Province needs to keep its foot on the gas for affordable housing according to OREA

According to the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA), the Government of Ontario announced today (April 10), the Cutting Red Tape to Build More Homes Act, the Province’s sixth piece of housing legislation since 2018.

OREA says it is “… pleased to see progress on several important solutions from our recent housing supply report and our advocacy on modular construction, aimed at streamlining approvals and getting more homes built.”

The solutions include:

  • Exploring new financing and governance to support critical infrastructure, such as water and wastewater, including through the Peel Region Transition Board – a critical first step towards allowing water and wastewater services to be provided through a municipal services corporation, which would reduce upfront costs to homebuyers by as much as $50,000;
  • Developing business service standards for permit/license services to reduce regulatory delays;
  • Eliminating parking minimums near transit to enable greater density along transit;
  • Making it easier to build more garden, laneway, and basement suites;
  • Permitting mass timber structures up to 18 storeys; and
  • Supporting standardized designs to reduce delays and costs for modular homes.

Outside of these proposals, other important solutions in the Bill include streamlining approvals for student housing.

There is still work to be done. Any changes to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) should be focused on preventing abuse and eliminate backlog. Similarly, any changes to how municipalities collect and spend development charges cannot increase costs for future homebuyers.

“Finally,” says Tim Hudak, CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association, “we are disappointed that two key recommendations by the Province’s own Housing Affordability Task Force (HATF) – strongly supported by Ontario REALTORS® – have not been included in today’s Bill. We need to build more homes on existing properties and allow up-zoning along major transit corridors if we are going to address the housing affordability and supply crisis in our province. The Province is making significant investments in transit and passenger rail, and building more homes along those lines is common sense. Eliminating exclusionary zoning and allowing four units, as-of-right, province-wide, is an essential key to unlock affordable homeownership, and several municipalities including Toronto, London, and Barrie, are already leading the way.”

“We commend Premier Ford and Minister Calandra for the actions put forward in this piece of legislation, but we hope to see them go further. The government needs to keep their foot on the gas with bold action if we are going accomplish the goal of building 1.5 million new homes by 2031,” adds Hudak.