Ontario Announces New Plan to Address Housing Shortage

« Of all I’ve seen in Canada to solve the problem, this is the one that has the best chance of closing the gap » – CEO of Royal Lepage

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The Ontario government on Tuesday unveiled a series of new measures aimed at tackling the province’s housing shortage and affordability crisis, including plans to cut development costs and allow homeowners to build up to three residential units on a single lot without modification of the regulations.

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The government this week provided details of new legislation, which largely targets bureaucracy and municipal zoning laws that block housing construction.

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« The legislation supports our new plan to further reduce bureaucratic inefficiencies that delay construction and increase costs for buyers and tenants, » Ontario Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark told reporters. October 25. as well as measures to protect and assist home buyers and also use provincial lands as more accessible housing sites.

Clark said the proposals would help the province meet its goal of building 1.5 million homes over the next 10 years. The City of Toronto has been given a goal of creating 285,000 new homes by 2031, Ottawa is tasked with delivering 161,000, Mississauga has a goal of 120,000 and Brampton’s goal is 113,000. new accommodations.

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The new measures have drawn strong praise from some players in the real estate industry, including Phil Soper, CEO of Royal LePage.

This is the boldest step I’ve seen to try and fix the problem

Phil Soper, CEO of Royal LePage

« It’s quite dramatic, » Soper said. “This is the boldest step I’ve seen to try to address the problem in our most populous municipality or region – the Golden Horseshoe, in particular. And I would say that of all that I have seen in Canada to solve the problem, this is the one that has the best chance of closing the gap.

Still, there could be jurisdictional issues as Premier Doug Ford’s government gets tough on circumventing municipal zoning laws that are slowing the pace of housing construction. Soper hopes that these territorial clashes will not turn into acts of bureaucratic malice.

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“One of the things I fear is jurisdictional anger over another leader’s intrusion into the sandbox,” Soper said. “There are plenty of other tools they can use, a leader at the municipal level, to slow down the effectiveness (of these measures): environmental studies, they could blame supply chains, there could be having lots of ways they could throw up roadblocks My hope is that (city leaders) see this as an opportunity…and we use it as a turning point.

The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board also backed the measures.

« Municipalities have a direct impact on housing affordability, not only by adding direct costs like development fees and land transfer taxes, but also by delaying and preventing the supply of desperately needed new housing with slow approval processes, duplication and outdated restrictive zoning,” TRREB President Kevin Crigger said in a statement.

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Crigger added that council respects the role municipalities play in community development, but noted that it’s important that these policies reflect the broader public interest.

Some conservationists, however, bristled at the details of the technical document accompanying the announcement, which included proposals to streamline the process by which conservation authorities issue development permits in wetlands or flood-prone areas, exempting potentially some development of the permit requirement established by the Conservation Authorities Act.

This new legislation comes the same week the Ontario government announced it would increase the tax on non-resident speculation on homes purchased by foreigners from 20% to 25%, making it the rate the highest in Canada. Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy said the increase would come into effect on Tuesday and would be aimed at curbing foreign speculation.

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The Ontario government previously raised the tax on foreign home buyers to 20%, up from 15% in March, and expanded the measure province-wide instead of focusing just on the Greater Region. Golden Horseshoe.

Property experts were quick to question the effectiveness of the tax hike, arguing that markets are already cooling. Soper is among the sceptics, saying it’s more of a provincial revenue generator than an effective housing policy.

« Very few people pay this tax, but it contributes to government coffers and general revenue, so it’s hard to argue against, » Soper said. « Will this make a condo for a young family in Toronto more affordable? » Not at all. It’s so thorough in the face of the overall problem.

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The Ford government has proposed other red tape-cutting measures, including a move to give the mayors of Toronto and Ottawa « strong mayor » powers that would give city leaders the ability to overrule council decisions that interfere with the construction of houses.

« I know, actions are bold, » Clark said. “Our government is ready to do what it takes to help meet housing demand with a plan to address the long-term housing supply crisis. These actions lay a very strong foundation in our province of Ontario and will help us reach 1.5 million homes over the next 10 years in partnership with municipalities, the private sector, not-for-profits and government. federal.

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