- Ontario is proposing new legislation to streamline land development and expand housing.
- The legislation aims to create more affordable housing units and protect renters from renovictions.
- Ontario is committed to sustainable development, economic growth, and community engagement.
The Ontario government is proposing a new legislation called the Helping Homebuyers, Protecting Tenants Act that aims to streamline the province’s land development and growth plans, providing more flexibility to municipalities to expand their borders and build more homes. Here are the key points of the legislation:
Expansion of Municipal Borders
The new policy would allow municipalities to expand their settlement area boundaries “at any time” to provide more land for housing. This could include “tools to support growth” near transit stations and enable more homes to be built in rural areas. The expansion would enable municipalities to avoid comprehensive review processes to build more homes.
Greenbelt Plan Protections
Municipalities still need to take into account larger infrastructure planning, and existing Greenbelt Plan protections will continue to be enforced. However, the government did not promise that the Greenbelt areas would not be developed in the future.
The legislation requires municipalities to not only build but to ensure a “range and mix of housing options” such as low- and mid-rise apartments or multi-generational housing. Farmers would also be allowed up to three new residences on their property to support “multigenerational farming families.”
The 29 cities given housing targets by the province last year will be required “to plan for growth in major transit station areas and other strategic growth areas.”
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Cooling-off Period for Freehold Homebuyers
As part of the bill, the government is consulting on a cooling-off period for freehold homebuyers to require home builders to inform customers of the timeframe in which they can cancel their purchase agreements. The consultation will review the duration of the cancellation period, disclosure requirements, and whether to include a purchaser cancellation charge.
Reduced Building Costs
The government is freezing 74 provincial fees, 16 of which will be building code fees and will include exam and registration costs. This is to help reduce the cost of building homes.
Protecting Renters from Renovictions
Landlords will be required to give tenants a 60-day grace period to move back in once renovations are complete at the same rent they were paying before. If a landlord doesn’t allow the tenant to move back in at the same rate, the tenant has two years after moving out or six months after the renovations are completed to apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board.
Increased Fines for Offences under the Residential Tenancies Act
The government is proposing to double fines for offenses under the Residential Tenancies Act to $100,000 for individuals and $500,000 for corporations. About $6.5 million will be invested in 40 adjudicators to improve services and decision timeframes at the Landlord and Tenant Board.
The New Policy’s Implications
While the new policy proposes several changes, critics remain concerned about the expansion of municipal borders. Environmental advocates commissioned a report early last month, which revealed that the province has enough land to build more than two million homes by 2031 without developing the Greenbelt or altering city boundaries.
New Democratic Party Housing Critic Jessica Bell stated that the ability to expand municipal boundaries is “deeply troubling,” and the government is doubling down on suburban sprawl, which is expensive and unsustainable. It is also expensive for municipalities to service.
However, Housing Minister Steve Clark stressed that the government would provide “tools to support growth” near transit stations and enable more homes to be built in rural areas. The proposed changes would ensure that land is available for industry and manufacturing, encourage office and institutional uses in areas closer to transit, and provide flexibility to convert lands for mixed uses.
The legislation aims to increase the supply of affordable housing in Ontario. The government has set a target of building 125,000 new affordable housing units over the next decade. The focus is on creating more affordable rental units for people with low to moderate incomes. The legislation also aims to provide more support for social housing providers to maintain their existing units.
Ontario is committed to sustainable development and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The legislation aims to encourage the construction of more energy-efficient buildings and the use of renewable energy sources. The government is also providing incentives for developers to use green building practices and technologies.
The construction of new affordable housing units will provide a boost to Ontario’s economy. The legislation aims to create jobs in the construction industry and stimulate economic growth in communities across the province. It also aims to attract investment in affordable housing projects from the private sector.
The government is committed to engaging with communities across the province to ensure that the new affordable housing projects meet their needs. The legislation aims to provide opportunities for community input and consultation in the planning and development process. This includes engaging with residents, community organizations, and other stakeholders to identify their housing needs and priorities. The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Work permit holders can also buy a house. The government of Canada eases restrictions on homeownership for newcomers.
In conclusion, the new legislation aims to address the housing crisis in Ontario by creating more affordable housing units and supporting social housing providers to maintain their existing units. The government’s commitment to sustainable development, tenant protection, and community engagement will ensure that the new affordable housing projects meet the needs of Ontarians and help build more inclusive and accessible communities.