Social Planning Toronto welcomed Ontario’s newly updated Growth Plan as an element in the effort to address the ‘missing middle’ of reasonably priced housing in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. However, critically, its delayed timelines allow for developers to continue to drag their heels on building more affordable units.
“We are pleased to see the government’s decision to increase density and employment targets— This will mean more residents will eventually live closer to jobs, services, and transit”, said Sean Meagher, Executive Director of Social Planning Toronto. “But, what we needed was bold action to prompt developers to build sooner, not later, the ‘missing middle’ of housing options for residents grappling with the cost of living in Toronto”.
Under the updated Growth Plan, intensification and density targets increase from 40% to 60%, with 50 jobs per hectare to 80. Unfortunately, the new plan also delays the implementation of these targets to 2031.
“These changes are more ambitious, but will take more time— so Greater Toronto Area residents who urgently need to see more reasonably priced housing built aren’t going to see results any time soon,” Meagher added.
“Many developers want to continue building sprawl— It’s cheap for them and makes them the most profit, but is quite costly for residents and cities in the long run”, said Meagher. “We had hoped that the updated growth plan would have pushed them to build more housing close to services like child care, transit, and employment”.
Meagher emphasized opportunities for the government to make positive steps in the coming weeks: “We sincerely hope that in the coming weeks the government will prioritize the building of intensification before any new greenfield development in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area”.
Social Planning Toronto has been active in advocating for enhancements to the Growth Plan to tackle the lack of housing options facing many Toronto residents.