The National Housing Strategy Demonstrations Initiative highlights innovative practices, technologies, programs, policies and strategies. These will help improve the performance, viability and effectiveness of affordable housing projects.


The National Housing Strategy Demonstrations Initiative (Demonstrations) provides a platform to create and disseminate real-world data and information on affordable housing. The Demonstrations showcase innovative practices, technologies, programs, policies and strategies improving the performance, viability and effectiveness of affordable housing projects. Ultimately fostering a culture of innovation in the affordable housing sector that will better meet the housing needs of Canadians.

Lessons learned and knowledge gained from the Demonstrations will be shared to help strengthen, better equip and innovate the affordable housing sector. Outreach activities will help increase housing stakeholders’ awareness of demonstration project outputs. This can include a wide variety of outreach activities, such as:

  • site tours
  • presentations
  • sector forums
  • social media
  • virtual tours and other web-based platforms

Knowledge products will be developed that are relevant to the targeted stakeholder. This can include best-practices guides, case studies, factsheets, website content, user experience videos, surveys and innovation profiles.


We anticipate that budgets for this initiative will range from $25,000 to $250,000 per demonstration project. Projects should have a duration of no more than 18 months.

Considerations for determining demonstration funding will include:

  • the nature of the demonstration
  • the cost to carry out the eligible activities
  • the complexity of the proposed demonstration
  • the potential value and impact of the innovation demonstrated
  • the availability of partnerships, financial and in-kind contributions
  • the available budget
  • the deployment readiness and feasibility of the project

Funded eligible elements will primarily focus on showcasing and knowledge dissemination activities. This includes:

  • planning, design and installation of demonstrated technologies and practices, deployment of programs, policies, and strategies
  • planning, fabrication, installation, operation and maintenance and removal of demonstration platform(s)
  • surveys of demonstration audiences, property owners and managers, tenants
  • monitoring and documentation of the demonstration and related activities for the creation of the final outcomes report

Costs not directly associated with deploying the innovation, showcasing, communicating, knowledge dissemination and reporting on the demonstration will be ineligible (although such costs may be eligible if they are integral to the larger project).

You will receive funding to showcase, communicate and assess innovations applied to affordable housing projects. As an innovation champion, you will be a leader and innovator in the affordable housing sector. This initiative will allow you to broaden your business, community and stakeholder network and develop collaboration opportunities. It also allows you to gain insights into the performance, costs, benefits, acceptance, feasibility and limitations of the innovation.


To be eligible for this initiative projects must:

  • be located in Canada
  • include an affordable housing “Host” as partners and collaborators
  • align with the strategy’s priority areas and/or priority populations
  • showcase cutting-edge, innovative technologies, practices, programs, policies and strategies
  • be replicable and near- or market-ready solutions to affordable housing challenges
  • be delivered and completed within an 18-month timeframe

Projects may address any housing form (singles, detached, row, multi-unit) and type of ownership (non-profit, public, private rental or ownership). To determine the initiative’s outcomes, you must provide a final report of the project’s deployment, operations, outputs and knowledge transfer activities. Pertinent information must be collected on the demonstrated innovation during implementation. This will include costs, benefits, impacts, increased demonstration audience awareness and knowledge through on-site performance monitoring, occupant surveys, exit surveys of demonstration audiences.

Note: Eligible applicants must indicate any relevant project funding that they have applied to, been approved for, or have received. Also, please indicate partner or co-applicant funding and include funding from other strategy initiatives (for example: National Housing Co-investment Fund – Housing Construction Stream, National Housing Co-investment Fund – Renewal and Repair Stream, Rental Construction Financing Initiative).

Demonstrations funding is available to those who wish to address housing related issues identified under the strategy’s priority areas. Eligible applicants include:

  • Canadian companies, organizations associations, Canadian citizens, private and non-profit builders and developers of affordable housing projects
  • design, construction and renovation professionals
  • non-profit affordable housing organizations and cooperatives
  • provincial, territorial or municipal housing agencies and corporations
  • Indigenous housing organizations agencies and authorities
  • Non-government organizations (NGO’s)


There are four Demonstrations streams:

  • an annual open-call competitive application process
  • demonstrations within selected strategy-funded affordable housing projects
  • the National Housing Innovation Demonstration Challenge
  • directed Demonstrations projects

An open-call competitive application process will occur annually.

The applications for 2018 are now closed. The next open-call competitive application process will launch in early 2019.

For the annual open-call and strategy initiatives streams, applications will be reviewed after the closing date for submissions. The review process typically takes one month.

Demonstrations selected from or nominated by strategy-funded affordable housing projects:

National Housing Innovation Demonstration Challenge: every three (3) years.

First Challenge will be launched in 2021. The funding, applicant eligibility requirements and review process timeline will be determined.

Directed Demonstrations: as required and identified by CMHC in consultation with stakeholders, the National Housing Council, and provincial, territorial, municipal partners. The funding, applicant eligibility requirements and review process timeline will be determined.


An evaluation team will score applications based on:

  • the proposed project’s alignment with the strategy's Priority Areas
  • the initiative’s eligibility requirements
  • the stated evaluation criteria

The evaluation process will prioritize demonstrations with the highest impact potential. This includes high project feasibility, deployment readiness, and replicability throughout the sector. Other determining factors include the amount of funding requested, the annual budget availability and the leveraging of outcomes through co-funding and partnerships.

Higher priority will be given to demonstrations that focus on innovative solutions applied to actual affordable housing projects. These solutions must address substantive, long-standing problems in the sector, or represent a significant opportunity to improve affordable housing project performance and outcomes.

Highly competent teams with proven capabilities, experience and expertise will positively impact the scoring.

Note: Prioritization will be given to demonstration projects aligned with the strategy’s environmental, affordability and social inclusion objectives.

High-scoring projects will be well-aligned with the National Housing Strategy priority areas and expected outcomes, including the project's relevance to priority populations. High-impact demonstration projects will contribute to the development of sustainable housing and other social, economic and environmental goals that support a better quality of life by improving housing conditions for Canadians.



The next open-call competitive application process will launch in April 2019.



General inquiries about the National Housing Strategy or technical support

Date Published: May 2, 2018