The Case for Conversions

Right now, millions of square feet of office space sit empty across Canada and fewer workers are coming downtown since the COVID-19 pandemic. So, as part of our mission to support the post-pandemic recovery of downtowns, we set out to explore the opportunity that vacant and underutilized office space presents for increasing housing supply while making downtown districts across Canada vibrant, equitable, livable, and resilient.

The report looks at current potential in six cities – Victoria, Regina, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Halifax, and Moncton – and outlines four conditions that enable conversions: building types, policy/regulatory context, location, and market conditions.

Key findings:

  • Potential exists to create 18,000 to 22,000 housing units in just 11 cities
  • Viable solutions to financial and policy barriers exist
  • Conversions offer a chance to rethink how we plan and build cities



Research Report


April 2023