Ontario to change definition of affordable housing

​Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Ontario Government has introduced legislation that would change the definition of affordable housing, take income and local market factors into account, and be exempt units from development-related charges.

The proposed change would update the definition of affordable housing units that would qualify for development-related charge discounts and exemptions. This approach reflects the ability of local households to pay for housing and recognizes the diversity of housing markets across the province. It also supports the government’s efforts to lower the cost of building, purchasing and renting affordable homes across the province.

“Too many people in Ontario are struggling to find a home that they can afford and our government is working hard to help them,” said Paul Calandra, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “This proposed legislation will increase the supply of affordable housing across Ontario and make it easier for people to find a home that truly meets their needs and their budgets.”

The proposed change would more closely align with the definition of affordable housing in the current Provincial Policy Statement. This definition has been in place since 2005 and is currently in effect provincewide.

Ontario will also be consulting on new regulations as part of the ongoing strategy to streamline hearings and speed up decisions at the Ontario Land Tribunal. The results from this fall’s consultations will help set service standards and prioritize resolution of certain cases, including cases that would create the most housing.

The government is also proposing changes that would, if passed, help support Volkswagen Group and PowerCo SE’s historic investment to build an electric vehicle battery cell manufacturing facility in the City of St. Thomas, creating thousands of jobs. These changes would give the City of St. Thomas the authority to provide PowerCo SE municipal-based incentives that were negotiated in partnership with the municipality.

“We are focused on creating the conditions for growth and construction to take place and making it less expensive to get housing built,” said Rob Flack, associate minister of housing. “Far too many people are struggling with the rising cost of living and with finding housing that meets their family’s needs.

“Discounts and exemptions on development-related fees could help lower the cost of building, purchasing, and renting affordable homes across the province, helping to ensure more Ontarians in all parts of the province can find a truly affordable home.”

To support procurement savings and efficiencies at the municipal level across the province, the government will also be engaging and collaborating with municipalities to ensure they can benefit from provincial supply chain programs and strategies, led by Supply Ontario. Increasing procurement collaboration with municipalities supports Ontario’s commitment of leveraging consolidated spending to enable cost savings and efficiencies in all levels of government in Ontario.

“Municipalities are committed to working with the province to increase housing supply and improve housing affordability. Including income as a measure of affordability in Ontario is essential to making home ownership and rental housing more affordable for more people,” said Colin Best, president of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario


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