The government of Ontario is trying to encourage the construction of a lot of new housing over the next 10 years. More specifically, the plan is for 1.5 million new homes from now until 2033. To have a chance at hitting this target, the province has rightly recognized that some things will need to change around here and so they’ve been busy coming up with legislative changes such as Bill 23 (the More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022).
The Bill is really long, so I personally appreciate it when the act name itself does a good job of summarizing what it’s all about: more homes, built faster. But if you’d like to read the entire thing, you can do that over here. I also attended a breakfast this morning — put on by Goodmans — that provided a great summary of the key points. I took all of my notes on Twitter through a live stream, so if you’d like something more digestible, click here.
At a very high level, I would say that there are some obviously good changes in the Bill and some other things that will need refinement, such as the proposed changes around third-party appeals. The devil is in the details. And that was actually one of the key takeaways from the breakfast: This government is not afraid of being bold, moving quickly, and then working iteratively with stakeholders. It’s a less typical approach for government, but done is better than perfect, right?
This bill does very little to enhance intensification in cities (in fact the province has cancelled OPs in Hamilton and Halton that tried to do just that) and instead forces sprawl, increased taxes and environmental destruction on municipalities. Read more here at: https://environmentaldefence.ca/2022/10/31/ontarios-housing-bill-is-actually-a-trojan-horse-for-environmentally-catastrophic-rural-sprawl/
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In addition to paving the way to paving the greenbelt, it appears Bill23 will exacerbate the inequities and municipal financial predicaments well detailed in your Nov 9 blog here:
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A big problem will result if development charges are waived and it is expected that local Councils are expected to shift the cost of servicing growth to property taxes. Council’s have already approved their Capital Plans e.g. Vaughn is anticipating about 50% of the funding of infrastructure servicing growth will come from these fees.
Given that local government Councils are in charge of overseeing this infrastructure, they may simply reduce their servicing plans so less land is serviced given a reduction in funding.
The other factor to follow is land values as the Province amends OP’s for higher density development. They will likely rise and may result in unhelpful speculation. The Province just amended the newly approved the just approved Ottawa OP to allow for mid-rises on secondary roads.