Simcoe County Helps Homeowners Create Secondary or Garden Suites

Simcoe County Council continues to invest in strategies to develop new social housing units and has recommitted funds to support homeowners in creating secondary or garden suites

As part of its 2018 Budget, the County is providing $635,000 in additional funding to grow and expand this program. These County funds will complement $300,000 already dedicated through federal and provincial funds for creation of secondary and/or garden suites this year, bringing the total available funding close to $1 million for 2018.

Simcoe County Warden Gerry Marshall says the County is looking to create close to 2,700 new units by 2024

“With 900 new affordable housing units already created since 2014, our Council is committed to helping our staff reach our target of creating 2,685 new units by 2024. Our Secondary Suites program is a win-win for everyone as it provides added incentive to our homeowners to be part of the solution, while contributing to our affordable housing goals across all our communities – particularly smaller or rural hamlets and villages where larger builds aren’t as feasible.”

Collingwood Deputy Mayor Brian Saunderson says the County is already building a large affordable housing complex at High and Second Streets, and this program introduces an additional way for the Town to even more affordable housing units.

“Affordable, safe and secure housing is an essential component of an open, inclusive and complete community. The Secondary Suites program is an important initiative by the County to combat this serious issue as part of its 10-year Homelessness Prevention Strategy. The County has pledged to create approximately 2,600 new affordable housing units across the Simcoe region by 2024 and our local Collingwood target is 134 units. The County is building a new $40 million affordable housing complex in Collingwood at High and Second Streets that is replacing 30 townhouse units with 147 new apartment style units which represents a net increase of 117 units. The Secondary Suites program provides another mechanism to support the creation of additional units so that we can meet our target by 2024. Our planning staff will be bringing a report forward at the Development and Operations meeting next Monday, looking at ways we can expand the secondary suites program in Collingwood to include semi-detached dwellings and townhouses in addition to single detached dwellings with certain pre-conditions like sufficient parking to accommodate any renters.”

The program provides financial support in the form of a forgivable loan, up to a maximum of $25,000, to create a secondary or garden suite. These new units will then be placed in the social housing rental system.

The County will work with homeowners to answer many frequently asked questions such as;

• How much funding can I qualify for?
• What is a ‘forgivable loan’?
• If I’m on a waiting list, can I start the work?
• Can I own multiple properties?
• Can the property be owned by a corporation?
• Can the property be a legal duplex, Boarding Lodging Rooming House or apartment building?
• Are there timing requirements?
• Can I do the work myself?
• How do I find a contractor?
• What if the cost to create the secondary suite is higher than the funding amount?
• When the apartment is done, how soon do I have to rent it out?
• What if I decide not to rent out the apartment?

Funding will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information or to apply to the Secondary and Garden Suite program, visit

In Collingwood, contact the Planning Services Department – Planning Technician Robin Shugan for zoning provisions.

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