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What is in Ontario’s red tape and housing bill?


The Ontario government tabled a bill Wednesday meant to help reduce red tape and get more housing built.

The bill makes two big changes as well as a slew of other proposals focused on streamlining decision making and reducing timelines for development.

The bill will eliminate parking minimums on developments near major transit stations, allowing homebuilders to decide whether to build spaces for vehicles and, if so, how many.

The decision would be based on market needs and apply to developments near well-trafficked transit corridors.

The province will also exempt publicly-assisted universities from the Planning Act in an effort to get more student housing built.

The exemptions would apply to both university or college campuses as well as any other land the post-secondary institution owns.

Here’s a rundown of the other housing-related changes:

  • Standardized ‘use it or lose it’ policy that would expand the scope of “lapsing provisions” and allow municipalities to reallocate wastewater resources.
  • The government will make changes to the responsibilities of upper-tier municipalities when it comes to planning, with changes going into effect in Peel, Halton and York regions as of July 1. On this date, the primary responsibility for planning will be moved to individual municipalities within the region.
  • Allow municipalities to give notice of new planning applications and development charge matters on their website in the event that no local newspaper is available
  • Reduce costs and delays at the Ontario Land Tribunal by reducing third-party appeals to those made by a “key partner”. Developers can also apply if a municipality refuses an application outside of the Greenbelt Area.
  • The government will be seeking feedback on the updated Provincial Planning Statement, a document that sets the rules for land-use planning in Ontario. The government announced it would be reviewing and streamlining the document last year. They say that proposed changes include processes on housing outcomes, increasing intensification close to transit, and supporting coordination between municipalities and school boards
  • Provide authority to eliminate “practical barriers” towards the building of laneway, basement and garden suites.
  • Removing refund provisions that were established in 2022 that require municipalities to refund application fees if decisions aren’t made within legislated timelines. The government said some municipalities lengthened the process as a result.
  • Create a regulation-making authority to exempt standardized housing designs from certain sections of the Planning Act. These designs have yet to be determined.
  • Updating building codes to allow for increased use of wood construction like mass timber and consult on single-exit staircases in small residential buildings.
  • Reversing changes made to development charge rates to give municipalities more revenue

Non-housing items mentioned on Wednesday:

  • Allowing municipalities to provide incentives to specified businesses if the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers it “necessary or desirable in the provincial interest to attract investment in Ontario.”
  • A requirement that ministries develop “business service standards for permits and licence services” for businesses.
  • Changes that would “broaden the Ontario Energy Board exemption from Leave-to-Construct (LTC) for hydrocarbon pipeline relocations or reconstruction.”
  • Increasing Ontario’s collision reporting threshold from $2,000 to $5,000. CTV News Toronto has more details here. Top Stories

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