On Feb. 14, my office received a letter from the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing in response to the letter I sent outlining the City of Burlington’s concerns with Bill 23, including funding cuts and accountability.
Read a copy of Minister Steve Clark’s response letter or click/tap the link.
February 14, 2023
Mayor Marianne Meed Ward
City of Burlington
Dear Mayor Meed Ward:
Thank you for writing as a member of Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM) to further elaborate on the comments that were provided as a part of OBCM’s presentation to the Standing Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy; and for sharing the additional City of Burlington-specific concerns. I appreciate the time you have taken to write.
Everyone in Ontario should be able to find a home that is right for them. But too many people are struggling with the rising cost of living and with finding housing that meets their family’s needs. Ontario needs more housing, and we need it now.
As you know, in October 2022 our government introduced our most recent housing supply action plan, More Homes Built Faster. The More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022 received Royal Assent on November 28, 2022. Our newest plan takes bold action to address the housing crisis by building 1.5 million homes by 2031. More Homes Built Faster builds upon initiatives in More Homes More Choice and More Homes for Everyone, our first and second housing supply action plans.
Our plan is complemented by an investment of nearly $4.4 billion over three years to grow and enhance community and supportive housing and to address homelessness for vulnerable Ontarians.
Our Housing Supply Action Plans have been built on extensive consultations with municipalities, the industry and the public. We are also using recommendations from the Housing Affordability Task Force Report as our long-term housing roadmap.
Our plan also draws on many elements from The Association of Municipalities of Ontario’s (AMO) 2022 A Blueprint for Action: An Integrated Approach to Address the Ontario Housing Crisis, and the Rural Ontario Municipal Association’s (ROMA) 2022 Task Force Report on Attainable Housing and Purpose-Built Rentals.
Our changes are designed to lower the cost of housing and spur residential development for a range of housing options. Some municipalities have continued to increase charges on new housing. According to a recent Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) study municipal fees are adding an average $116,900 to the cost of a single-family home in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). By exempting and discounting municipal fees for affordable, non-profit and purpose-built rental housing through the More Homes Built Faster plan, the province will help lower the cost and increase the supply of such housing units across Ontario.
This BILD study also noted that average approval timelines have increased by 41 per cent since 2020, and municipal fees and charges have increased by 30 to 36 per cent on average in the same time frame. These increases have corresponded to an increase in municipal reserves over the same period. Province-wide, municipalities have reported 2021 development charge reserve balances of approximately $8.6 billion. The use of reserves can be an alternative to increasing fees and charges on homebuyers and renters.
Transformative change is never easy, but our government stands ready to make the necessary decisions that will improve Ontario’s housing sector and benefit the province in the short- and long-term. At the same time, it is critical for us that municipalities are able to fund road, water, sewer, and other housing-enabling infrastructure and services that our growing communities need. That is why we are launching a third-party audit of select municipalities to get a factual understanding of their finances, including their reserve funds and development charge administration. Together with our municipal partners, we will use this process to get the facts, make improvements, and better serve Ontarians by exploring alternative tools for growth to appropriately pay for growth rather than continuing to raise development charges on new homebuyers.
The federal government shares our objective of building 1.5 million homes in Ontario over the next 10 years, particularly at a time when it has set ambitious new targets for immigration. The majority of these newcomers will be welcomed to Ontario in search of jobs and opportunity. To this end, the province looks forward to working with our municipal partners to ensure we receive a proportional share of the federal government’s new $4 billion national Housing Accelerator Fund.
I also appreciate your interest in discussing the changes contained in our most recent Housing Supply Action Plan, More Homes Built Faster and the associated More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022, with the Housing Supply Action Plan Implementation Team.
Our government has established the Housing Supply Action Plan Implementation Team, which will be made up of municipal leaders and industry experts who will provide advice and help improve our annual Housing Supply Action Plans.
Our government has appointed Drew Dilkens, Mayor of the City of Windsor, as Chair, and Cheryl Fort, Mayor of the Township of Hornepayne, as the Vice Chair. Additional Implementation Team members will be appointed in the coming months.
I note your concerns regarding our government’s Municipal Housing Pledges and Targets. To achieve the goal of building 1.5 million homes, 29 large and fast-growing municipalities have been assigned a Municipal Housing Target.
Our government is committed to working with municipalities as they implement their pledges and targets. Since 2019, our government has made available up to $350 million to support municipalities to find better, more efficient ways to deliver services for residents and businesses.
Now more than ever, the province needs a commitment from our municipal partners to do their part in providing housing for future population growth while also addressing the housing needs of Ontarians today.
I am also committed to working with stakeholders across the residential development sector to ensure that they are doing their part to help the province meet its housing targets.
As you note, there are a range of economic factors that impact how much housing can be built, including pressures on supply chains and our labour force. Our government will continue to work collaboratively across sectors to address obstacles to achieving the 1.5 million new homes target.
Once again, thank you for sharing your comments and those of OBCM with me. Please accept my best wishes.
The Honourable Parm Gill, Minister of Red Tape Reduction
Natalie Pierre, MPP Burlington
Effie Triantafilopoulos, MPP Oakville North-Burlington
Ontario’s Big City Mayors email@example.com
• • •
- Funding Cuts & Accountability Among Burlington’s Bill 23 Concerns Outlined in Mayor’s Letter to Minister
- Small Urban GTHA Mayors Discuss Implications of Bill 23 on Municipalities, Want to Work with Province
- Ontario’s Big City Mayors, Ministers of Finance & Municipal Affairs & Housing Meet on Key Municipal Priorities
- Mayor’s Monday Mailbag – Dec. 5, 2022 – What is the City of Burlington Doing About Bill 23?
- Ontario’s Big City Mayors Statement on First Meeting of the New Term & Bill 23, ‘More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022’
- City of Burlington Responds to Severe Impacts of Bill 23