The Ontario Premier promises to make “unnecessary delays” in building new homes in the province a thing of the past Doug Ford announced a $ 45 million fund to cut bureaucracy and speed up the process of managing and approving applications to build new homes.
Ford, who along with his Secretary of State for Local Government and Housing, Steve Clark, met virtually with major city mayors and regional presidents in the province on Wednesday to discuss the housing crisis in Ontario and work together to come up with strategies to increase housing supply, the new Streamline said The Development Approval Fund will help Ontario’s 39 largest municipalities modernize and accelerate the housing construction process.
Municipalities could, for example, use the money to set up online systems that make it easier for applicants seeking to build homes to navigate the development approval process, manage their applications and get timely updates on the status of those applications, the province said.
Zoe Knowles, a spokeswoman for Clark’s office, said the ministry is contacting municipalities to provide details on how this money can be obtained. The first funds are expected to flow in April, she said.
In addition, the premiere announced on Wednesday that $ 8 million will also be used to help major city centers in Ontario identify potential savings and efficiencies through “third-party reviews” – reviews that can help speed up the creation of new homes.
A third, efficiency-oriented announcement prompted the Prime Minister to work with municipalities to develop a uniform “data standard” for planning and development applications to help speed up approval times.
“Built with municipalities, data standardization will help improve the quality of data, create coherence across systems, make it easier to measure results, reduce costs for business and government, and support municipalities’ transition to digital service delivery,” the government said.
The province has already formed a task force with leaders of the housing industry, including non-profit organizations, indigenous housing groups and economic leaders, to provide expert input on how to increase the housing market. The task force will soon provide a report with these recommendations.
The housing summit met in private on Wednesday. In the coming months, input from the summit will be shared publicly, the province said.
“There will be many more steps along the way as we work together to address our housing crisis,” Ford said.
“We need to ensure that the unnecessary delays and bureaucracy that have kept homes from being built are a thing of the past,” he later added.
Clark, the Secretary of State for Municipal Affairs and Housing, said Ontario needs more housing, built faster, to reduce the “accumulated demand” that is driving up housing prices.
“As we continue this important dialogue, our government will ensure that our municipal partners have the tools they need to unlock and quickly track housing in all communities across Ontario,” Clark said.
In a virtual question and answer session with the media after the summit, Clark was asked about zoning in Toronto, where a large part of the city is designated as detached residential areas, and whether this zoning should be abolished, as has happened in Edmonton, to allow for more “missing intermediate houses” – dwellings with medium density such as semi-, terraced houses and terraced houses.
“I’m well aware of the Edmonton zoning requirements,” Clark said.
“A lot of proposals have been made for (the housing task force.) All of these proposals are under active consideration by the province,” he told reporters.
Jeff Lehman, mayor of Barrie and chairman of Ontario’s Big City Mayors, said municipalities play an important role in increasing housing supply and affordability, “but can only succeed when there is an approach of cooperation with provincial and federal governments.”
In a statement from Toronto Mayor John Tory’s office, spokesman Lawvin Hadisi said that while Toronto “has no shortage of development,” the mayor’s focus remains on addressing affordable housing.
Provincial opposition leaders criticized the Ford summit.
By saying that people facing a housing crisis “do not care about political streaks,” Green Party leader Mike Schreiner criticized the summit for not having any opposition members.
He said the Greens’ housing plan, released in June last year, would increase housing supply by taking steps including building 100,000 new affordable rents, renewing 260,000 affordable shared housing, stopping homelessness by building 60,000 permanent supported housing units and expanding zoning options. to allow for “as-of-right” duplexes and triplexes.
Ontario NDP housing critic, MPP Jessica Bell, told reporters that what worries her is that the Ford government summit had no “concrete measures to make housing more affordable” for everyday ontarians.
She urges Ford to take more “urgent action.”
They include rent stabilization by making it illegal for landlords to raise rents between tenants, in addition to provincial increases; the introduction of an idle and speculative tax on people who do not live in the houses they own and who do not pay taxes in Ontario; and zoning reforms that force developers to build more affordable devices in any major development.
Ontario Liberal leader Steven Del Duca said in a statement that during Ford’s tenure in office, the Prime Minister “has only made it harder” to rent or own a home.
The leader says his party believes that increasing housing supply, protecting tenants and building affordable housing is key. The party is working on a housing plan and will have more to say about the plan in the coming months, the leader said.
JOIN THE CONVERSATIONS