Affordable Rental Innovation Fund

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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.


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).


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

New affordable rental housing units
New units must be created to qualify for the Fund (renovation or retrofit projects may not be eligible if new units are not created)

Innovative models of design or financing models
Applicants must demonstrate the use of innovative solutions for affordable rental housing. This may include the use of customized financing models or unique designs use to overcome rental barriers and lower the costs and risks associated with housing projects.

Unit affordability maintained for at least 10 years
Applicants must demonstrate how their project will remain affordable rental for at least 10 years.

Resource efficiencies in the design
Applicants must demonstrate how their projects will achieve a minimum 10% decrease in energy intensity and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions relative to similar projects constructed to building code requirements of their respective jurisdictions.

Accessibility features must be included
At least 10% of the units of a project must meet accessibility requirements. Accessible features may include: ramps, lifts, modified kitchens, bathrooms, and home automation.

Plans for viability and sustainability without long-term government subsidies
Units must demonstrate that they can be viable without the need for ongoing government subsidies after the 10-year mark.

Other facts that may be included in scoring
Projects with replicable designs, easy access to transit or a focus on urban Indigenous occupants.

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.

Documentation requirements

This fact sheet represents a minimum package for initiating a review by the Innovation Fund.

*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.

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


Tools and Resources

Develop New Affordable Housing

Whether you are thinking about new construction or redeveloping an existing property, these tools can help move your affordable housing idea from vision to reality.

  • Ideas Tool Kit
    Ideas, strategies and real-life case-studies to help housing organizations develop a plan of action to address local housing needs.
  • Testimonials
    Learn about successful affordable housing projects and the difference they have made in the lives of Canadians.
  • Web Forums
    Register for on-line learning events with housing experts available to you at no cost.

Interactive Tools

  • Development Checklist for Affordable Housing
    Focusing on housing groups with limited experience, the Housing Development Checklist identifies key milestones in the development process, supported by additional detail in a series of Fact Sheets.
  • Housing in Canada Online (HiCO)
    This interactive tool can provide you with custom tables to help you analyze data on household, such as household count, average household income and average shelter costs. This information is available by tenure, age and household type for a large number of geographic areas, including all Regional Municipalities, Census Metropolitan Areas, and Census Agglomerations.
  • Interactive Local Data Tables
    These tables contain information regarding housing starts/completions, the rental market, households, housing stock and housing need.
  • Capital Replacement Planning (CRP)
    Helps housing providers plan their capital reserve funds to pay for major replacements and repairs as their buildings age.

Learning Resources

  • Guide for Canadian Municipalities for the Development of a Housing Action Plan
    CMHC has developed resources designed to assist small municipalities in developing housing plans to address their specific housing needs, as determined by the community.
  • Best Practices in Affordable Housing — Housing Awards Program 1988 – 2010
    The CMHC Housing Awards Program recognized and shared best practices that have helped to improve the quality, choice and affordability of housing in Canada. These initiatives included large and small projects and demonstrated various ways to create affordable housing that meets the needs of the communities they serve.
  • Research Highlights
    Browse a range of CMHC Research Highlights organized into topics of interest to affordable housing providers, groups and individuals interested in developing affordable housing, developers, municipalities and researchers.
  • External Links
    A selection of external websites for more affordable housing ideas, resources and inspiration.
  • Manufactured Housing
    Manufactured housing is making inroads as a viable option for creating quality, affordable housing in communities across Canada.

Project Highlights

Modular housing — City of Vancouver

Vancouver residents looking for affordable rental housing now have a new option in a three-storey, 40-unit building at 220 Terminal Avenue in the city’s Strathcona neighbourhood.

Planning for the future of housing projects

Planning for the future of a housing project is just as important picking the materials that build it. For everything from retrofits to proper budgeting, CMHC has the resources and tools to help you make your project successful and financially viable for years to come.

Contact Us

For general inquiries or technical support

Phone: Call 1-800-668-2642 (Business hours (ET): 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.)


By mail:
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Attention: Affordable Rental Innovation Fund
700 Montreal Road
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0P7

Innovation Fund Consultants

Lance Jakubec

Lance Jakubec


Faraz Soleymani

Faraz Soleymani


Dany Skelling

Dany Skelling


Patrice Tardif

Patrice Tardif

514 283-2097



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