Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Housing Supply Challenge

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Housing Affordability Matters 

Everyone in Canada deserves housing they can afford and that meets their needs. Still, many Canadians struggle to find, maintain and afford a place to live, as a lack of supply in cities coupled with significant demand for housing can push prices up.

In 2016, 2.9 M households were spending more than 30% of their gross income on housing. 1.5 M of those households were in core housing need. It is estimated that by 2030, an extra 2.1 M households will need a place to call home.

Identified Issues and Trends

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has identified some of the key issues and trends affecting housing supply in Canada, which shaped the development of the various rounds of the Challenge.  Consultations with stakeholders and experts improved our understanding of these issues, which include:

  • Supporting urban densification
  • Enhancing productivity in construction
  • Improving data on land availability and value
  • Reducing building timelines and approval processes
  • Addressing land availability constraints
  • Expanding flexible tenure options
  • Aligning transport infrastructure and housing
  • Conflicting incentives for creation of new supply

A more detailed description of issues affecting housing supply can be found in the CMHC report, Examining Escalating House Prices in Large Canadian Metropolitan Centres (February 2018)

Why a Housing Supply Challenge?

Challenges are powerful tools to address complex issues where the objective is clear but the path to achieving the objective is not. Given the potential for innovation in the housing system, the Housing Supply Challenge offers an opportunity for innovators to present disruptive solutions that can effect change.


  • Complex issue with a clear objective: Canada requires more housing that is affordable, but there is no single solution that can address this need. This Challenge is an opportunity to address a problem that cannot be solved by one organization.

  • Local solutions to local issues: The Challenge is an effective medium to spark change from the ground up and mobilize participants to engage with and solve issues in their area.

  • Housing supply at the national level: Different rounds of the Challenge can bring housing supply solutions to light that can be scaled up nationally, and others that can be replicated across various municipalities.

  • Working together: The Challenge is an opportunity to bring housing sector participants together, empowering collaboration and partnerships.

  • New perspectives: The Challenge welcomes new participants to engage with, and provides an environment that encourages and rewards innovation.


Investing in Change

The Challenge is part of Impact Canada and is led by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), in collaboration with the Impact and Innovation Unit in the Privy Council Office and Infrastructure Canada.   Up to $300 million will be distributed over five years through the various rounds of the Challenge.  

Round 1: Data Driven

Key Dates

  • Launch: October 23, 2020 
  • Initial Submissions: January 20, 2021
  • Finalists Announced: February 2021
  • Final Submissions: September 2021
  • Successful Proponents Announced: October 2021

Who can apply?

  • For-profit and not-for-profit organizations  
  • Indigenous organizations and groups 
  • Canadian post-secondary institutions  
  • Government (Provincial, territorial, municipal, local, and regional) 
  • Consulting firms
  • Teams composed of a variety of participants 


* All participants must be affiliated with a legally incorporated organization

Funding Allocation

  • Stage 1: Seed funding for prototyping - 25 finalists will receive $100,000 each
  • Stage 2: Implementation Funding - Selected finalists will share a pool of $22.5 million in funding

Important Resources