The Federal Lands Initiative is a $200-million fund that supports the transfer of surplus federal lands and buildings to eligible proponents. This is available at discounted to no cost to be developed or renovated for use as affordable housing. The discount on the property will depend on the level of social outcomes achieved by the winning proposal. Once transferred, the property will be developed or renovated into affordable, sustainable, accessible and socially inclusive housing.

The Federal Lands Initiative is led by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) with support from:

Eligibility and Requirements

The Federal Lands Initiative is open but not limited to the following groups:

  • community housing organizations
  • non-profit organizations or registered charities
  • co-operative housing organizations
  • municipal, provincial and territorial governments including their agencies
  • Indigenous governments and organizations, including Tribal Councils
  • for profit organizations

Eligible affordable housing projects include, but are not limited to:

  • mixed-income
  • mixed-use (commercial space should not exceed 30% of gross floor area)
  • mixed-tenure
  • shelters
  • transitional housing
  • supportive housing
  • rental housing
  • affordable homeownership
  • Minimum Requirements

    Proposals to build or renovate surplus federal property into affordable housing must meet the following minimum requirements:

    • Affordability: At least 30% of units must be less than 80% of Median Market Rent, for a minimum of 25 years.
    • Accessibility: At least 20% of units must meet accessibility standards and projects must be barrier-free or demonstrate full universal design.
    • Energy Efficiency: A 25% reduction (minimum) in operating energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions over the most recent national building and energy codes. Or, a 25% reduction (minimum) in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions relative to past performance for renovation of federal buildings.
    • Evidence of Community Need: Proponents must provide a clear description of how their project will meet the needs of the community and at least a letter of support from the municipality, a market study or waiting lists for social or affordable housing in the community.
    • Experience: Proponents, or their team, must indicate a minimum of 5 years of experience in the construction/renovation and operation of projects of similar size and scope.
    • Financial Viability: Projects must meet the minimum debt coverage ratio (DCR) of 1.10.



Contact CMHC’s Affordable Housing Consultants if you need more information than what is available online. They are experts in the specific needs, challenges and opportunities within their unique markets across Canada.

General inquiries about the National Housing Strategy or technical support

Date Published: May 2, 2018