Ontario opens funding for water infrastructure work that aids housing growth

The Housing-Enabling Water Systems Fund application window opened January 29 and closes on February 21. Photo credit: elenathewise, stock.adobe.com

In an effort to unlock more housing opportunities and support the province’s growing population, Ontario has opened up its funding applications window for $200 million over three years to help municipalities repair, rehabilitate and expand critical drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure.  

The Housing-Enabling Water Systems Fund application window opened January 29 and closes on February 21. 

“Water, sewer and stormwater infrastructure are the most critical infrastructure assets necessary in the residential construction process,” announced Patrick McManus, executive director of the Ontario Sewer and Watermain Construction Association. “This is the first step in building new residential developments, so without these assets being built, homes can’t get built.” 

The new fund will be another component of the Ontario government’s plan to build at least 1.5 million homes by 2031. 

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To meet the outcomes of the program, eligible projects should cover three areas: enable growth and housing development; increase access to clean drinking water; and increase treatment or management of wastewater and stormwater. 

Projects under the Housing-Enabling Water Systems Fund will be cost shared between municipalities and the province. The province would fund a maximum of 73% (up to $35 million) of eligible project costs, and the municipality would be required to fund all remaining (a minimum of 27%) eligible project costs. Municipalities may combine other federal and municipal funding to fund the 27% minimum recipient contribution. 

Ontario officials said that priority will be given to those projects that are more advanced in planning and design, such as those nearing completion of an Environmental Assessment. 

Eligible projects must start no later than September 30, 2024, and be completed by March 31, 2027. 

“We know that to build homes faster, municipalities need to service those homes. That’s why our government has been stepping up, giving our partners the tools that they need to build housing-enabling infrastructure,” announced Paul Calandra, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, in a statement. “Programs like the Housing-Enabling Water Systems Fund are just one of several ways we are working with municipalities to help build more homes.” 

The Housing‐Enabling Water Systems Fund is designed to complement the recently announced Building Faster Fund, a new three‐year $1.2 billion fund that supports municipalities in achieving their housing targets, including housing‐enabling infrastructure and other related costs that support community growth. 

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