Ford kicks off housing summit with funding to help municipalities cut red tape
Ontario's largest communities will get new funding to help speed up development approvals, Premier Doug Ford announced as he hosted a housing summit Wednesday, but the municipal leaders he met with say much stronger action is needed.
Ford said his goal for the virtual meeting with big city mayors and regional chairs was to come up with concrete ways to allow more families to buy a home.
"While the solutions may seem obvious, implementing them takes a lot of hard work and determination," he said in his opening remarks.
A new $45-million Streamline Development Approval Fund will help the 39 largest municipalities approve housing applications more quickly, Ford said. As well, the province said it will work with municipalities to develop a data standard for planning and development applications that should speed up the processes.
The housing crisis in Ontario won't be solved overnight, said Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark, but removing red tape can help get more homes built faster.
"There is no silver bullet," Clark said after the summit. "Addressing Ontario's housing supply crisis is a long-term strategy that requires long-term commitment, collaboration and co-ordination."
The Progressive Conservative government is expecting a report early this year from a housing affordability task force, which was appointed to look into measures to boost the supply of rental and ownership housing, reduce red tape, and other options to address housing issues.
Clark said changes to zoning rules to allow for more density are among many suggestions under consideration.
"We need housing of all types," he said. "We need missing middle, we need that purpose-built rental, yes, we need single family as well. But we also need that mixture of homes that really reflects local communities."
Jeff Lehman, the mayor of Barrie, Ont., and the chair of the Ontario's Big City Mayors caucus, said the new development approval fund is appreciated, but more action is needed.
"The run-up in prices is so steep and the rise in rent is so high we're going to need more substantive solutions to solve the problem," he said after the summit.
"We can always make the processes better or faster, I think, but we're going to have to be bolder than that if we're going to make a substantive difference in the actual cost of housing."
Ontario could change tax policy to create incentives to build rental apartments, Lehman said as one example.
But there is a limited amount of time in which this government can take bolder steps. Clark said he hopes he will be able to get one more bill passed before the upcoming spring election, though he notes that there will also be a budget to introduce, debate and pass as well.
Both Clark and Lehman also said labour is proving to be a challenge in building homes, as a lack of people in skilled trades is slowing construction.
The Ontario Real Estate Association urged the government to consider supports for first-time home buyers and and allowing alternatives to traditional home ownership, such as rent-to-own.
"Increasing housing supply is the only path forward," OREA president David Oikle said in a statement.
"Demand side measures, like new taxes or bans on foreign buyers are a distraction. Ontario needs to learn from other jurisdictions like New Zealand and take bold action, like ending exclusionary zoning in large cities."
Ontario's Opposition New Democrats say they want to see more rent controls and measures to help people trying to get into the increasingly unaffordable market, as well as stricter rules for speculators.
"we heard no clear concrete measures that is going to make it easier for someone to buy their first home or for a renter, a senior, a single parent to pay the rent," said NDP critic Jessica Bell.
Ford and Clark are set to host a meeting on Sunday with rural, remote and northern municipalities to discuss their specific housing challenges. Clark will also participate in a federal-provincial-territorial meeting Thursday on housing.
Figures in Ontario's fall economic statement show year-to-date home starts were 16 per cent higher than in the previous year, and rental housing starts were 14 per cent higher.
In the resale market, a frenzy peaked in March 2021 at a record high, before moderating by September. But in that month the average home resale price in Ontario was 31.4 per cent higher than the February 2020 pre-pandemic level.
The government pointed to low interest rates, higher overall disposable incomes, limited resale listings and shifting home preferences to explain the strong demand.
Telling figures illustrating the province's heated housing markets can also be found in the land transfer tax revenue. In 2020-21, Ontario collected about $3.7 billion in revenue from land transfer taxes. In 2021-22, the total was projected to skyrocket to more than $5 billion.
The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board said earlier this month that a record 121,712 homes were sold through its MLS system last year, up 28 per cent compared with 2020 and nearly eight per cent above the previous 2016 high of 113,040.
The average 2021 selling price set a peak of $1.095 million, up about 18 per cent from the high the prior year of $929,636.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2022.
Toronto Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
As the May long weekend kicked off, a massive thunderstorm in southern Ontario and Quebec brought strong wind gusts that knocked down trees, took out power and left at least three people dead.
The federal government is reporting a sharp rise in influenza in recent months, at a time of the year when detected cases generally start to fall in Canada.
Health officials in Toronto say they are investigating the first suspected case of monkeypox in the city.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says he will not be running in the race to pick a new leader of the United Conservative party.
The United Kingdom's former prime minister Tony Blair says Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to invade Ukraine is an 'act of madness.' In an interview on CTV's Question Period airing Sunday, Blair said Putin doesn't appear to be the same man he knew in the early 2000s.
Roberta Drury, a 32-year-old woman who was the youngest of the 10 Black people killed at a Buffalo supermarket, was remembered at her funeral Saturday for her love for family and friends, tenacity 'and most of all, that smile that could light up a room.'
Why does smoke seem to follow you around a campfire? B.C. research scientist Kerry Anderson told CTVNews.ca the answer actually boils down to physics.
Some drivers in Toronto may be feeling on edge as Toronto is dealing with a rash of violent carjackings targeting mostly high-end vehicles.
The nightmares started last May, said Harvey McLeod, chief of the Upper Nicola Indian Band and a survivor of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.
A series of storms ripped through southern Quebec Friday, unearthing trees, causing highway standstills and leaving hundreds of thousands without power.
A man in his 60s died in a building fire in Montreal on Friday night.
Following demonstrations last weekend in Montreal where thousands walked through the downtown core in protest of Quebec's French-language laws, students in the Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk) community of Kahnawake are leading a walk of protest Saturday.
A short but powerful thunderstorm that came through Southwestern Ontario Saturday, killing at least one person and injuring others.
It was definitely a night to remember for people in attendance at Labatt Park on Friday evening after a reported gas leak forced the evacuation of the park during the season opener.
The flames were so intense from Thursday’s early morning fire in Hanover that Lisa Schnittker started grabbing her things to evacuate, fearing the flames would spread to her home.
Ontario Provincial Police are investigating a death in Brant County after a tree fell on a camping trailer on Saturday.
A severe thunderstorm caused extensive damage, fallen trees, downed hydro lines and power outages across Southern Ontario on Saturday.
It’s the first May long weekend since the City of Waterloo made changes to its fireworks bylaw and city staff said some residents are not obeying the new rules.
As part of this week’s royal tour, a northern Ontario MP reflects on meeting Prince Charles.
It has been two years since the Northern Ontario Railroad Museum and Heritage Centre in Capreol has been able to put on the Family Fun Big Truck showcase.
Over the next couple of weeks, a telephone survey will be conducted on behalf of the PHU as a follow-up to a survey that was conducted two years ago.
One person is dead and at least two others are critically injured after a powerful thunderstorm ripped through Ottawa Saturday afternoon.
The city of Clarence-Rockland, to the east of Ottawa, has declared a state of emergency following a major storm that moved across eastern Ontario on Saturday.
OC Transpo says the O-Train Line 1 will be replaced by R1 bus service until further notice between Blair and Tunney’s Pasture stations.
Every day since the owner of Thanasi's Olympus Greek Restaurant in Windsor, Ont. announced he would be retiring, Nick Pontikis says the place has been packed like it would be on New Year's Eve.
On Friday, the International Union of Operating Engineers ratified a new three-year contract, ending the strike that started in late April.
On Saturday, a cruise with deep routes in the southern Georgian Bay area had its first voyage under its new identity.
The waters in cottage country were filled with Navy reservists on Saturday, but it wasn't because of any threat in the area.
This morning, the sun was still shining in the sunshine city as the local Farmers' Market kicked off its summer season.
A section of Dartmouth's Burnside Industrial Park was shut down Friday after a fire in a scrapyard triggered alerts and air quality warnings.
Environment Canada is advising New Brunswickers in Edmundston and Madawaska County are to watch for the development of severe thunderstorms Saturday evening.
A few dozen friends, family members, and strangers gathered in Spryfield, N.S., on Saturday to search for a teenager who disappeared three months ago.
'Won’t open them until we win': Flames fan hopes to pop Champagne bottles meant for '04 Stanley Cup run
It was almost exactly 18 years ago when Calgary Flames fan Shane Byciuk managed to sneak two bottles of Champagne into the Saddledome for Game 6 of the 2004 Stanley Cup finals.
A frost advisory was issued for most of central and southern Alberta by Environment Canada Saturday afternoon.
The Winnipeg River is expected to crest in early June, according to the Manitoba government.
Officers with the Winnipeg Police Service found the remains of eight dogs inside a freezer at a vacant Winnipeg home.
Firefighters are investigating the cause of a dangerous fire that briefly trapped a Vancouver-area man inside a Tesla.
A social media post is warning young women in Surrey’s Newton neighbourhood to be on high alert, after several have come forward claiming they’ve been followed.
Some British Columbians won’t be getting provincial rebates meant to offset soaring gas prices until the end of July, according to ICBC.
Family members remember one of the men killed in Chinatown this week as a kind and hardworking man, and hope that his needless death will lead to change.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says he will not be running in the race to pick a new leader of his United Conservative party.
The Calgary Flames know the recipe they want to follow in their Western Conference second-round playoff series with the Edmonton Oilers.