Strong Mayors will expedite plan to build 1.5 million homes: Municipal Affairs Minister

Premier Doug Ford and Toronto Mayor John Tory tour a new Purolator plant in Scarborough.
Premier Doug Ford and Toronto Mayor John Tory tour a new Purolator plant in Scarborough.

Ontario Construction News staff writer

Toronto and Ottawa mayors will have increased power after Oct. 24 municipal elections — and other large Ontario cities could follow soon after.

Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark’s Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act introduced Wednesday details a plan for enhanced mayoral authority with veto power over any bylaw passed by councillors if it “could potentially interfere with a prescribed provincial priority.”

Steve Clark
Steve Clark

That would include bylaws affecting housing developments and “critical infrastructure” projects like highways or public transit.

As well, the strong mayor could veto a budget.

A two-thirds majority vote of council could overrule the mayor’s veto, although Queen’s Park would still have regulatory authority to rein in a potential rogue mayor.

Clark says the new powers for mayors could expedite his plan to build 1.5 million new homes across the province over the next decade.

With one-third of the growth over the next decade expected in Toronto and Ottawa,” Clark says the government “needs to support efficient, local decision-making to speed up development.”

This legislation is an important tool to get more homes built faster and is one of a number of initiatives being taken by the Ontario government to address the housing shortage.

“The reality is over one third of Ontario’s growth over the next decade is expected to happen in Toronto and Ottawa, and too many families are already struggling with housing and the rising cost of living. We need to support efficient local decision-making to help cut through red tape and speed up development timelines,” Clark said. “While there is no silver bullet to addressing the housing crisis, the Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act is another step in the right direction to provide more tools to municipal leaders to deliver on their platform commitments to constituents.

“The province is actively deepening our cooperation on all fronts across all municipalities to get 1.5 million homes built over the next 10 years.”Tim Hudak, a former PC leader who heads Ontario Real Estate Association, supports the bill and calls it a “critical and overdue step towards solving the housing affordability and supply crisis.”

Hudak is urging the government to expand the powers to mayors outside Toronto and Ottawa.

“More can still be done … including ending exclusionary zoning in Ontario’s highest-demand urban neighbourhoods, which would allow for the building of duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes on lots traditionally zoned for single-family housing,” said Hudak.


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