May 2nd saw the release of the Ontario Government’s Housing Supply Action Plan (“More Homes, More Choice”) by the Honourable Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH). The announcement was a significant milestone following an extensive consultation with stakeholders and, in particular, many OHBA members and local home builders’ associations in communities from across Ontario.
The Housing Supply Action Plan is focused on building more housing and providing more housing choice in communities across Ontario. The Housing Supply Action Plan is comprehensive and far reaching, so this notice will simply highlight the broad legislative (new legislation introduced today), regulatory (multiple regulatory packages) and policy (multiple policy updates) components of the plan. Each of these components have their own set of details and in some cases additional regulatory consultations that will take place over the coming weeks and months – there is still a lot of work to do and consultation to occur to implement various aspects of the Housing Supply Action Plan.
Again, please note that the list below are only the highlights and do not cover all aspects of the Housing Supply Action Plan.
Theme Area 1: Steps the government has already taken
- Modernizing apprenticeship ratios and winding down College of Trades to support more skilled trades in housing sector.
- Releasing surplus lands.
- Exempting new construction from rent control.
- Infrastructure investments to support housing.
- Transit investments to support housing.
- Transforming Tarion and enhancing consumer protection.
Theme Area 2: New and recently announced initiatives linked to the Housing Supply Action Plan
- Streamlining approvals and reducing timelines (120 days for Official Plans & 90 days for zoning).
- Amendments to support secondary suites.
- Changes to community benefits (sec 37 and parkland dedication) to make them more transparent and predictable
- Community Planning Permits Systems in Major Transit Station Areas will streamline approvals to 45 days.
- Enable the Minister to require the use of the Community Planning Permit System in specific areas such as Major Transit Station Areas.
LPATLPAT hearings will allow fresh evidence (de novo hearings) and allow examination of witnesses at hearings.
- Additional adjudicators will be brought on to address the backlog of transitioned OMB hearings.
- Appeal fees will be adjusted to self sustain LPAT, but not act as a barrier to justice.
- LPAT decisions to be based on best planning outcomes (vs. a conformity test).
Development Charges (DCs)
- Waste will no longer be a soft service, but rather a fully funded hard service (no deduction).
- DCs will be deferred to occupancy for rentals and non-profits and payable over a five-year period.
- Soft services will be amalgamated into a new community benefits charge (along with Sec 37 and parkland) that will have a new more transparent and predictable formula based on land valuation (further consultation will occur on the structure of this). These services will still fall under a “growth pays for growth” model, but there will be caps in place, greater certainty by eliminating negotiations around Sec 37 density bonusing and a connection to land value. Community benefits will exempt some housing (i.e. non-profit).
- Locking in the DC rate sooner in the process to enhance certainty at the time of zoning or site plan application (not current pulling of permits).
- Secondary suite exemptions.
- Greater flexibility for ancillary buildings and within main building.
- Clarity on parking requirements.
- Development Charges exemptions.
Inclusionary Zoning (IZ)
- The current rules set out in the existing regulation will continue to apply.
- However, IZ framework will through a legislative amendment, only apply within a Community Planning Permit System (CPPS is a package that rolls zoning, site plan and building permit into a single streamlined approvals process). Within a Major Transit Station Area (MTSA) any use of IZ would require a CPPS that meets the minimum density targets of the MTSA – meaning that the entire MTSA would have to be pre-zoned to achieve the minimum density targets.
- Focus on reducing costs, increasing accountability and standardizing education development charges rates while enabling a more localized approach within school boards.
- Increase predictability of education development charge rates.
- More innovative approaches to site selection.
- The cap/restrictions currently in place will continue (allowing only modest increases in EDCs).
- New Growth Plan is finalized and will be in force on May 16.
- The density and intensification targets have been further simplified from the proposal earlier this winter (two categories instead of three) to better reflect local infrastructure capacity and municipal requests for lower targets.
- “A” category of municipalities will have a 50% intensification target and a 50 persons and jobs per ha target (previous proposal had some municipalities at 60%).
- “B” category of smaller outer ring municipalities will be improved, from the current intensification target, and have a 40 persons and jobs density target.
- Fast tracked planning for Major Transit Station Areas (MTSA).
- Increased encouragement towards mixed-use in some employment areas.
- Streamlined and modernized approach to settlement boundary expansion.
- PPS will be amended and updated to reduce barriers and encourage more housing supply.
- Further consultations on a new updated PPS will be launched soon.
Conservation Authorities Act (CA)
- Province recently launched consultation to clarify mandate of CAs towards core services.
- Streamlining CA role in planning.
Endangered Species Act
- Province recently launched consultation to modernize ESA.
- Greater transparency in species listings.
- New authorization processes.
- Species-at-Risk Conservation Trust that provides an option to pay a charge in lieu of completing certain on-the-ground activities.
Excess Soils / Brownfields
- Province launched consultation yesterday on Excess Soils and Brownfields Regs.
- Improvements to Brownfields Reg. & certain exemptions for RSCs.
- Encouraging greater reuse of excess soil & reducing soil sent to landfills.
Environmental Assessments (EA)
- Province recently launched consultation to modernize EAs.
- Modernize EA Act to focus on higher risk activities and exempt lower risk.
- Eliminate duplication.
Ontario Heritage Act
- Direction will be provided on how municipalities can use the Ontario Heritage Act while allowing for compatible changes and creating consistent appeals.
- Create a consistent appeals process.
- Lower WSIB premiums.
- Occupational Health & Safety Act to be amended to reduce employers training costs and unnecessary paperwork.
- Remove requirement that all new homes include infrastructure for an electric vehicle charging station.
- Working towards harmonization with National Code.
Theme Area 3: Future Items
- Further efforts towards streamlining development application process.
- Working with municipalities and federal government on housing data to better inform decisions.
- Further guidance materials to make it easier to build secondary suites.
- Clearer guidance materials for tenants and landlords to know their rights & settle disputes.
- More info on co-ownership, life leases etc.
(Article originally published in the OHBA Builder Advocate.)