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Toronto gets $114M reward for exceeding Ontario housing targets

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The Ontario government is providing Toronto with $114 million as a reward for exceeding its provincially-set housing targets.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s government established housing targets for numerous large cities back in 2022, allotting Toronto a lofty goal of building 285,000 units by 2031.

Each city was also given an annual goal and told that if they achieved 80 per cent of the housing starts, they would be eligible for funding as part of the province’s three-year “Building Faster Fund.”

Cities that exceed their goals are also eligible for additional funding bonuses.

According to the province, Toronto exceeded its 2023 target by 51 per cent.

On Thursday, the premier announced that Toronto would get $114 million in funding through the “Building Faster Fund” after breaking ground on 31,656 new housing units last year.

“These funds can be used by the city for infrastructure projects that lay the groundwork for more housing and community development,” Ford told reporters at a news conference. “The city's progress in building homes is just incredible.

Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow said the money will be “put to good use.”

“We're building housing. We're working with developers, both non-profit and for profit. And, we have different programs,” she said. “I'm meeting with our team every two weeks to look at how many approvals are being given each week and how fast are we building them.”

“This $114 million is a welcome boost to all the efforts that we are taking right now.”

Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow, left, and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, right, pose for a photo with a cheque to the City of Toronto for housing development at Toronto City Hall, in Toronto on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Arlyn McAdorey )

The provincial government will announce the rewards for other municipalities that met, exceeded or achieved their assigned housing targets “in the coming weeks.”

Twelve Ontario municipalities in total have exceeded their housing targets, while another seven are “on track” to do so.

Unspent funds will be made available for housing-enabling infrastructures to all municipalities through an application process.

New housing legislation coming next month

“We're going to get shovels in the ground faster, starting with the next edition of our Housing Supply Action Plan next month,” Ford told reporters on Thursday.

The Ford government pledged in 2022 to release housing legislation every year they are in power in an effort to deal with the crisis.

Few details have been released about what it will entail, with Housing Minister Paul Calandra hinting it was coming “very soon.”

The last few bills included giving cities the power to expand their boundaries for housing, overriding some municipal zoning laws and eliminating some development fees.

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