Wealthy developers will not likely end up helping to pay for affordable housing under new regulations proposed by Ontario’s Minister of Housing, say over 60 community organizations and housing experts. The regulations effectively reverse policy aimed at ensuring developers build affordable housing with each new development— a measure called ‘Inclusionary Zoning’.
“Toronto is in a housing crisis,” said Toronto City Councillor Mike Layton. “The City is waiting on the Province to make good on their commitment for Inclusionary Zoning. Put simply, this is progress undone”.
Meanwhile Ontario ACORN, a low-income and tenant advocacy organization, stressed the urgency of putting these tools in the hands of municipalities:
“The status quo is not working for so many residents”, said Alejandra Ruiz Varga, an ACORN representative who rents in Toronto. “While Toronto continues to grow, thousands of families are being left behind. We need action from the Province so we can build more affordable housing”.
Today, over 60 housing and poverty advocacy organizations from across Ontario released an open letter to the Minister of Housing criticizing the proposed regulations. Among their concerns, the letter highlights areas where the Province has stifled their own legislation by:
- Limiting cities from asking developers to make any more than 5% of the units in any development, compared to 20%-30% in other cities with Inclusionary Zoning.
- Limiting the time period that the units must be affordable to 20-30 years.
- Requiring municipalities to compensate developers for 40% of the cost of making units affordable.
The letter cites a new report by Social Planning Toronto, which affirms that Inclusionary Zoning in Ontario could be a game-changer for cities and towns.
“Toronto is booming”, said Sean Meagher, Executive Director of Social Planning Toronto. “Our research shows that cities with far less vigorous development are utilizing Inclusionary Zoning with much stricter rules and are still thriving. Concern that building affordable housing will hinder development just doesn’t add up”.
Today is the last day that the Province is receiving submissions in response to the proposals.