Breaking News: Ontario Housing Supply Action Plan Announcement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ontario Housing Supply Action Plan will provide more Housing in Ontario by removing barriers and cutting red tape. 

Today Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing released a visionary plan that will remove barriers and provide more housing for the Ontario homebuyers. More Homes More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan includes a range of legislative changes that will be put in place in order to increase housing supply, housing affordability and give homebuyers choices. Currently, 9.2 million people (25% of Canada’s population) live in the Greater Golden Horseshoe and over the next 20 years the area is expected to house 13.5M people. The Government aims to invest on a mix of housing types and sizes such as multiplexes, low and mid-rise apartments and condos large enough for families.

The Action Plan was informed by a broad public consultation that included feedback from the general public, the business community, municipalities, the environmental sector and others. The government received more than 2000 submissions with 85% of them coming from the public. According to ministry estimates, 83% of Ontario Households could not afford the average price of a resale home in 2018. It was also revealed that adding 10,000 housing starts per year is estimated to grow real GDP by 0.3% and create about 15,000 new jobs over three years. However, it can take as long as 10 years to complete a low or high rise in the GTA.

The Province’s five-point housing supply plan focuses on SPEED, COST, MIX, RENT and INNOVATION and aims to increase the supply of housing that is affordable and provide current and future homebuyers with more choices. The new measures proposed, reduce red tape by streamlining the complex development approvals, by removing duplications and barriers and by making costs and timelines more predictable. The plan also simplifies the process of creating new rental housing options.

The Minister highlighted that the Housing Supply Action Plan will require a provincewide effort that includes municipalities, the private industry and non-profits. We applaud the provincial government for recognizing constraints on housing supply and for their determination to reduce red tape in order to make it easier to live and do business in Ontario. “On behalf of our members, we are very pleased with the expansive suite of tools and changes being proposed to combat housing affordability, by cutting red tape, increasing supply and maintaining choice for the homebuyer, “said Suzanne Mammel, CEO of the Hamilton-Halton Home Builders’ Association.

 

HIGHLIGHTS:

 

Theme Area 1: Steps the government has already taken

  • Modernizing apprenticeship ratios and winding down College of Trades to support more skilled trades in housing sector
  • Releasing surplus lands
  • Exempting new construction from rent control
  • Infrastructure investments to support housing
  • Transit investments to support housing
  • Transforming Tarion and enhancing consumer protection

 

Theme Area 2: New and recently announced initiatives linked to the Housing Supply Action Plan

 

Planning Act

  • Streamlining approvals and reducing timelines (120 days for Official Plans & 90 days for zoning)
  • Amendments to support secondary suites
  • Changes to community benefits (sec 37 and parkland dedication) to make them more transparent and predictable
  • Community Planning Permits Systems in Major Transit Station Areas will streamline approvals to 45 days
  • Enable the Minister to require the use of the Community Planning Permit System in specific areas such as Major Transit Station Areas

 

LPAT

  • LPAT hearings will allow fresh evidence (de novo hearings) and allow examination of witnesses at hearings
  • Additional adjudicators will be brought on to address the backlog of transitioned OMB hearings
  • Appeal fees will be adjusted to self sustain LPAT, but not act as a barrier to justice
  • LPAT decisions to be based on best planning outcomes (vs a conformity test)

 

Development Charges

  • Waste will no longer be a soft service, but rather a fully funded hard service (no deduction)
  • DCs will be deferred to occupancy for rentals and non-profits and payable over a 5-year period
  • Soft services will be amalgamated into a new community benefits charge (along with Sec 37 and parkland) that will have a new more transparent and predictable formula based on land valuation (further consultation will occur on the structure of this). These services will still fall under a “growth pays for growth” model, but there will be caps in place, greater certainty by eliminating negotiations around Sec 37 density bonusing and a connection to land value. Community benefits will exempt some housing (i.e. non-profit).
  • Locking in the DC rate sooner in the process to enhance certainty at the time of zoning or site plan application (not current pulling of permits)
  • Secondary suite exemptions

 

Secondary Suites

  • Greater flexibility for ancillary buildings and within main building
  • Clarity on parking requirements
  • Development Charges exemptions

 

Inclusionary Zoning

  • The current rules set out in the existing regulation will continue to apply
  • However, IZ framework will through a legislative amendment, only apply within a Community Planning Permit System (CPPS is a package that rolls zoning, site plan and building permit into a single streamlined approvals process). Within a Major Transit Station Area (MTSA) any use of inclusionary zoning would require a CPPS that meets the minimum density targets of the MTSA – meaning that the entire MTSA would have to be pre-zoned to achieve the minimum density targets.

 

Education Act

  • Focus on reducing costs, increasing accountability and standardizing education development charges rates while enabling a more localized approach within school boards
  • Increase predictability of education development charge rates
  • More innovative approaches to site selection
  • The cap/restrictions currently in place will continue (allowing only modest increases in EDCs)

 

Growth Plan

  • New Growth Plan is finalized and will be in force on May 16th
  • The density and intensification targets have been further simplified from the proposal earlier this winter (two categories instead of three) to better reflect local infrastructure capacity and municipal requests for lower targets
  • “A” category of municipalities will have a 50% intensification target and a 50 persons and jobs per ha target (previous proposal had some municipalities at 60%)
  • “B” category of smaller outer ring municipalities will have a 40% intensification target and a maintain current densities target
  • Fast tracked planning for Major Transit Station Areas (MTSA)
  • Increased encouragement towards mixed-use in some employment areas
  • Streamlined and modernized approach to settlement boundary expansion

 

PPS

  • PPS will be amended and updated to reduce barriers and encourage more housing supply
  • Further consultations on a new updated PPS will be launched soon

 

Conservation Authorities Act

  • Province recently launched consultation to clarify mandate of CAs towards core services
  • Streamlining CA role in Planning

 

Endangered Species Act

  • Province recently launched consultation to modernize ESA
  • Greater transparency in species listings
  • New authorization processes
  • Species at Risk Conservation Trust that provides an option to pay a charge in lieu of completing certain on-the-ground activities

 

Excess Soils / Brownfields

  • Province launched consultation yesterday on Excess Soils and Brownfields Regs
  • Improvements to brownfields Reg & certain exemptions for RSCs
  • Encouraging greater reuse of excess soil & reducing soil sent to landfills

 

Environmental Assessments

  • Province recently launched consultation to modernize EAs
  • Modernize EA Act to focus on higher risk activities and exempt lower risk
  • Eliminate duplication

 

Ontario Heritage Act

  • Direction will be provided on how municipalities can use the Ontario Heritage Act while allowing for compatible changes and creating consistent appeals
  • Create a consistent appeals process

 

WSIB

  • Lower WSIB premiums
  • Occupational Health & Safety Act to be amended to reduce employers training costs and unnecessary paperwork

 

OBC

  • Remove requirement that all new homes include infrastructure for an electric vehicle charging station
  • Working towards harmonization with National Code

 

Theme Area 3: Future Items

  • Further efforts towards streamlining development application process
  • Working with municipalities and federal government on housing data to better inform decisions
  • Further guidance materials to make it easier to build secondary suites
  • Clearer guidance materials for tenants and landlords to know their rights & settle disputes
  • More info on co-ownership, life leases etc