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Ontario Introduces the More Homes for Everyone Act

Published on
March 31, 2022

Yesterday, Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Steve Clark, introduced the More Homes for Everyone Act, 2022, an omnibus bill focused on improving housing accessibility and affordability by aiming to increase and accelerate Ontario’s housing supply.

Throughout its mandate, the Ford Government has been focused on the housing sector and increasing the housing stock. In 2019 the government introduced the Housing Supply Action Plan, which this announcement builds on to deal with the soaring costs affiliated with home ownership in the province of Ontario. Recognizing that housing accessibility and affordability are key issues going into this provincial election, the government’s introduction of the More Homes for Everyone Act, 2022 furthers the Ford Government’s commitment to increasing the housing supply.

The bill is the latest measure toward improving housing conditions in the province, following the release of the Housing Affordability Task Force Report introduced this past February. Whereas many of the Task Force recommendations are decidedly more aggressive and would have imposed many new requirements on municipalities, the More Homes for Everyone Act, 2022 takes a much more collaborative approach and holds off on more controversial policy issues, such as reforming single-family zoning, to likely post election.

The goal of this new legislation is to create more housing options for homebuyers, protect homebuyers from unethical development practices, and prevent home prices from rising at an exponential rate. The Ford Government has made it clear that if re-elected in June, we should expect to see more of the recommendations in the Housing Affordability Task Force Report outlined in future legislation, with a particular focus on the report’s recommendation that Ontario needs to build 1.5 million homes in the next 10 years.
The bill tackles significant policy changes, notably the following:

  • The introduction of the “Community Infrastructure and Housing Accelerator” (CIHA) – a power similar to Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZO) but with new transparency and accountability measures. What seems to be a direct response to the Auditor General’s report that highlighted a lack of transparency or standard process in the government’s issuance of an MZO, the CIHA would grant the Minister the power to issue an order with conditions—formal municipal council approval, public meetings, and notice of both the meeting and zoning being requested in order to issue an MZO. While this is not a drastic change from the original route taken when issuing an MZO, this bill will ensure all future governments take the same standard approach to fast-tracking urban development in Ontario. Once again, the government has made clear this tool will not be used on Greenbelt lands.
  • Site plans will be delegated to staff starting in July 2022 and municipal delays in the approval of site plan applications and zoning by-law amendments will entitle developers to refunds of 50-100 percent of submission fees, starting at 60 and 90 days, respectively, beginning in January 2023.
  • Protecting purchasers of new homes by doubling fines and extending building license suspensions for developers who display unethical conduct. In addition, the legislation also looks toward ensuring the penalty of a cancelled development project aligns with the impact placed on the homebuyer and will work to mitigate the risks of investing in new builds across the province of Ontario.
  • A Housing Supply Working Group will be established in collaboration with other orders of government and stakeholders, including industry, to determine how municipalities can effectively collaborate on the implementation of a larger number of the Housing Affordability Task Force’s recommendations.
  • Regulation changes will be explored to facilitate single-egresses for 4 to 6-storey residential buildings and to allow for 12-storey mass timber construction. It also includes a commitment to introducing an update to the Housing Supply Action Plan every year for 4 years, starting in 2022-2023.
  • It appears that the Minister will have authority to refer Official Plan Amendments (OPAs) under Section 17 of the Planning Act to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) to review the plan, the OLT will then be able to make a recommendation to the Minister to make modifications or approve a plan. The Tribunal may hold hearings or proceedings as part of that process.  We are tracking this development and will provide additional advice/confirmation on the mechanisms and process.

Happy to help.

Our Municipal Government Relations and Ontario Government Relations Practice Groups will be tracking this bill closely, and how it is positioned as we inch closer to both the provincial election this spring and municipal elections this fall. While this bill is less ambitious in implementing the recommendations of the Housing Affordability Task Force report than some may have hoped, the government has also made clear in its announcement that this legislation represents a first step, and that we can expect further measures aimed at solving Ontario’s housing supply situation to be introduced if the PC Government is re-elected this June. Please do not hesitate to contact your Sussex consultant should you have any questions regarding the More Homes for Everyone Act, 2022.

Jamie Besner, Managing Partner

jbesner@sussex-strategy.com

Angela Drennan, Vice President and Municipal Practice Lead

adrennan@sussex-strategy.com

Brian Zeiler-Kilgman, Vice President, Ontario Government Relations

bz-k@sussex-strategy.com

Tristan Downe-Dewdney, Senior Associate, Municipal Practice

tdowne-dewdnney@sussex-strategy.com

Amanda DeYoung, Associate, Ontario Government Relations

adeyoung@sussex-strategy.com

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