The Government of Ontario today introduced the next phase of its Housing Supply Action Plan: the proposed More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022. The Plan includes a broad array of legislative and regulatory changes related to land use planning, property taxes, building code, heritage, conservation, and the infrastructure financing framework that supports growth.
“Municipalities will welcome some of the proposed changes, and will be very concerned about others, such as changes to the Development Charges Act,” said AMO President Colin Best. “We will work with the government on the ideas that have the potential to make housing more affordable, and we will oppose changes that undermine good economic and environmental policy.”
Proposed changes include discounting and, in some cases, eliminating development charges and related developer obligations. When communities grow, infrastructure and public services must be scaled up to meet new demands. The new legislation would shift some of those costs from developers to current property taxpayers.
The Ontario government has signaled it may offset some of the financial impacts for municipalities. However, shifting growth costs from developers to taxpayers represents a fundamental change from the principle that growth should pay for growth, and that current homeowners and renters should not be required to subsidize new development. There are no mechanisms to ensure that developers will pass on cost savings to consumers in need of more affordable housing options.
For years, municipalities have been sounding the alarm about housing affordability and homelessness. Municipal governments deliver many of the front-line services that respond to these complicated and difficult challenges. Municipalities are committed to doing what they can to make housing more affordable, and to support economic growth.
Ontario had 100,000 housing starts in 2021, the highest in 30 years. However, some municipalities have seen a sharp decline in permit applications in 2022, due to factors such as higher interest rates and labour shortages.
AMO is the collective voice of Ontario’s municipal sector advocating for good public policy that supports strong, sustainable, and prosperous communities. AMO’s member municipal councils govern and provide key services to about one in three Canadians.