In an open letter to the Hon. Chris Ballard, provincial Minister of Housing, over 30 community and nonprofit housing organizations from across Ontario pressed the Government to follow through on its commitment to implement ‘Inclusionary Zoning’— a policy that enables municipalities to require new developments to include affordable housing.
The Provincial government is expected shortly to release regulations that would implement its own “Promoting Affordable Housing Act”, which passed late last year. However, as the letter outlines, advocates are concerned that some regulations could all but eliminate the progress made on Inclusionary Zoning—a central pledge within the Bill.
“Inclusionary zoning allows municipalities to require developers to build affordable housing in their new projects, which was a key commitment from the Province only a few months ago”, said Sean Meagher, Executive Director of Social Planning Toronto, who helped author the letter. “We hope rumoured regulations, that would force municipalities to pay developers for every unit required under the Act, are not pending, as they would effectively erase the Bill from the law books”.
The letter specifically warns that, if the regulations require municipalities to make payments to developers “…cash-strapped municipalities are unlikely to create large numbers of new housing units” as the cost to those communities would be too high.
“Inclusionary zoning has been used in hundreds of municipalities across North America without anyone requiring them to make payments to developers to comply with the law”, said Meagher, “it simply doesn’t make sense to reverse that progress by pushing the costs on to cities and towns”.
The letter was delivered to the Minister on Tuesday afternoon.