Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act – Opportunities and Concerns for Affordable Housing in Ontario
Published November 29, 2022
Yesterday, Ontario passed Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act. The Bill makes many significant changes to various provincial laws including the Development Charges Act, the Municipal Act, the City of Toronto Act, and the Planning Act.
CHF Canada is pleased to see that development charges will be waived for all co-op and non-profit developments across the province. This change will have a tangible and positive impact on the viability of developing new co-operative homes. We are also pleased to see that the province is committed to reviewing the property tax system for co-op and non-profit communities. Many non-profits are charged property taxes at the same rate as private rental housing, and often times at a rate higher than what a private homeowner would be charged. This can be a significant burden for a co-op whose mandate is to provide affordable housing.
We are concerned, however, with the impact of the following changes in particular:
- The province has reduced the development charges and community benefit charges municipalities can levy on new for-profit development. These development charges are often used to support housing services, including services for people experiencing homelessness and the development of new affordable housing, including co-operative housing. In the midst of an affordable housing crisis, is it urgent that the funding that comes from development charges and community benefit charges for affordable housing and addressing homelessness be replaced with a robust and long-term provincial program that supports the construction of new affordable housing, including co-ops, as well as supports people experiencing homelessness.
- The province has restricted the use of inclusionary zoning, by limiting it to 5 percent of units within a development and limiting affordability to 25 years. Co-op homes could be developed through inclusionary zoning, but these limitations, particularly the 25-year affordability cap, will make it nearly impossible for this to be realized.
- The province has the authority through Bill 23 to eliminate municipal rental replacement by-laws. Rental replacement bylaws can require developers to offer rental units at the same price if tenants have been displaced when those units are redeveloped. This change puts low- and moderate-income renters at risk at a time when vacancy rates are very low across the province and waitlists for social housing are very long.
- The province has limited the ability of municipalities to integrate environmental green standards through site plan controls. Green standards help to reduce long-term costs and ensure the quality of housing for end users, such as housing co-op members. They also help make buildings more resilient to power disruptions, and encourage the use of renewable and district energy.
CHF Canada looks forward to working with the province to mitigate these concerns, and ensure that, as part of the provincial goal of developing 1.5 million new homes, an appropriate proportion of homes are developed which are affordable to low and moderate-income households, including through the delivery of new co-operative housing.
CHF Canada will be responding to a number of the consultations that have been initiated by the province as part of Bill 23 over the coming weeks.
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