Ontario Housing Progress

This website was created to track all 55 recommendations made by the Province’s Housing Affordability Task Force in the report they released on February 8, 2022.

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Since the report release, most media commentary has been broadly supportive. You can find some of it below.

The Housing Affordability Task Force’s recommendations are all great. If implemented, they would take us a long way toward solving the housing crisis. Now we need to see if and how quickly they get implemented.

The Task Force has done its job. It’s now the Province’s turn to do theirs.

As progress is made on each of these items, we’ll add links to the relevant press releases and media coverage. We’ll also update the scoring above.

Here’s the full list:

Focus on getting more homes built

1. Set a goal of building 1.5 million new homes in ten years.

2. Amend the Planning Act, Provincial Policy Statement, and Growth Plans to set “growth in the full spectrum of housing supply” and “intensification within existing built-up areas” of municipalities as the most important residential housing priority in the mandate and purpose.

Making land available to build

Stop using exclusionary zoning that restricts more housing

3. Limit exclusionary zoning in municipalities through binding provincial action: a) allow “as of right” residential housing up to four units and up to four storeys on a single residential lot b) modernize the Building Code and other policies to remove any barriers to affordable construction and to ensure meaningful implementation (e.g., allow single-staircase construction for up to four storeys, allow single egress, etc.)

4. Permit “as of right” conversion of underutilized or redundant commercial properties to residential or mixed residential and commercial use.

5. Permit “as of right” secondary suites, garden suites, and laneway houses province-wide.

6. Permit “as of right” multi-tenant housing (renting rooms within a dwelling) province-wide.

7. Encourage and incentivize municipalities to increase density in areas with excess school capacity to benefit families with children.

Align investments in roads and transit with growth

8. Allow “as of right” zoning up to unlimited height and unlimited density in the immediate proximity of individual major transit stations within two years if municipal zoning remains insufficient to meet provincial density targets.

9. Allow “as of right” zoning of six to 11 storeys with no minimum parking requirements on any streets utilized by public transit (including streets on bus and streetcar routes).

10. Designate or rezone as mixed commercial and residential use all land along transit corridors and re-designate all Residential Apartment to mixed commercial and residential zoning in Toronto.

11. Support responsible greenfield development, including outside existing municipal boundaries, by building necessary infrastructure to support higher density housing and complete communities and applying the recommendations of this report to all undeveloped land.

Start saying “yes in my backyard”

12. Create a more permissive land use, planning, and approvals system: a) Repeal or override municipal policies, zoning, or plans that prioritize the preservation of physical character of neighbourhood b) Exempt from site plan approval and public consultation all projects of 10 units or less that conform to the Official Plan and require only minor variances c) Establish province-wide zoning standards, or prohibitions, for minimum lot sizes, maximum building setbacks, minimum heights, angular planes, shadow rules, front doors, building depth, landscaping, floor space index, and heritage view cones, and planes; restore pre-2006 site plan exclusions (colour, texture, and type of materials, window details, etc.) to the Planning Act and reduce or eliminate minimum parking requirements; and d) Remove any floorplate restrictions to allow larger, more efficient high-density tower

13. Limit municipalities from requesting or hosting additional public meetings beyond those that are required under the Planning Act.

14. Require that public consultations provide digital participation options.

15. Require mandatory delegation of site plan approvals and minor variances to staff or pre-approved qualified third-party technical consultants through a simplified review and approval process, without the ability to withdraw Council’s delegation.

16. Prevent abuse of the heritage preservation and designation process by: a) Prohibiting the use of bulk listing on municipal heritage registers b) Prohibiting reactive heritage designations under a Planning Act development application has been filed

17. Requiring municipalities to compensate property owners for loss of property value as a result of heritage designations, based on principle of best economic use of land.

18. Restore the right of developers to appeal Official Plans and Municipal Comprehensive Reviews.

Cut the red tape so we can build faster and reduce costs

Adopt common sense approaches that save construction costs

19. Legislate timelines at each stage of the provincial and municipal review process, including site plan, minor variance, and provincial reviews, and deem and application approved if the legislated response time is exceeded.

20. Fund the creation of “approvals facilitators” with the authority to quickly resolve conflicts among municipal and/or provincial authorities and ensure timelines are met.

21. Require a pre-consultation with all relevant parties at which the municipality sets out a binding list that defines what constitutes a complete application; confirms the number of consultations established in the previous recommendations; and clarifies that if a member of a regulated profession such as an engineer has stamped an application, the municipality has no liability and no additional stamp is needed.

22. Simplify planning legislation and policy documents.

23. Create a common province-wide definition of plan of subdivision and standard set of conditions which clarify which may be included; require the use of standard province-wide legal agreements and, where feasible, plans of subdivision.

24. Allow woodframe construction of up to 12 storeys.

25. Require municipalities to provide the option of pay on demand surety bonds and letters of credit.

Prevent abuse of the appeal process

26. Require appellants to promptly seek permission (”leave to appeal”) of the OLT and demonstrate that an appeal has merit, relying on evidence and expert reports, before it is accepted.

27. Prevent abuse of process: a) Remove right of appeal for projects with a least 30% affordable housing in which units are guaranteed affordable for at least 40 years. b) Require a $10,000 filing fee for third party appeals. c) Provide discretion to adjudicators to award full costs to the successful party in any appeal brought by a third party or by a municipality where its council has overriden a recommended staff approval.

28. Encourage greater use of oral decisions issued the day of the hearing, with written reasons to follow, and allow those decisions to become binding the day that they are issued.

29. Where it is found that a municipality has refused an application simply to avoid a deemed approval for lack of decision, allow the Tribunal to award punitive damages.

30. Provide funding to increase staffing (adjudicators and case managers), provide market-competitive salaries, outsource more matters to mediators, and set shorter time targets.

31. In clearing the existing backlog, encourage the Tribunal to prioritize projects close to the finish line that will support housing growth and intensification, as well as regional water or utility infrastructure decisions that will unlock significant housing capacity.

Reduce the costs to build, buy and rent

Align government fees and charges with the goal of building more housing

32. Waive development charges and parkland cash-in-lieu and charge only modest connection fees for all infill residential projects up to 10 units or for any development where no new material infrastructure will be required.

33. Waive development charges on all forms of affordable housing guaranteed to be affordable for 40 years.

34. Prohibit interest rates on development charges higher than a municipality’s borrowing rate.

35. Regarding cash in lieu of parkland, s.37, Community Benefit Charges, and Development Charges: a) Provincial review of reserve levels, collections and drawdowns annually to ensure funds are being used in a timely fashion and for the intended purpose, and, where review points to a significant concern, do not allow further collection until the situation has been corrected. b) Except where allocated towards municipality-wide infrastructure projects, require municipalities to spend funds in the neighbourhoods where they were collected. However, where there’s a significant community need in a priority area of the City, allow for specific ward to ward allocation of unspent and unallocated reserves.

36. Recommend that the federal government and provincial governments update HST rebate to reflect current home prices and begin indexing the thresholds to housing prices, and that the federal government match the provincial 75% rebate and remove any clawback.

Make it easier to build rental

37. Align property taxes for purpose-built rental with those of condos and low-rise homes.

Make homeownership possible for hardworking Ontarians who want it

38. Amend the Planning Act and Perpetuities act to extend the maximum period for land leases and restrictive covenants on land to 40 or more years.

39. Eliminate or reduce tax disincentives to housing growth.

40. We call on the Federal Government to implement an Urban, Rural and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy.

41. Funding for pilot projects that create innovative pathways to homeownership, for Black, Indigenous, and marginalized people and first-generation homeowners.

42. Provide provincial and federal loan guarantees for purpose-built rental, affordable rental and affordable ownership projects.

Support and incentivize scaling up housing supply

Invest in municipal infrastructure

43. Enable municipalities, subject to adverse external economic events, to withdraw infrastructure allocations from any permitted projects where construction has not been initiated within three years of build permits being issued.

44. Work with municipalities to develop and implement a municipal services corporation utility model for water and wastewater under which the municipal corporation would borrow and amortize costs among customers instead of using Development Charges.

Create the Labour Force to meet the housing supply need

45. Improve funding for colleges, trade schools, and apprenticeships, encourage and incentivize municipalities, unions and employers to provide more on-the-job training.

46. Undertake multi-stakeholder education program to promote skilled trades.

47. Recommend that the federal and provincial government prioritize skilled trades and adjust the immigration points system to strongly favour needed trades and expedite immigration status for these workers and encourage the federal government to increase from 9,000 to 20,000 the number of immigrants admitted through Ontario’s program.

Create a large Ontario Housing Delivery Fund to align efforts and incent new housing supply

48. The Ontario government should establish a large “Ontario Housing Delivery Fund” and encourage the federal government to match funding. This fund should reward: a) Annual housing growth that meets or exceeds provincial targets b) Reductions in total approval times for new housing c) The speedy removal of exclusionary zoning practices

49. Reduction in funding to municipalities that fail to meet provincial housing growth and approval timeline targets.

Sustain focus, measure, monitor, improve

50. Fund the adoption of consistent municipal e-permitting systems and encourage the federal government to match funding. Fund the development of common data architecture standards across municipalities and provincial agencies and require municipalities to provide their zoning bylaws with open data standards. Set an implementation goal of 2025 and make funding conditional on established targets.

51. Require municipalities and the provincial governments to use the Ministry of Finance population projections as the basis for housing need analysis and related land use requirements.

52. Resume reporting on housing data and require consistent municipal reporting, enforcing compliance as a requirement for accessing programs under the Ontario Housing Delivery Fund.

53. Report each year at the municipal and provincial level on any gap between demand supply by housing type and location, and make underlying data freely available to the public.

54. Empower the Deputy Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to lead an all government committee that meets weekly to ensure our remaining recommendations and any other productive ideas are implemented.

55. Commit to evaluate these recommendations for the next three years with public reporting on progress.

Built by Chris Spoke and August