Press Release: Community Groups and Toronto City Councillor say “Lift the Ban” - let us build affordable housing

November 9th, (Toronto, ON) – Social Planning Toronto, ACORN, and Toronto City Councillor Mike Layton have come together to call on the provincial government to give municipalities the freedom to enact inclusionary zoning policies. Despite widespread support for this important tool for creating affordable housing, including a Liberal Private Member’s Bill calling for these powers, the Province’s Bill 73, Smart Growth for our Communities Act, fails to allow municipalities badly needed inclusionary zoning powers.

Groups call for an immediate change to the bill to lift the restrictions that stop municipalities from implementing inclusionary zoning.

“Toronto City Council has formally asked the Province for inclusionary zoning powers many times, including a formal request to the Province to amend Bill 73 to include these powers. As a City we are developing a program for implementation so we will be ready to roll it out the second the Province simply says 'yes'", said Toronto City Councillor Mike Layton. "The Province must stop dragging its feet. We can't afford to wait. Affordable housing is desperately needed.”

ACORN spokesperson Alejandra Ruiz Vargas expressed frustration at the ongoing inaction, “The provincial government is failing Ontario communities when it bars cities from implement inclusionary zoning. Access to affordable housing through inclusionary zoning has the power to change people’s lives. There’s no excuse for the Province to continue to deny people these housing options.”

Social Planning Toronto’s Executive Director Sean Meagher explained, “With all of the development we have had over the past 5 years, Toronto could have built 12,000 units of affordable housing if an inclusionary zoning policy had been in place. We can’t afford to miss any more opportunities to create affordable housing.”

It is striking that Bill 73, with its focus on supporting smart growth in Ontario communities, does not give municipalities the right to implement inclusionary zoning. Inclusionary zoning policies are recognized as a key mechanism for supporting smart growth throughout North America, but banned in Ontario. Groups call on the Province to amend the current bill to include this provision for municipalities as it is urgently needed and long overdue.

For more information please contact:

Sean Meagher, Executive Director, Social Planning Toronto
416-820-7889 or smeagher@socialplanningtoronto.org

City Councillor Mike Layton
Marco Bianchi, Special Assistant to Councillor, cell: 647-889-8027

Alejandra Ruiz Vargas, ACORN spokesperson
647-204-2767

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