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Trudeau announces nearly $21M to build more housing

Thunder Bay is receiving $20.7 million from the Housing Accelerator Fund to continue building homes across the city.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Indigenous Services Minister and Thunder Bay-Superior North MP Patty Hajdu on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024 at Smart Modular Canada in Thunder Bay. (Leith Dunick,

THUNDER BAY — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Thunder Bay Feb. 29 for a major announcement regarding housing. 

At Smart Modular Canada, Trudeau announced $20.7 million will be doled out to the city over three years to build 600 affordable housing units on underused land.

The city had initially lobbied Ottawa for $45 million and was granted half that amount. 

Mayor Ken Boshcoff said he is still happy to receive the funding.

"We could surrender and complain to the federal government, but we won't. We will have money to get these projects lifted and underway, but I would still think we can stay ambitious. If we prove ourselves, we'll be recognized for it, and justifiably continued funding will prevail."

When asked why the initial $45 million wasn't granted, Trudeau said they had to look at what's feasible at the moment.

"What we did with the Housing Accelerator Fund was we sat down with the municipalities to talk about what actually can be done in the coming years," Trudeau said.

"Often, people are hugely ambitious around what they're going to be able to deliver. Our focus is what concretely can be done, especially in the coming years where the pressure is so much. Twenty-million dollars was the number that we came to as being a realistic, responsible way to be able to meet the need, meet the ambition and really change it."

Thunder Bay is one of just a handful of Ontario municipalities that met new provincial housing targets, and it will continue on that path with this funding.

Trudeau said this kind of funding to build homes isn't going to be available to every community. 

"Not with all municipalities across the country, just the ones that are willing to be ambitious about changing the way housing is made in this country."

The city is expected to re-zone commercial areas, fast-track development approvals, and put incentives and grants in place to get more housing projects off the ground. 

As well, the city is expected to create a dedicated team to recommend systemic changes and work with non-profit organizations, community organizations, advocacy groups, and home builders to reduce construction costs. 

The money comes from the federal government's $4-billion Housing Accelerator Fund, designed to assist local governments in continuing to build homes and increase housing construction.

— TBnewswatch