Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre announced on Thursday that if elected Prime Minister, he would make federal infrastructure funding for municipalities contingent on building homes for Canadians. 

A backgrounder on the policy reveals that a Poilievre government would target “severely unaffordable” big cities with a population of over 500,000 – like Toronto and Vancouver – by requiring them to increase their homebuilding by 15% annually. 

Cities that fail to reach their target would have some of their funding from the $2.2 billion Canada Community-Building Fund and GST rebate program cut. 

“Municipal governments with more than 500,000 people which also have ‘severely unaffordable’ housing, will need to increase dwelling completions by 15% annually or lose up to 15% of their Community Building Fund allocation and GST rebate. The penalty will be equal to the amount by which the municipality misses the target,” the backgrounder described.

Municipalities that have a population of less than 500,000 will not see any changes to their funding, and any amounts withheld from big cities will be redistributed to localities that speed up housing developments within the same province. 

Poilievre would also create a penalty for “NIMBYism and gatekeeping” through a system that would allow residents and entrepreneurs to file complaints with the federal government (NIMBY is an acronym for “not in my back yard,” which refers to opposition to local land use developments, often through strict regulations).

“When complaints are well-founded, the federal government will withhold infrastructure dollars from the offending big city politicians until they remove the blockage and home building begin,” the plan outlines. 

The $10 billion promised in Budget 2022 by the Liberal government will remain intact, but under Poilievre’s program half of the funding would be shifted away from municipalities and distributed through a Building Bonus towards localities that “remove gatekeepers to boost homebuilding.” 

“Municipalities will get $10,000 per home on all growth in their home building, paid out only after the units are built and occupied,” the statement claimed. “To be clear, the $10,000 is not the cost of building or servicing the house. It is a reward for municipalities getting out of the way so that private builders can supply more to homebuyers.”

Requirements will also be in place for municipalities that want infrastructure funding for major transit projects to pre-approve high-density housing on all lands around the proposed sites. 

“That will guarantee that low-income people and youth who cannot afford cars can live and work near transit,” the plan outlines. 

Additionally, if elected Poilievre would sell off 15% of the federal government’s 37,000 office buildings to companies under the condition that the spaces are transformed into affordable housing units. 

Poilievre also pledged to introduce measures to prevent further printing of money to fund government deficits.