Ontario passes housing bill despite criticism from municipalities over funding
The Ontario government has passed housing legislation that overrides some municipal zoning laws and eliminates some development fees in an effort to follow through on the province’s goal of building 1.5 million homes.
The legislation—also known as Bill 23 or the “More Homes Built Faster Act”—was first proposed by the Ford government about a month ago and has since been criticized for leaving municipalities short billions of dollars.
In addition to setting housing goals for 29 large cities in Ontario, the Progressive Conservatives proposed numerous legislative changes, including allowing up to three units, as well as duplexes and triplexes, on a single residential lot without bylaw amendments or municipal permissions.
These units, as well as affordable housing, non-profit housing and “inclusionary zoning units, will be exempt from additional fees such as development charges, parkland dedication levies and community benefit charges.
Development charges, which are collected by cities to help pay for the cost of municipal services or impacted infrastructure such as roads and transit, will also be reduced up to 25 per cent for family-sized rental units.
The Association of Municipalities of Ontario has previously said these changes could leave communities short about $5 billion. This could lead to higher property taxes or service cuts.
In Toronto alone, the loss of development charges could result in a revenue loss of about $230 million, according to a staff report presented to city council.
“This would negatively impact the city’s ability to provide the services necessary to support growth over the long term,” the report states.
Toronto Mayor John Tory has already warned the province of an $815-million hole in the city’s budget brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and says that further revenue losses could be “devastating.”
“This would cause the postponement, and otherwise just not proceeding with many, many capital projects in the city,” Tory said earlier this month.
“And the part of it that is so frustrating for me is that those capital projects relate to expanding the sewer pipe to accommodate those buildings, or the transit that is going to be needed to serve those buildings or the daycare that is going to be needed to look after kids who move into those buildings.”
Speaking after the bill passed, Minister of Municipal Affairs Steve Clark said the province is entitled to about $1.5 billion from the federal government and he hopes to work with the province to get shovels in the ground faster.
“We have a big problem. It’s a crisis and we need all three levels of government doing their part,” he said.
“I happen to think that having an incentive to build more non-profit housing, more affordable housing, more inclusionary zoning, I think having a deep discount for family-sized rentals, is good public policy.”
Ontario interim Liberal Leader John Fraser said he was surprised to see a conservative government giving “a standing ovation for raising people’s taxes.”
“They are going to raise people’s property taxes. The minister knows that. He’s not willing to admit it,” he said. “They are giving developers a free pass on development charges with no guarantee that it’s going to reduce the cost of the home and they haven’t said anything about how they are actually going to build sewers and roads and community centres and add a fire station.”
The bill also temporarily freezes conservation authority fees while reducing the agency’s power. Conservation authorities will no longer need to consider factors such as pollution or land conservation when approving permit requirements.
Environmental groups have voiced concerns about limiting conservation authorities’ ability to block development for environmental reasons, especially as the government looks to open up some protected land for development.
The province is currently undergoing a 30-day consultation process to remove about 7,400 acres from the Greenbelt in order to accommodate the building of more homes. The government has also said it will add an additional 9,400 acres to the Greenbelt—although it is unclear where this will be.
The government says that construction on land removed from the Greenbelt would be expected to begin no later than 2025.
“If these conditions are not met, the government will return these properties to the Greenbelt,” officials said in a news release.
Opposition parties are accusing the PCs of not consulting Indigenous leaders, while also jeopardizing environmentally sensitive land.
In a statement, NDP Housing Critic Jessica Bell said the passage of Bill 23 benefits wealthy developers rather than build affordable housing.
“Instead of adopting the NDP’s housing solutions to fix this, Doug Ford has concocted a scheme that will line the pockets of his developer buddies waiting to carve up the Greenbelt,” Bell said.
“Ford’s legislation jeopardizes environmentally sensitive land; it puts renters at greater risk of being evicted or having their rent jacked up; and it will see purpose-built affordable rental buildings torn down and replaced with luxury condos the average person cannot afford.”
Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner said the PCs were ignoring important voices in an attempt to push this bill through the Legislature.
“Bill 23 makes way for land speculators to privately profit from the public value of protected land,” he said in a statement.
“What seems clear is the government’s decision to rush Bill 23 through Committee and avoid as much backlash as possible was because this bill was drafted for land speculators to cash in, while people pay the price.”
The 30-day consultation process to develop parts of the Greenbelt concludes on Dec. 4.
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
An Ontario man is being accused of changing his name, profession and life story multiple times to potentially more than 100 women online before leaving some out thousands of dollars.
A Strathcona County toddler has been rescued from suspected sexual exploitation, and the child's mother has been charged, police said.
U.S. President Joe Biden exhorted Congress Tuesday night to work with him to 'finish the job' of rebuilding the economy and uniting the nation as he delivered a State of the Union address aimed at reassuring a country beset by pessimism and fraught political divisions.
Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos will ask the provinces today whether or not they intend to accept the new health-care funding deal tabled by the prime minister.
LeBron James is the NBA's new career scoring leader. With a stepback jump shot with 10.9 seconds left in the third quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night, James pushed his career total to 38,388 points on Tuesday night and broke the record that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar held for nearly four decades.
A new ranking by global travel site Big 7 Travel has revealed the most Instagrammable places for people to visit in 2023, but only one Canadian location, Banff, is among them.
U.S. intelligence officials believe that the recently recovered Chinese spy balloon is part of an extensive surveillance program run by the Chinese military, according to multiple American officials familiar with the intelligence.
A Canadian Armed Forces surveillance plane was heading home on Tuesday after two intelligence-collecting flights over Haiti.
PM Trudeau presents premiers $196B health-care funding deal, with $46B in new funding over the next decade
The federal government is pledging to increase health funding to Canada's provinces and territories by $196.1 billion over the next 10 years, in a long-awaited deal aimed at addressing Canada's crumbling health-care systems with $46.2 billion in new funding.
A 16-year-old boy has died after being struck by a snow clearing truck in the parking lot of Les Galeries Laval shopping mall on Monday night.
Quebec interim Liberal leader Marc Tanguay says that in wanting to close Roxham Road to prevent irregular entry of asylum seekers into Quebec, the Parti Québécois and its leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon are behaving like Donald Trump.
London’s pledge of 47,000 homes includes assertive letter to province but avoids ‘punching them in the face’
Frustration with the province’s new housing legislation boiled over in council chambers
A 19-year-old is facing multiple criminal driving charges following a rollover crash last month that sent six people to hospital.
Several days after the discovery of her body, police in Woodstock have declared the death of 30-year-old Karen Cunningham as 'suspicious' in nature.
Waterloo regional police say one of the suspects in an armed robbery at Conestoga Mall last week has been located dead.
A fundraiser is underway in Paris, Ont., to try and support Scott Dammeier, the co-owner of Scott’s Family Restaurant, as he undergoes treatment for Stage Four terminal bladder cancer.
Roundabouts are under the microscope in Waterloo region as regional councillors are reviewing the safety of the road design following a pair of serious collisions involving pedestrians.
NEW THIS MORNING
NEW THIS MORNING | City's auditor general to release long-awaited convoy reports today
The city of Ottawa's auditor general is set to release long-awaited reports on the response to the 'Freedom Convoy' last year.
There is a new sign of financial issues with an Ottawa construction company that suddenly closed, leaving customers with unfinished projects unable to recoup their losses.
SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT | Freezing rain could be on the way this week
Less than a week after extreme cold, Ottawa could see freezing rain and temperatures well above average.
A River Canard, Ont. woman has solved part of a mystery she uncovered while decluttering her home last month. A woman who goes by the name of JoJo reached out to CTV News Windsor last week in an attempt to identify several anonymous war time photographs along with several postcards she found in a box dating back to the 1940s.
Two people have died in a serious single-vehicle crash in Kingsville, a third person was injured and transported to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
'Now we can sit back, relax and watch our children grow': Retired paramedic celebrates $800K lotto win
A Leamington, Ont. man and retired paramedic has 800,000 reasons to celebrate after he recently won big on an instant lotto game.
The national weather agency is calling for freezing rain followed by a heavy rainfall and strong winds are possible Thursday.
According to the seventh annual Ontario Economic Report, labour shortages, inflation, health care concerns and economic contraction fears are behind the low numbers.
The draft budget has a 3.95 per cent property tax increase, which would equate to about $182 for the typical home.
A former medical student who claims he fatally shot a fellow student in self-defence during a drug deal in Halifax denied Tuesday he planned to kill the man and steal the marijuana he was carrying.
Retirement is bittersweet for a Nova Scotia doctor who says she feels like she has abandoned the 2,000 patients she has been caring for because she was not able to find a doctor to replace her.
Police believe a man who was found dead behind a Nova Scotia Power substation in Stellarton, N.S., was trying to steal copper wire.
A new survey from the Bank of Montreal is shedding light on Canadians’ concerns about the economy and the impact it will have on retirement plans.
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith expressed her concerns with the federal government's proposed 'just transition' legislation directly to the prime minister on Tuesday, saying she hopes the two can find some common ground.
If Alberta accepts Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s federal health proposal, it would see, on average, $2.5 billion over the next 10 years, in line with population growth.
Police are searching for two suspects following a carjacking Monday.
Months after threatening action, Vancouver’s park board has evicted campervans and motorhomes parked illegally at a beach on the city’s west side.
While some premiers are calling the health-care offer presented by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Tuesday "disappointing," B.C.'s David Eby stopped short of that characterization.
Selina Robinson, the B.C. NDP's minister for post-secondary education, has revealed she is once again battling cancer.
An Alberta couple wants to ensure parents-to-be get the full picture when getting a sonogram after their son was born with a severe heart defect.
Warren Foegele scored twice in the second period and the Edmonton Oilers went on to beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-2 on Tuesday night.