The provincial government is creating a new program that rewards municipalities that meet their housing commitments.

The $1.2 billion Building Faster Fund will provide funding to eligible municipalities that agreed to housing targets with the province.

Communities will be eligible for funding if they hit at least 80 per cent of their target.

Municipalities that exceed their target that do better than 100% get a bonus.

Speaking to delegates attending the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference in London, Premier Doug Ford says rural, small and remote communities not assigned housing targets will also have access to the fund.

"I want to reassure our small, rural, and remote municipalities who don't have a housing target, ten per cent of the program dollars, $120,000,000, will be set aside to support housing in your communities," says Ford.

Ford says he wants at least 110,000 new housing starts within the first year of the program.

The Premier is also expanding legislation intended to expedite housing projects to more communities.

"We're extending strong mayor powers to another 21 municipalities that commit to provincial housing targets. Specifically, municipalities projected to have populations of over 50,000 people by 2031 will become eligible for strong mayor powers and Building Faster Fund as long as the heads of council provide written confirmation to the province that they pledge to meet their housing targets," says Ford.

The city of Thunder Bay is among to receive the powers if it agrees to a housing pledge.

The province is setting its housing target at 2,200 new starts.