Year after year, Toronto approves recordbreaking numbers of highrise condo units that the vast majority of renters can't afford. Most of these new units are bought up as investment properties to be rented at exorbitant prices and flipped. It's an unsustainable and terribly unfair way to develop our city.
What Toronto needs is more affordable, secure rental units. But over the last decade, for every 9 condo units completed, only 1 purpose-built rental unit was completed.
We need a planning process that prioritizes renters' need for affordable housing over investors' and developers' entitlement to windfall gains. And Toronto City Council is only a month or two away from voting on a new Inclusionary Zoning policy.
That's why Social Planning Toronto is joining ACORN, Progress Toronto, Parkdale People's Economy and advocates across the city to call on Council to vote for a strong Inclusionary Zoning policy — one that requires most new highrise developments to include 20–30% rental housing affordable to lower-income residents. The City's Draft Inclusionary Zoning Framework proposed a very low 5–10% on new condos and 2.5–5% for new purpose-built rental housing, and will leave many low-income communities behind.
We know that our 20–30% ask is feasible and needn't slow the production of housing. Cities including New York, London, and Montreal already have IZ requirements ranging from 25–50% depending on neighbourhood. And the City of Toronto's own feasibility studies suggests developers will still have a motivating 15% profit margin when developing in most of the areas of the city where highrises are going up.
It's an exciting moment for affordable housing in Toronto. Please join us on April 28 for a town hall exploring how Inclusionary Zoning could create thousands of affordable rental units every year and what you can do to help make this a reality.
Hope to see you there!