Ontario introduces sweeping changes to spur housing construction

Ontario Construction News staff writer

Reducing developer charges, allowing more than two units to be built on single residential lots, and pursuing rent-to-own programs are included 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 the More Homes Built Faster Act to spur and speed up development.

According to the province, Toronto will need 285,000 new homes, Ottawa will need 151,000, Mississauga will need 120,000 and Brampton will need 113,000. Premier Doug Ford has granted the mayors of Toronto and Ottawa strong mayor powers to overrule council when votes conflict with housing goals.

Steve Clark
Steve Clark

“For too many Ontarians, including young people, newcomers, and seniors, finding the right home is still too challenging,” said Steve Clark, minister of municipal affairs and housing. “This is not just a big-city crisis: the housing supply shortage affects all Ontarians, including rural, urban and suburban, north and south, young and old.”

Clark says his plan plan puts in place actions to support the development of “gentle density” – housing like triplexes or garden suites – to bridge gaps between single family homes and high-rise apartments. That means exclusionary zoning rules in certain municipalities would cancelled to allow property owners to build three units on one lot, without lengthy approvals and 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.

The government will also consult with the public, stakeholders and municipalities while engaging with Indigenous communities to review provincial housing and land use planning policies to find ways to remove more barriers to getting homes built.

“Ontario’s housing supply crisis is a problem which has been decades in the making. It will take both short-term strategies and long-term commitment from all levels of government, the private sector and not-for-profits to drive change,” said Michael Parsa, Associate Minister of Housing.

Actions in the plan include:

  • Creates a new attainable housing program to drive the development of housing. Sites across all regions of Ontario will be considered, including those in the north, central, east and southwest regions.
  • Increases the Non-Resident Speculation Tax rate from 20 per cent to 25 per cent to deter non-resident investors from speculating on the province’s housing market and help make home ownership more attainable for Ontario residents.
  • Freezes and reduces government charges to spur new home construction and reduce the costs of housing.
  • Builds more density near transit, unlocking innovative approaches to design and construction, and removing red tape to get shovels in the ground faster.
  • Increases consumer protection measures for home buyers and consulting on ways to help more renters become homeowners.


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