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Ontario’s Big City Mayors Statement on First Meeting of the New Term & Bill 23, ‘More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022’

OBCM

MY TAKE:

Ontario’s Big City Mayors are united in our concerns about Bill 23 and its negative impacts on taxpayers, community services and the environment. Singling out and criticizing Mayor Bonnie Crombie, the new chair of OBCM, is unacceptable. A long list of Mayors, Councillors, AMO, Conservation Authorities, environmental groups, architects, planners and others have all spoken out publicly on the negative impacts of this Bill. I thank Mayor Crombie and all Ontario Mayors who are working in their municipality’s best interests. It’s time for the Province to work with us. There is a housing crisis in Ontario and we are all ready to work together as partners, alongside every stakeholder who has a role to play in increasing affordable and attainable housing. Our communities deserve nothing less.

*Please see below a statement issued by Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM) caucus and a motion on Bill 23.

December 8, 2022

Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM) gathered at the Arboretum at the University of Guelph on Friday December 2nd for the first meeting of their new term. OBCM welcomed twelve new and seventeen returning mayors to discuss important issues for large municipalities.

OBCM welcomed Federal Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, Ahmed Hussen, to the meeting to an update on federal funding programs, including the recently announced second round of the Rapid Housing Initiative, the National Co-Investment Fund, and the upcoming Housing Accelerator Fund.

OBCM was also pleased to have Minister of Health and Deputy Premier, Sylvia Jones join us and commit to hosting a joint meeting focusing on the homelessness, mental health and addictions crisis in our cities. We look forward to working together to put in place the supports urgently needed for our chronically unhoused and those suffering with mental health and addictions issues across the province.

New Chair and Vice- Chair

At the meeting the OBCM caucus also named their new OBCM Chair Mayor Bonnie Crombie (Mississauga) and elected a new Vice-Chair Mayor Marianne Meed Ward (Burlington). Mayor Cam Guthrie (Guelph) who’s term as Chair has ended, will take on the position of Past-Chair.

Bill 23 Motion

The mayors along with key municipal representatives discussed several different housing initiatives including Bill 3, Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act, 2022 and Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act. OBCM heard from experts in the municipal sector including economist Dr. Mike P. Moffatt from the Smart Prosperity Institute, who presented on the long-term impacts of the housing crisis, the need for accountability measures and metrics to accompany the province’s plan, and ways cities can find solutions to identify and eliminate barriers to building more homes.

Following the meeting the mayors passed a motion (full motion can be found below) asking the province to hear their concerns on Bill 23 and work in consultation with them as this legislation is implemented. The mayors identified their top priorities for the province to consider including:

That the province immediately pause the implementation of changes to the development charges act and parkland fee reductions in Bill 23 until cities have been consulted on finding solutions to the impacts that these changes will have to our communities;

  • That the province put in place the Housing Supply Action Plan Implementation Table immediately to oversee the implementation of Bill 23 working with municipalities and other stakeholders in the home building industry;
  • That the province work with municipalities to re-open the discussion on a new long-term permanent municipal funding strategy to maintain services and fund critical infrastructure projects, and until a new agreement is in place, ensure municipalities are made whole, dollar-for-dollar to eliminate the unintended consequences of revenue reductions associated with Bill 23 changes;
  • That all stakeholders (provincial ministries, municipalities, developers, and homebuilders) be held jointly accountable, and the province identifies annual targets for each group, along with agreed upon accountability measures and metrics put in place based on each partner’s role in the homebuilding process;
    • Where the municipal role includes permitting and approvals, with developers and homebuilders coordinating getting shovels in the ground to build the 1.5 million homes Ontario needs; and
  • That the Housing Supply Action Plan Implementation Table regularly identify to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing legislative and regulatory amendments to mitigate or eliminate unintended consequences of Bill 23, inclusive of the effects of outside and market forces that may impact the achievement of these targets.

About Ontario’s Big City Mayors

Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM), includes mayors of 29 single and lower-tier cities with a population of 100,000 or more, who collectively represent nearly 70 percent of Ontario’s population. OBCM advocates for issues and policies important to Ontario’s largest cities.

OBCM Motion re: Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022

WHEREAS the provincial government passed Bill 23, More Home Built Faster Act, 2022 on November 28, 2022 with regulations and changes to several provincial acts which will have a significant impact on municipalities in the province;

WHEREAS notwithstanding there are parts of Bill 23 that will help build homes faster, Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM) have written to Premier Doug Ford and Minister Steve Clark regarding their concerns with Bill 23, and have presented to the Standing Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy;

WHEREAS OBCM mayors have noted significant concerns relating to the impact on the collection of development charges and parkland levies, that will result in billions of dollars worth of infrastructure deficits that, without offsetting, will severely impact the current tax base as well as impact how municipalities will fund parkland spaces;

WHEREAS the impacts of this revenue shortfall will result in property tax increases and severely impact a municipality’s ability to build the infrastructure needed to support the creation of new homes including roads, sewer and water systems, and supports for the delivery of fire and police services, delaying the building of new homes;

WHEREAS municipal audits announced by the province in selected municipalities will show how these reserve funds are allocated by each municipality to pay for the cost of this needed infrastructure, based on legislation from the province that strictly sets out their uses;

WHEREAS all partners in the homebuilding process, including municipalities who have responsibility for permitting, approvals and servicing, and developers who are responsible for getting shovels in the ground, can improve processes geared toward their part of creating a new housing supply;

WHEREAS while the municipal sector can help cut red tape and speed up the municipal approvals process, it is the responsibility of the province to look at delays within their ministries, and the responsibility of developers and home builders to further coordinate the building of homes in a timely manner once development approvals are in place;

WHEREAS the province has not identified accountability measures for all parties involved in creating housing, nor has the province identified annual targets to demonstrate incremental goals to build 1.5 million homes over the next decade;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT OBCM mayors request the province immediately pause the implementation of changes to the development charges act and parkland fee reductions in Bill 23 until cities have been consulted on finding solutions to the impacts that these changes will have to our communities.

THAT the province put in place the Housing Supply Action Plan Implementation Table immediately and establish a terms of reference for the implementation table, and that Bill 23 is considered a priority in consultation with municipalities and other stakeholders in the home building industry;

THAT the province work with municipalities to re-open the discussion on a new long-term permanent municipal funding strategy to maintain services and fund critical infrastructure projects, and include the federal government to discuss joint solutions such as allocating a portion of the HST to cities, allowing municipalities to build the housing that Ontarians need without having the burden fall on the existing property tax base;

THAT while this work on an additional long-term municipal funding strategy is underway, municipalities are made whole, dollar-for-dollar, by the province to eliminate the unintended consequences of revenue reductions associated with Bill 23 changes;

THAT OBCM requests all stakeholders (provincial ministries, municipalities, developers, and homebuilders) be held jointly accountable for their part of the home building process through the upcoming housing unit pledge exercise, due to the province by March 1st;

THAT OBCM requests the province work with each municipality and all other partners in the homebuilding process to identify annual targets, with agreed upon accountability measures and metrics put in place based on each partner’s role in the homebuilding process;

AND THAT the Housing Supply Action Plan Implementation Table regularly identify to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing legislative and regulatory amendments to mitigate or eliminate unintended consequences of Bill 23, inclusive of the effects of outside and market forces that may impact the achievement of these targets.

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1 thought on “Ontario’s Big City Mayors Statement on First Meeting of the New Term & Bill 23, ‘More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022’”

  1. Mary-Jane Ritchie

    Congratulations Marianne Meed Ward, Mayor of Burlington for stepping up and accepting the position of Vice Chair of this committee to help make sure that Burlington retains its distinction as one of the best cities in Canada to live.

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A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made. As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington. The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful. Got an idea or comment you want to share privately? Please, get in touch:

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