Ontario set to reduce developer charges to spur new home construction
TORONTO – Reducing developer charges, allowing more units on one residential lot, and pursuing rent-to-own programs are among a host of measures Ontario announced Tuesday aimed at tackling the housing crisis.
The Progressive Conservative government has promised to build 1.5 million homes in 10 years, and introduced new legislation intended to spur and speed up development.
The province identified 29 municipalities in which the bulk of new housing will need to be built in order to reach that goal, and will require them to develop “pledges” of how they will meet their assigned targets, though there are so far no consequences for falling short.
Toronto will need 285,000 new homes, Ottawa will need 151,000, Mississauga will need 120,000 and Brampton will need 113,000, the province said. Ontario has granted the heads of Toronto and Ottawa so-called strong mayor powers to overrule council when votes conflict with building housing.
The list of municipalities with the greatest housing needs could point to other cities Premier Doug Ford may grant strong mayor powers to in the future.
Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark said he first wants to ensure the process gets underway in Toronto and Ottawa when those councils get sworn in next month.
“I’ll start looking at other opportunities after that, but I’m not yet there yet,” he said.
Ford and Clark previewed the legislation in a Toronto Region Board of Trade event earlier Tuesday.
Ontario’s housing crisis was decades in the making. Our government is taking bold action to build 1.5 million homes over 10 years to put the dream of ownership into reach of more Ontarians.
Thank you @TorontoRBOT for hosting us today to talk about our plan to build. pic.twitter.com/SXRyDV9HAz
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) October 25, 2022
“Our government will never ignore the many Ontario families who want a place to call home,” Ford said in his speech.
“Everyone’s dream is to have a little white picket fence. You know, when they put the key in the door, they know they’re building equity into it, they can do the little tweaks to their house and increase the value of it. That’s our goal. We won’t let the ideology and politics stand in the way of doing what’s right for all Ontarians.”
The legislation would allow up to three residential units – such as basement apartments and garden houses – on one lot without needing bylaw amendments. Those new units would also be exempt from development charges.
The province also proposes to freeze, reduce and exempt fees associated with new home construction in order to spur building. Affordable housing, non-profit housing and inclusionary zoning units – meaning affordable housing in new developments – as well as some “attainable” units would be exempt from various charges.
Rental builders would also see development charges reduced, with larger discounts on family-sized units.
Ontario’s housing supply shortage is a crisis – and we are determined to act. #MoreHomesBuiltFaster is the next stage in our government’s plan to get 1.5 million homes built in the next 10 years – and help all Ontarians find a home that meets their needs and budget. pic.twitter.com/LrA1HUQpQx
— Steve Clark (@SteveClarkPC) October 25, 2022
Opposition critics said cutting development charges could make it hard for municipalities to pay for services for residents of those homes, such as roads, community centres and transit.
Clark said municipalities have about $8 billion in development charge reserves across the province, and he hopes the two levels of government can work together toward the shared goal of getting housing built.
The new housing plan also includes introducing more housing density near transit stations, and using surplus government lands, modular homes and rent-to-own programs.
Yesterday, Ontario introduced the More Homes Built Faster Act to address the province’s housing crisis.
If passed, it would ensure that cities, towns, & rural communities grow with a mix of housing types that meet the needs of Ontarians. https://t.co/Dz5lhpPaFY #onhousing pic.twitter.com/tZAld2H6mQ
— Ontario Housing (@housingON) October 26, 2022
The government said it will consult with municipalities on reducing the property tax burden for multi-residential apartment buildings, as they are often taxed at double the rate of other residential properties.
The new legislation also proposes to temporarily freeze development fees that go to conservation authorities – they issue development permits in certain areas such as those prone to flooding.
As well, the bill would remove a minimum number of public meetings for draft plans to subdivide land, prioritize Ontario Land Tribunal hearings for cases that create the most housing, limit third-party appeals at the tribunal, and strengthen rules for heritage designations.
Clark said the policies represent the boldest housing changes the government has made to date.
He had also announced late Monday that the province was raising the non-resident speculation tax on homes purchased by foreign nationals from 20 per cent to 25 per cent, effective Tuesday.
Yesterday, the provincial government introduced the More Homes, Built Faster Act, 2022.
Read the plan here: https://t.co/kYk5Qfdj3C
OHBA’s media release: https://t.co/am6a7hzmbp
— Simcoe Home Builders (@SIMCOECOUNTYHBA) October 26, 2022
Today the Ontario government released their new housing plan to improve housing affordability and supply. Read more below:
https://t.co/G9WEOGyEk0#GOHBA #Ontario #ONhousing pic.twitter.com/Phof5Dbpyv
— Ottawa Home Builders (@GOHBA_Ottawa) October 25, 2022
A statement from Minister Hussen on the Government of Ontario’s new #housing legislation. @housingON pic.twitter.com/pZMHJMbJ6a
— CMHC (@CMHC_ca) October 26, 2022
RCCAO welcomes the Government of Ontario’s needed reforms to address the housing crisis in Ontario.
The reforms unveiled by @ONmunicipal Minister @SteveClarkPC earlier today are a solid step toward solving the housing crisis.
Full statement: https://t.co/vAnRpX4XcJ #onpoli
— RCCAO (@_RCCAO) October 25, 2022
BILD & @OntarioHBA applaud Ontario government’s new housing plan. The More Homes Built Faster Act will make it easier to build new homes more quickly, reduce costs and enable building of 1.5M new homes needed in next decade. https://t.co/FDAoH48J1J #onhousing @housingON pic.twitter.com/fO2JJ17ujQ
— BILD (@bildgta) October 25, 2022
Yesterday, @TorontoRBOT was pleased to host @FordNation and @SteveClarkPC for a major announcement about their plan to increase the supply of housing in our region.
Our President & CEO @DeSilvaJanet provides her thoughts in a message about this announcement: pic.twitter.com/4X7VeLbju3
— Toronto Region Board of Trade (@TorontoRBOT) October 26, 2022
Ontario’s housing announcement will help make it easier for Ottawa to build more ‘missing middle’ housing, but it doesn’t go far enough in many ways.
Ottawa will need to be bolder developing its new comprehensive Zoning By-Law for the city to achieve 151,000 new housing units. pic.twitter.com/eYAQaNyFyh
— A Better Ottawa (@ABetterOttawa) October 26, 2022
Doug Ford’s housing plan is no match for Ontario’s housing crisis — by @jm_mcgrath #onpoli https://t.co/VkumhCLenO
— The Agenda | TVO Today (@TheAgenda) October 25, 2022
.@FRPOFACTS is pleased to see the introduction of the More Homes Built Faster Act which will help us build the homes we need. We thank Premier @fordnation and ministers @SteveClarkPC and @MichaelParsa for their bold action and leadership. Read my full statement below. pic.twitter.com/u73dkdeEf2
— Tony Irwin (@Tonyirwin74) October 25, 2022
BREAKING: New Provincial Housing Legislation affecting every Ontario municipality legalizes at least triplexes in all low density zones, waives devp charges, limits appeals, sets “growth pledges” for every municipality, etc. But does it go far enough? @TVO https://t.co/IoeXV7apAA
— Brent Toderian (@BrentToderian) October 25, 2022
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 25, 2022.