Housing Action

We are in a Housing Crisis

There are no easy fixes, however, Council is committed to working towards finding solutions. 

The current Council Strategic Plan has the following goals:

  1. Livability: Canmore is a place where all residents can thrive.
  2. Environment: Canmore is a recognized leader in managing human impact on our environment.
  3. Relationships: Respectful, authentic relationships are the foundation on which our future success is built.

According to the 2021 census, Canmore has the highest wealth inequality level in the country.

Key factors impacting Canmore include:

  • A growing proportion of non-owner-occupied dwellings – substantially higher than provincial average. Statistics Canada data indicates 8% of homes in Alberta are non-owner occupied compared to 26% of homes in Canmore being non-owner occupied.
  • An increased proportion of households renting versus owning from 29% in 2011 to 34% in 2021.
  • An increased proportion of households spending more than 30% of income on shelter costs.
  • Monthly shelter costs have increased by 65% since 2006 and are 37% higher than the Alberta average. Shelter costs for owners include mortgage payments, property tax, and utilities and for renters include rent and utilities.
  • Average property values have increased by 80% since 2006 and are twice as high as the Alberta average.

On June 6, 2023 Council approved the Housing Accelerator Fund Action Plan. 

The plan was created in part to apply for the Government of Canada Housing Accelerator Fund.

It also allowed us to put everything we are doing to forward housing in Canmore in one place. In addition to this list, Canmore Community Housing is working to add many more housing units to Canmore in the coming years. 

Our plan includes three BOLD new initiatives:

  1. Limiting the growth of Tourist Homes.
  2. Incentivizing full-time residency of homes.
  3. Incentivizing purpose-built rental accommodations.

In addition to these items it outlines all current, planned and new items that we are doing.


  1. Palliser Trail Area Structure Plan (ASP)
  2. Development of recently acquired provincial lands in the Palliser area
  3. Improving e-permitting with a dynamic portal
  4. Updating the Engineering Design and Construction Guidelines (EDCG)
  5. Reviewing vacant Town land holdings
  6. Creating a Canmore Community Housing (CCH) residency program
  7. Development of CCH-owned lands at Stewart Creek and Palliser


  1. Update the Climate Action Plan
  2. Downtown Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP)
  3. Increased requisition to Canmore Community Housing (CCH)
  4. Stoneworks Flood Mitigation Construction
  5. Refresh Canmore Community Housing (CCH) Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Grant Program
  6. Revise the CCH Vital Homes bonusing structure in the Land Use Bylaw


  1. Land Use Bylaw Changes

Update on Canmore's Applications to the Housing Accelerator Fund

March 11, 2024

Our application to the Housing Accelerator Fund was denied. Although we are disappointed that our application was denied, this will not change our plans to push our Housing Action Plan forward.

Canmore has unique housing needs, that cannot be looked at with one-size fits all solutions. The Housing Accelerator Fund was prioritizing communities that removed exclusionary zoning (single family housing). Our infrastructure may not be able to support this across the entire town, potentially leading to very expensive upgrades. We allow density in many areas already (South Canmore as an example), which may be a part of the solution, but it currently leads to more luxury homes that are out of reach of many. Before applying a one-size fits all solution, we need to make sure we have the tools in place to ensure that many types of housing are built in our community.

“If we got the Housing Accelerator Fund, that would have been icing on the cake, but we’re still going to be baking cake. We’re moving ahead, it’s not contingent on Housing Accelerator Fund money. I have reached out to both Minister McIver and Minister Nixon, inviting them to Canmore to discuss our housing issues and everything this Council is doing to address the issue.”

Mayor Sean Krausert

Housing Accelerator Fund

The Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) was launched by the Government of Canada and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) in spring of 2023. The objectives of the HAF program are to:

  • Create more supply of housing at an accelerated pace.
  • Enhance certainty in the development process.
  • Support the development of complete, affordable, inclusive, equitable and diverse communities.
  • Support the development of low-carbon and climate-resilient communities.

Nation-wide, four billion dollars is available through the program.

We put seven initiatives forward for funding, with six additional initiatives included for back-up consideration. These initiatives are a mix of the current, planned and new initiatives listed above.

Top 7 Initiatives Included:

Initiative Name Description Status
Partnering and site planning for development of recently acquired provincial lands in the Palliser area
In February 2023, the Province of Alberta consented to a transfer of 2.3 hectares of provincial land to the Town for uses that support community livability and affordability. The agreement gives the Town three years to prepare an affordable housing project proposal that aligns with the community’s affordable housing needs assessment. 
Developing this land will increase non-market housing supply in Canmore, and provide local services and supports for the adjacent neighbourhood.
Application to the HAF requests costs for consulting and technical specialist support, detailed design of buildings, and permit approvals. 
Application in progress.
Palliser Trail Area Structure Plan (ASP)

The Palliser Trail Area Structure Plan will provide the vision and policy direction for the future development of more than 10 hectares of Provincially and Town owned land into a diverse, affordable, and attainable community.

Application to the HAF requests costs for supporting studies, design, and permit approvals for the priority site(s).

Application in progress.
Downtown Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP)

The Downtown Area Redevelopment Plan will provide a future vision for Canmore's downtown area. The Downtown Area Redevelopment Plan will provide a public realm plan, land use concept, development policy, and actionable implementation plan to guide change, growth, and investment into the heart of the community over the next 20-30 years. The planning process will evaluate underutilized sites within the area to explore opportunities for expanded residential opportunities, where feasible.

Application to the HAF requests costs for supporting technical studies and public engagement.

Application in progress.
Repurposing Town Lands for Affordable Housing
The goal of this project is to undertake the regulatory approvals required to repurpose selected Town-owned sites within Canmore, for affordable housing for the local population and workforce. A previously completed analysis of the viability and feasibility of development will be used to create development proposals for each site. The outcome of this project is approved permits for the viable sites.
Application to the HAF requests costs for supporting studies, design, and permit approvals for the priority site(s).
Application in progress.
Develop a property tax structure to incentivize purpose-built rental accommodation To help address the lack of long-term rental stock in the community, tax policy to incentivize landowners to build purpose-built rentals will be created. Tax incentives will be linked to use – in this case, long term rentals – and if a building were to convert to ownership, tax incentives would cease to apply.
Application to the HAF requests costs for consultant time to develop a new tax policy.
Application in progress.
Refresh Canmore Community Housing (CCH) Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Grant Program

This incentive will design and deliver an updated ADU program aimed at increasing housing supply. The revamp of the program will learn from the previous pilot to increase uptake.

Application to the HAF requests costs for program grants, marketing, and administration.

Application in progress.
Creating a Canmore Community Housing (CCH) residency program
The goal of this program is to create an inventory of non-market housing for purchase and sale to qualified residents of Canmore who occupy the unit as their permanent residence. Residency programs would be distinguishable from affordable housing programs by the absence of a household income threshold.
Another option being explored is incentivizing existing homeowners to restrict resales to eligible residents.
Application to the HAF requests costs for consulting support associated with program development.
Application in progress.

Additional Initiatives:

Initiative Name Description Status
Improving e-permitting with dynamic portal

The Town will be launching an online application portal for all building and development permits. This portal will support a completely digital application process, where applications are uploaded and paid for by applicants online, and subsequently reviewed by staff, all within the same system.

Application to the HAF requests costs for software development, testing and training of staff.

Application in progress.
Development of CCH-owned lands at Stewart Creek
CCH recently acquired Town owned land in the Stewart Creek subdivision that is adjacent to a CCH owned parcel. The two parcels have now been consolidated into one and CCH is now in the process of seeking rezoning on the property to maximize the affordable housing development potential. The outcome is missing middle development of approximately 17 units.
Application to the HAF requests costs for the construction of the 17 units.
Application in progress.
Develop property tax structures to incentivize full-time/long-term occupancy of residential units
Incentives to occupy housing units long-term rather than keep them vacant will directly help with our housing crisis by encouraging full-time occupancy.
A property tax structure that creates a surcharge for vacant or under-occupied properties will be implemented. Such a program would support provision of housing as it is recommended that additional taxes levied on those who choose to keep their homes vacant or underoccupied
would be directed to the provision of affordable/attainable housing for long-term occupancy. 
Application to the HAF requests costs for consulting fees necessary to develop a new tax policy.
Application in progress.
Change Land Use Policy to phase out the Tourist Home Designation
This project will phase out the Tourist Home designation from the Land Use Bylaw, to encourage property owners to rent their properties long-term instead of as short-term rentals on platforms like AirBnB and VRBO. In terms of taxation, Tourist Homes used for non-personal use could retain the tourist home status and their reclassification as commercial properties should be explored. Tourist homes used for personal use would potentially be reclassified as residential uses and lose their tourist home status. This change would be in perpetuity so future owners would not be able to revert to a Tourist Home. No new Tourist Homes would be approved moving forward, which will result in more units being built for long term occupancy.
Application to the HAF requests costs to support consulting services to develop policy changes.
Application in progress.
Revise the affordable homes bonusing structure in the Land Use Bylaw
The current approach to provision of non-market housing through the bonusing provisions in the Land Use Bylaw does not serve the Town, Canmore Community Housing, or the building industry as well as it could. Rules are unclear, the provisions have limited applicability, and the program has very limited uptake. Administration intends to work with CCH and the local development industry to review the current system with the goal of finding ways to improve it.
Application to the HAF requests costs for consulting services for the land use bylaw changes.
Application in progress.
Update the Climate Emergency Action Plan
We are updating our environmental governing documents into a Climate Emergency Action Plan. It will include implementation measures that ensure the Town’s efforts on environment and climate change are inclusive and equitable, and align with and support international, national, and provincial climate change initiatives, targets, or goals. 
Application to the HAF requests costs for consulting services and public engagement to develop the new plan.
Application in progress.


Taking Bold Action to Address housing

Regardless of the outcome of the application to the Housing Accelerator Fund, Council has committed to the bold NEW actions identified below. 

Council created a Livability Task Force, which provided recommendations on the actions listed below. The members of the Task Force include:

  1. Mayor Sean Krausert
  2. Councillor Graham
  3. Councillor McCallum
  4. Rachel Ludwig representing Tourism Canmore Kananaskis,
  5. Frank Kernick representing a local developer of tourist/visitor properties,
  6. Dan Sparks representing the Canmore real estate industry,
  7. Darren Potter representing a Canmore residential property management company,
  8. Lisa de Soto representing Canmore Community Housing.

More information on each action and the recommendations from the task force are available below.


Tourist homes are those residences that are zoned to be rented out as short-term vacation rentals. Although they make up a smaller percentage of our housing inventory, limiting the growth of this type of zoning in the future has the potential to add more housing stock for full-time residents.

Accepted Task Force Recommendations:

  • Maintain existing tourist homes as a use
    • Tax all tourist homes at the commercial tax rate.
    • Eliminate the “personal use” statutory declaration option for tourist homeowners.
    • Enable tourist homeowners to request to have their tourist home reclassified as residential on a permanent basis.
  • Establish a date in the Land Use Bylaw (LUB) after which new tourist homes will not be approved
    • Ensure there is a reasonable period of transition time prior to the effective date for property owners to plan and adjust.
    • As per the guidance in the MGA, honor all development permits issued prior to changes in the LUB coming into force.
    • Follow due process for the amendment of the relevant statutory plans to enable these changes (such as the LUB, MDP or ASP’s) as set out in the MGA including:
      • Notifying any members of the public who may be affected and provide a means for suggestions and representations to be made (MGA 636) and
      • Holding a public hearing before giving second reading to a proposed bylaw to adopt a statutory plan or amendment.
    • The Area Structure Plans in Three Sisters will be separate from all other areas of Town and subject to discussions with the developer.
  • Require all tourist homeowners that rent their properties short term to display a business license
    • The license number must be posted in any online advertising of the unit, and there must be a license number posted for each unit.
    • Currently tourist homes are required to have a business license but not required to display it.


Canmore has some of the highest housing costs in Canada. Approximately 25% of our residential inventory not occupied by a full-time resident.

Every home in Canmore must be part of the solution to our housing crisis, either by providing a home for someone or by paying taxes that will fund housing initiatives. This means that second homeowners in Canmore will be faced with a decision at some point in the future – to occupy their property (or a portion of it) on a full-time basis, either themselves or by a tenant, or pay higher taxes.

Accepted Task Force Recommendations:

  • Implement a “primary residence rebate” program
  • Administer as a new “primary residence” property tax subclass:
    • Property owners would need to elect to be classified in the “primary residence rebate” subclass annually, which would exempt them for the higher tax associated with the default residential class.
  • Properties would be classified in the “primary residence” subclass if:
    • It is the principal residence of the owner and/or at least one occupant, or
    • A legal accessory building or dwelling unit or secondary suite on the property is occupied as a principal residence.
    • A primary residence could be defined as “the residence in which an individual resides for a longer period of time in a calendar year than any other place.: (BC STR Accommodations Act).
    • Does not apply to tourist homes.
  • Explore streamlining this designation with other resident focused benefits (e.g., parking permits) to create a user-friendly process.
  • Explore creating an education program for owners seeking to rent out their properties as a primary residence.
  • Higher taxes for those who do not qualify for the primary residence subclass should be meaningful
    • Intent is to generate additional revenues for the Town to “improve affordability” in a manner consistent with other jurisdictions.
    • Informed by a strategy with a specific budget, goals, targets and expenditure areas.
    • While there is uncertainty regarding the specific revenue that could be generated, if the Town desired to increase revenues by ~ $2.5 million annually, based on 26% of properties being non-principal residences, this would lead to a residential property tax increase of approximately 50% (i.e., $850 per multi-unit or $1,500 per single detached).
  • Potential revenue uses could include but are not limited to:
    • Purchase of property for non-market housing.
    • Funding affordability programs in the community.
    • Incentivise development of accessory buildings or dwelling units.
    • Incentivise purpose-built rental development.
    • Increasing non-market housing supply.
  • Budgeting Considerations:
    • Need to develop a program budget.
    • Need to budget for incremental administrative costs.
    • Need to account for this change in the Town’s tax share policy so as not to inadvertently impact residential and non-residential tax share calculations.


The economics for the private sector to construct rental apartments when land prices are high is extremely challenging, which is why we do not see a lot of it in Canmore

Accepted Task Force Recommendations:

  • Develop an overarching policy to incentivise rental housing, which would include a breadth of tools – including tax incentives, development, and land supply policies.
  • Similar to incentives for full time occupancy, establish clear policy goals and targets to grow purpose built rental supply.
  • Through the tax relief or grant authority, adopt a policy that exempts new purpose-built rental properties from 75% of the municipal portion of residential property taxes for up to 10 years.
    • Program can be designed similar to Council’s recent decision in support of 900 Railway Avenue, which included the following conditions:
      • The property remains a long-term residential rental property with a minimum 12-month lease and at least 95% of the units rented to residents of Canmore;
      • Council will be provided an annual report on residency of tenants; and
      • If the property is ever converted from a long-term residential rental property, then the exempted taxes will become immediately due.
    • The policy would apply to new buildings that are not subdivided and include a minimum of rentable units that is yet to be determined but intended to be associated with apartment-style built form as well as smaller densification projects in established neighbourhoods.

Next Steps

  1. Council has accepted the recommendations from the Livability Task Force for planning purposes.
  2. Administration is now developing implementation plans.
  3. More information will be shared as it becomes available.