Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Housing Supply Challenge: Round 3 - Northern Access

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What is the Northern Access round?

The Northern Access Round seeks solutions that reduce the time, cost, and risk to access resources for building and maintaining appropriate northern and remote housing supply.

Inefficient supply chains put northern and remote housing at risk of rapid deterioration and severely constrain new housing development.

In northern and remote regions, the supply chain deals with various factors that make accessing materials and resources a challenge. The effects of the supply chain on housing supply vary widely and include:

  • Remote building sites that receive incorrect or damaged materials cannot return them and order new supplies within timelines and budgets, and using the wrong materials lowers the quality of housing.
  • The risk of unforeseen events is high in northern and remote projects, which results in high contingency funds for developers, contributing to the high cost per square foot.
  • Land-locked (fly-in fly-out) communities face cargo limitations of the aircraft capable of servicing short gravel airstrips, limiting the materials and equipment for building.
  • The window to transport by ice road is getting increasingly shorter with climate change; sea shipping is also limited to a short seasonal operation
  • Planning and spending must occur long before building.

Definition of “Northern”

The Northern regions include the: Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Inuit Nunangat (Nunavik, Nunatsiavut, Inuvialuit settlement region), Northern regions of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador.

This round will be inclusive of all communities that consider themselves northern or remote based on varying definitions.

A wide range of solutions that will improve efficient and affordable access to materials and resources in northern and remote regions are relevant to this round, including:

  • transportation and logistical solutions that improve access to building materials and resources
  • solutions to increase accessibility to fly in / fly out communities
  • solutions to improve climate adaptation and locally appropriate techniques
  • capacity and training solutions that address the high cost and limited access to training delivery and new approaches for youth and students
  • local, community-driven solutions that reduce dependency on the supply chain
  • technology solutions that improve or expand existing infrastructure
  • innovative approaches to materials, including new material development, community warehousing and economies of scale
  • alternative methods for financing land development and construction

We are using “appropriate” to describe housing supply to underscore the limited housing supply in northern and remote regions that has been experienced for generations, which includes a lack of high quality, culturally appropriate, affordable, and climate-relevant housing. Each northern and remote community has unique considerations for what appropriate housing supply could be, which may include:

  • The geographic region, including the climate and environment
  • People’s housing preferences and needs
  • Cultural and community considerations
  • Housing affordability, cost effectiveness and financing
  • Housing quality i.e., in terms of materials, architecture, structure
  • Energy efficiency, sustainability, climate change adaptation or mitigation, environmental impacts, including permafrost disruption
  • Required infrastructure to support housing
  • Other

Note: The Housing Supply Challenge targets housing supply and affordability barriers that exist at the system level, ensuring we can build more units in the future. It doesn’t directly fund the construction of new units.


There are three objectives for the Northern Access Round:

  • Reduce time, cost, and risk to access required materials for housing in remote communities.
  • Demonstrate impact on building or maintaining appropriate housing supply.
  • Provide direct benefit to northern and remote regions.

Learn more about the Housing Supply Challenge’s other opportunities.

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Recognizing Support from:

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Logo de la société National Housing Strategy
Logo de la société Evergreen
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Logo de la société Northern Ideas Development Program
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Challenge details

Key Dates

  • Launch: February 23, 2022
  • Initial Submissions: June 23, 2022, 2pm EST
  • Shortlisted: September 2022
  • Stage 2 Final Submissions: September 2023
  • Funded Solutions Announced: November 2023

Funding Allocation

  • Stage 1 – Incubation Funding for prototyping: Shortlisted teams will each receive up to $250k
  • Stage 2 – Implementation Funding: Selected solutions will share a pool of $75M

Who can apply

Lead Applicant must be a legal entity duly incorporated and validly existing in Canada, including :

  • Supply chain professionals
  • For-profit and not-for-profit organizations (ie: companies, associations, research centres)
  • Indigenous governments, organizations and groups
  • Canadian post-secondary institutions
  • Government (Provincial, territorial, Indigenous, municipal, local, and regional)
  • Teams composed of a variety of participants

* All participants must be affiliated with a legally incorporated organization