REALPAC is calling on the new administration at Queen’s Park to revisit Ontario’s inclusionary zoning regulation.
The national industry association, which represents Canada’s real property sector, would like to see the province define requirements around reserving units in new developments for affordable housing. As it stands, the regulation defers to municipalities on specifics, paving the way for uneven implementation.
This message comes in a new white paper, Does Inclusionary Zoning Work? In it, REALPAC finds that inconsistent application and unbalanced partnership between government and industry could blunt the effectiveness of this policy tool and produce opposite, unintended consequences.
“Inclusionary zoning, contrary to the understanding of some policymakers, is not free housing,” said Michael Brooks, CEO of REALPAC. “If used improperly, it can drive up costs for home-buyers and work at cross-purposes with government housing plans that seek to improve access and affordability.”
For example, the white paper points out that municipal provisions for how long housing delivered through inclusionary zoning must remain affordable have the potential to lock buyers into this subsidized product. In order to facilitate their move-up to market-rate housing, the white paper asserts that buyers should be able to realize increases in the value of their property at the time of its resale.
Province-wide definitions were dropped from the regulation between its draft and final version, enacted this past winter, in a move the white paper says blindsided industry stakeholders. REALPAC sees a resurrection of the industry-supported provisions contained in the draft version of the regulation as the way forward on inclusionary zoning. At the same time, however, the industry association cautions that the policy tool should be treated as one of last resort, to be used alongside and where other policy tools fail to deliver affordable housing.