inclusionary zoning policy

Toronto approves controversial Inclusionary Zoning policy

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Toronto City Council has adopted the new Inclusionary Zoning policy framework that has been the subject of major contention throughout the past decade. Though tenant groups such as ACORN have long advocated for a plan that would see more affordable units introduced into the market, they are not convinced the new policy goes far enough.

“ACORN members are happy to have won the policy, but disappointed that it could have been much stronger,” the group said in a statement. “What council voted on today, units affordable for 99 years, IZ applying to the entire development, are huge victories that ACORN members and allies won through the hard work of organizing. That said, council voted to protect developer profits rather than the right to housing.”

About the new Inclusionary Zoning policy 

The City of Toronto is the first city in Ontario to implement inclusionary zoning which will require certain new residential developments to include affordable housing units.

On November 9th, 2021, Council voted in favour of a Inclusionary Zoning Official Plan amendment, a Zoning Bylaw amendment and draft Implementation Guidelines, which will make it mandatory for certain new developments around Protected Major Transit Stations Areas to include affordable rental and ownership housing units beginning in 2022.

“This comprehensive Inclusionary Zoning policy will get more affordable housing built in our city,” said Mayor John Tory. “Toronto’s plan supports its hard-working residents with low-to-moderate household incomes, builds inclusive communities and helps to ensure that affordable housing remains available well into the future. I’m pleased that City Council adopted this plan, which will help the City achieve its target of approving 40,000 affordable rental and 4,000 new affordable ownership homes across Toronto by 2030. Policies like this one are the right move forward to get thousands of homes built and it will ensure that our city remains vibrant and strong as it continues to grow.”

Inclusionary Zoning will secure five to 10 per cent of condominium developments (over minimum unit thresholds) as affordable housing, increasing gradually to eight per cent to 22 per cent by 2030. The amount of affordable housing required will vary depending on where in the city the development is located and whether the units are intended for rental or ownership, with the highest requirements in the Downtown area, followed by Midtown and Scarborough Centre.

According to the City’s official press release, Toronto’s Inclusionary Zoning framework sets out foundational requirements for affordable housing to be incorporated on a consistent basis in new developments and ensures affordability is maintained for 99 years. The policy will be closely monitored and reviewed after one year to allow for adjustments that may be required including changes to the phase-in and/or set aside rate, alterations to the minimum development size threshold and any other changes needed to ensure market stability and production of affordable housing units.

Additional market analysis will be conducted in areas of the city currently undergoing a planning study, such as Little Jamaica and the Sheppard Subway Corridor, to identify opportunities to expand Inclusionary Zoning to other areas, with an update report by mid-2022.

In the City’s policy, rent and ownership prices will be centred on new income-based definitions of affordable housing, targeting households with an annual income of between $32,486 and $91,611.

This policy tool was developed based on detailed financial impact analysis and input received from extensive public consultations, which took place throughout the last two and a half years. The resulting balanced, forward-looking and equitable framework will help the City achieve the HousingTO Action Plan target of approving 40,000 affordable rental homes and 4,000 new affordable ownership homes by 2030.

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