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Ontario passes housing bill amid criticism from cities, conservation authorities

Bill 23, the 'More Homes Built Faster Act 2022'  proposes changes to several acts and regulations including the Development Charges Act, Planning Act, Municipal Act and others.
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New homes are built in a housing construction development in the west-end of Ottawa on Thursday, May 6, 2021.

Ontario has passed a bill intended to spur housing development amid criticism that it will leave municipalities short billions of dollars, increase property taxes and reduce the role of conservation authorities.

Bill 23, the 'More Homes Built Faster Act 2022'  proposes changes to several acts and regulations including the Development Charges Act, Planning Act, Municipal Act and others.

The Ontario government is working to meet it's goal of building 1.5 million homes in the next decade and make housing more affordable. 

One of the most controversial aspects of the bill is freezing, reducing and exempting fees developers pay.

Those fees go to municipalities and are then used to pay for services to support new homes, such as road and sewer infrastructure and community centres.

Colin Best, the president of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario said on Wake Up With Rob Snow on Nov. 28 that the changes could leave municipalities short $5 billion and see taxpayers footing the bill – either in the form of higher property taxes or service cuts – and there is nothing in the bill that would guarantee improved housing affordability. 

"It serves one purpose, and that's to assist developers and it's not a balanced approach," he said. "What they are doing is downloading the development charges for affordable housing which has not been defined onto taxpayers and most municipalities are looking at a five to 10 per cent tax increase."

The bill also limits the areas conservation authorities can consider in development permissions, removing factors such as pollution and conservation of the land.

Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark says Ontario is in a housing crisis and the measures in the new law are necessary to ensure the province can achieve its goal of building 1.5 million homes in 10 years.

Listen to the full interview with Colin Best below: 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2022.

 

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