With the affordable housing glut affecting thousands of Ontarians and rental housing providers, Ontario’s new “More Homes, More Choice” housing supply action plan aims to address the root problems that have stagnated affordable housing development for too long.
Details of the long-awaited plan were revealed today at a press conference in Toronto—and just as many anticipated, it includes a full-spectrum suite of legislative changes aimed at increasing the affordable housing supply by removing barriers and unnecessary red tape.
“We’ve heard loud and clear from families across Ontario that finding housing that is affordable takes too long and costs too much,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “After years of neglect by the former government, there is now a housing crisis in Ontario and the dream of ownership is out of reach for too many. Our plan will make it easier to build the right type of homes in the right places, giving Ontarians and their families more flexibility when looking for a home they can afford.”
Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan was developed after a lengthy public consultation period that included feedback from the rental-housing industry, research and development sectors, municipalities, the agricultural and environmental sector, and regular citizens. Moving forward, Clark stressed that the plan will require a province-wide effort that includes municipalities, non-profits and private industry, and will be a comprehensive “all-of-government initiative” that will include legislative amendments to 13 government Acts.
Garnering the support of REALPAC, the proposed amendments are intended to streamline the overly complex development approvals process to remove unnecessary duplication and barriers, making costs and timelines more predictable. Currently it can take up to 10 years to complete an average high-rise project and 11 years to complete a low-rise project across the Greater Toronto Area.
“We commend Minister Clark for running a highly consultative process, and the outcome, this plan, will improve housing affordability in Ontario and allow builders to get back to the job of increasing supply of all housing types,” Michael Brooks, CEO of REALPAC, said.
Also on board with the plan is The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD). “The challenge is a basic one,” said Dave Wilkes, President and CEO at BILD. “Previous government policies and procedures have created structural barriers to the efficient operation of the housing market, which has resulted in a generational shortfall of housing. Today, the Ford government has signalled its intent to address this problem to ensure that the right type of housing is built at the right price across the Greater Toronto Area.”
As it stands there are roughly 1,000 cases representing almost 100,000 housing units across Ontario still waiting for consideration at the LPAT. Furthermore, according to BILD, government fees, taxes and charges have been adding as much as 25 per cent to the cost of an average new home in the region.
“It just takes too long to build new housing in the GTA,” said Wilkes. “This restricts supply and negatively impacts affordability. When you then layer on a disproportionate share of the cost for new infrastructure, parks, and municipal services to new homes, you now have the recipe for what we are currently experiencing.”
“A Place to Grow: Growth Plan” for the Greater Golden Horseshoe
Along with the “More Homes, More Choice” housing supply action plan, the government has also launched its “A Place to Grow: Growth Plan” for the Greater Golden Horseshoe” to address the needs of the region’s growing population, diversity and local priorities.
Like the housing supply action plan, new measures here will focus on key five themes— Speed, Cost, Mix, Rent and Innovation—all with the goal of improving the affordable housing supply in the vibrant agricultural region, while also protecting health and safety, and the environment.
Meanwhile, the purported residual benefits of the new plans could include: an increase in construction activity; new investment interest; and the creation of thousands of private sector construction jobs, all while fulfilling the larger goal of beefing up the province’s housing supply.
“Whether you are a first-time homebuyer, a family looking for a larger apartment to rent or a senior hoping to downsize, our action plan puts people first,” Clark said. “Combined with our government’s investment in renewed community housing, our Housing Supply Action Plan is sending a clear message that no matter what your situation you can count on our government to always put people first.”
Key areas the Government of Ontario pledges to focus on:
Download all the details at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/more-homes-more-choice-ontarios-housing-supply-action-plan