Ontario proposes legislation to build 1.5 million homes in next 10 years, supports ‘gentle density’

By Amanda Jerome

Law360 Canada (October 25, 2022, 4:59 PM EDT) -- On Oct. 25, the Ontario government introduced the More Homes Built Faster Act to “advance the province’s plan to address the housing crisis by building 1.5 million homes over the next 10 years.”

According to a government release, the “proposals in the More Homes Built Faster Act would, if passed, ensure that cities, towns and rural communities grow with a mix of ownership and rental housing types that meet the needs of all Ontarians, from single family homes to townhomes and mid-rise apartments.”

Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said the government’s “Housing Supply Action Plan is creating a strong foundation on which 1.5 million homes can be built over the next 10 years.”

“Our government is following through on our commitment to Ontarians by cutting delays and red tape to get more homes built faster,” added in a statement.

The government’s plan “puts in place actions to support the development of ‘gentle density’ – housing like triplexes or garden suites – that bridge the gap between single family homes and high-rise apartments,” the release explained, noting, as an example, the plan would “remove exclusionary zoning, which allows for only one single detached home per lot” and would “allow property owners to build three units without lengthy approvals and development charges.”

The plan includes approximately 50 actions and, according to the release, “addresses the housing crisis by reducing government fees and fixing developmental approval delays that slow down housing construction and increase costs.”

Actions in the plan include:

  • “Creating a new attainable housing program to drive the development of housing. Sites across all regions of Ontario will be considered, including those in the north, central, east and southwest regions.
  • Increasing the Non-Resident Speculation Tax rate from 20 per cent to 25 per cent to deter non-resident investors from speculating on the province’s housing market and help make home ownership more attainable for Ontario residents.
  • Freezing and reducing government charges to spur new home construction and reduce the costs of housing.
  • Building more density near transit, unlocking innovative approaches to design and construction, and removing red tape to get shovels in the ground faster.
  • Increasing consumer protection measures for home buyers and consulting on ways to help more renters become homeowners.”

Michael Parsa, Associate Minister of Housing, said, “Ontario’s housing supply crisis is a problem which has been decades in the making.”

“It will take both short-term strategies and long-term commitment from all levels of government, the private sector and not-for-profits to drive change,” he added in a statement.

According to the release, Ontario is “expected to grow by more than two million people over the next 10 years, with approximately 70 per cent of this growth taking place in the Greater Golden Horseshoe Region.”

If you have any information, story ideas or news tips for The Lawyer’s Daily please contact Amanda Jerome at Amanda.Jerome@lexisnexis.ca or 416-524-2152.