Ontario's housing minister is shooting down a request from big city mayors for a change in funding criteria that would help more of them qualify for money to build infrastructure necessary for new homes.

The province has assigned housing targets to 50 municipalities and has said those that meet at least 80 per cent of their number annually will get a slice of the three-year, $1.2-billion Building Faster Fund.

The money could be used for housing-enabling infrastructure, such as roads and water lines, critical to building new homes.

But with one month left in the year, just nine of the 50 municipalities have met or exceeded their target for housing starts and another five are listed as being "on track," at between 80 and 99 per cent.

The Ontario Big City Mayors group asked Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Paul Calandra last month to base their eligibility for the fund on how many building permits municipalities issue, rather than on the number of housing starts, because putting shovels in the ground is out of their control.

When asked today if he was still considering that request, Calandra said no.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2023.