stakeholders  (including builders, developers, designers and planners)

CMHC’s annual budget for Solutions Labs is $3 million. We anticipate that budgets for each Solutions Lab will range from $25,000 to $250,000.

Eligible expenses include:

  • background research, ethnographic studies, interviews
  • social media and graphic design for use in Solutions Labs projects
  • Solutions Labs event planning, co-ordination and facilitation
  • knowledge transfer during and after Solutions Labs events including videos, web content, research reports, documentation of project activities , innovation deployment strategies
  • stakeholder participation, accommodation, transportation and expert per diems

Proponents will receive funding from CMHC to work with leading affordable housing stakeholders and Solutions Lab Consultants to address key challenges.


Solutions Labs funding will be available for labs that that focus on:

  • resolving affordable housing challenges within the NHS priority areas or facing priority populations
  • gathering a wide range of stakeholders including those with lived experiences to find solutions that are practical replicable, implementable, and deliverable within a realistic timeframe
  • targeting the creation of prototype solutions such as - technologies, policies, programs, or standards

Solutions Labs will be funded through an annual open-call process.

CMHC may fund Solutions Labs to support proponents applying for other NHS funding to create new housing or modernize existing housing . This allows proponents to overcome barriers to their projects or to capitalize on opportunities to improve performance and enhance outcomes.

CMHC may also fund Solutions Labs on issues, challenges and opportunities identified by affordable housing partners and stakeholders outside of the open call process.

Recipients of Solutions Lab funding will report on their activities. This will include:

  • pre-lab exploratory research 
  • lab activities
  • lab participants
  • prototypical solutions developed and tested
  • road map development of next steps from prototype to wide scale uptake

CMHC will assess lab participant perceptions of the experience and awareness, knowledge and potential uptake of the solutions developed.


Applications for Solutions Lab funding will go through an annual, 2-stage competitive process.  

Stage 1

Each year in April, CMHC will issue a Request for Expression of Interest (EOI).

Proponents have 4 weeks to submit an EOI that must contain the following information:

  • describe the problem
  • list the proposed Solutions Lab team and partners
  • demonstrate the relevance of the proposed lab to NHS priority areas and populations.
  • discuss the potential impacts if the Solutions Labs are successful.

CMHC will take 3-4 weeks to evaluate the EOIs. A shortlist of Winning teams will be advised by email.

Stage 2

Successful Teams will be provided with a list of Solutions Lab Consultants on Standing Offer with CMHC in order to prepare and submit a detailed proposal to CMHC 4-6 weeks later. The proposals will be evaluated and prioritized based on several criteria:

  • the Solutions Lab teams and partners  
  • availability of co-funding
  • lab approach and methodologies 
  • Potential impact  

CMHC will take 3-4 weeks to evaluate and approve proposals. Contribution agreements with winning teams are expected to be signed by fall of 2018.

Note: Successful applicants shortlisted for Stage 2 must identify the Solutions lab consultant they propose to work with. CMHC has prepared a pre-approved list of Solution Lab Consultants that stakeholders can access. If stakeholders choose to partner with Solution Lab Consultants not on the pre-approved list, the team’s consultants will have to be evaluated and meet the same criteria used to select consultants on the pre-approved list. Detailed information regarding the criteria will be available in the Stage 2 Applicant’s Guide.



There are two portions to this application process: creating an online profile and a record of your application, and completing this fillable Solutions Lab Application Form. **Important: To use this interactive PDF, right click (Ctrl + click on Mac) the link to save the file, and then open it in Adobe Acrobat.

Once complete, you will need to upload the form into the online applications for your application to be considered.


General inquiries about the NHS or technical support