housing approvals

Streamlined approvals to provide faster housing: report

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

A new report by the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) finds that although the housing supply chain in the GTA can feature delays, there are ways to increase the speed and efficiency of housing approvals, which will in turn help provide more housing supply.

The report, called “Streamlining the Development and Building Approvals Process in Ontario: Good Practice Concepts and a Guide to Action,” suggests the fastest way for the Progressive Conservatives to produce results is streamlining the development and building approval process.

“Representing Canada, Toronto is 54th out of 190 countries assessed by the World Bank in terms of the efficiency of its approvals process for routine building projects,” said Richard Lyall, president of RESCON, in a press release. “This ranking isn’t for an 80-storey mixed-development high-rise – it’s for the most basic of buildings such as a warehouse. We are a G7 nation – 54th for Toronto, Ontario and Canada isn’t acceptable.”

“We must do something about this ranking within the next three years: delays on this scale cost the Ontario government, industry and consumers billions of dollars,” he continued. “If this is not addressed, we will lose out on potential international investors.”

The report, which was created by World Bank consultant Michael de Lint (also of RESCON) over the past nine months, includes the recommendation from RESCON’s director of building regulatory reform and technical standards that the Ontario government complete the following:

  1. Pass a Transparency Act to improve timelines and support a transparency checklist.
  2. Establish a common data or file platform for electronic permitting to allow the move to a state-of-the-art digital system.
  3. Require a coordinating professional and supportive documentation to ensure all submissions are complete and accurate, leading to faster approvals.

“The slow approvals process inhibits the ability of builders to provide the supply of new houses and condos that new home buyers should be able to purchase,” said de Lint. “This report can help point the government in the right direction toward less red tape and faster compliance.”

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