Solutions Labs will bring experts and housing stakeholders together to rapidly incubate and scale potential solutions to housing pressures. Housing Sector teams with diverse experience and knowledge are invited to identify housing challenges in the Strategy’s key priority areas. Then, they will be asked to propose strategies to co-develop new, world-leading solutions.

There is up to $500,000 in funding available for the 2018–2019 year. Annual funding will grow to $3 million in subsequent years.


Solutions Labs provides funding that allows stakeholders across Canada to co-develop solutions to challenges in housing like:

  • affordability
  • social inclusion
  • northern and remote supports
  • Indigenous housing
  • environmental sustainability

Diverse stakeholders – including those with lived experience – will work together. They will examine and reframe current housing issues, use new problem-solving processes and co-develop innovative solutions. Time for testing to determine the potential for uptake is included.  Solutions Labs are inclusive and foster a rapid deployment of solutions to persistent affordable housing challenges.

The labs will lead to the development of solutions to identified housing issues within the Strategy’s key priority areas. Potential solutions may include emerging technologies, best practices, innovative policies or programs.

Solutions Labs will be a catalyst for driving action and innovation in the affordable housing sector. It will enable of sector viability and sustainability by providing a roadmap from successful solution development to full-scale uptake.



To align Solutions Labs project proposals with the National Housing Strategy, issues to be examined must support the Strategy’s key priority areas.

Eligible applicants include:

  • affordable housing providers
  • academic institutions
  • government agencies
  • Indigenous organizations
  • agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations involved in the Strategy’s keyNHS priority area activities academic institutions
  • individuals with lived experiences that can provide first hand expertise to co-development of solutions
  • private sector stakeholders  (including builders, developers, designers and planners)

CMHC’s annual budget for Solutions Labs is $3 million. We anticipate that budgets for each Solutions Lab will range from $25,000 to $250,000.

Eligible expenses include:

  • background research, ethnographic studies and interviews
  • social media and graphic design for use in Solutions Labs projects
  • Solutions Labs event planning, co-ordination and facilitation
  • knowledge transfer during and after Solutions Labs events including videos, web content, research reports, documentation of project activities , innovation deployment strategies
  • stakeholder participation, accommodation, transportation and expert per diems

Proponents will receive funding from CMHC to work with leading affordable housing stakeholders and Solutions Lab Consultants to address key challenges.


Solutions Labs funding will be available for labs that that focus on:

  • resolving affordable housing challenges within the Strategy’s key priority areas or facing priority populations
  • gathering a wide range of stakeholders including those with lived experiences to find solutions that are practical replicable, implementable, and deliverable within a realistic timeframe
  • targeting the creation of prototype solutions such as technologies, policies, programs, or standards

Solutions Labs will be funded through an annual open-call process.

CMHC may fund Solutions Labs to support proponents applying for other National Housing Strategy funding to create new housing or modernize existing housing. This allows proponents to overcome barriers to their projects or to capitalize on opportunities to improve performance and enhance outcomes.

CMHC may also fund Solutions Labs on issues, challenges and opportunities identified by affordable housing partners and stakeholders outside of the open call process.

Recipients of Solutions Lab funding will report on their activities. This will include:

  • pre-lab exploratory research 
  • lab activities
  • lab participants
  • prototypical solutions developed and tested
  • road map development of next steps from prototype to wide scale uptake

CMHC will assess lab participant perceptions of the experience and awareness, knowledge and potential uptake of the solutions developed.


Solutions Lab funding applications go through a merit-based competitive process.  

An evaluation committee made up of subject matter experts from the affordable housing sector will evaluate all eligible applications using pre-established evaluation criteria and scoring scale.

Applications that score higher than 80% will be considered for funding based on budget availability. 

The proposals will be evaluated and prioritized based on several criteria:

  • the Solutions Lab teams and partners  
  • the work plan and proposed solution lab approach, innovation tools and methodologies used
  • knowledge products created and knowledge sharing strategies during and after the lab
  • potential impact and contribution to the National Housing Strategy Priority Areas and desired outcomes


Resource materials will be made available when the 2019 launch of the call for proposals is initiated.


The call for applications for 2019 funding coming in May.


General inquiries about the National Housing Strategy or technical support

Date Published: May 2, 2018