Province to reward municipalities that meet housing targets

Markham and Whitchurch-Stouffville have each been assigned housing targets, which opens the door to incentive funding that rewards municipalities that are on track to meet their marks.

As part of Ontario’s plan to build at least 1.5 million homes by 2031 to address the housing shortage, affordability crisis and rapid population growth driven by immigration, Markham has been given a housing target of 44,000. Whitchurch-Stouffville is new to the list and has a target of 6,500.

The Doug Ford government has assigned 19 other municipalities housing targets, bringing the total number of municipalities with targets to 50. Once they pledge to achieve their targets through their heads of council, those municipalities will have access to the new Building Faster Fund.

The three-year, $1.2-billion fund will provide up to $400 million per year to municipalities that have committed in writing to achieving their overall target. Ten per cent of the overall funding will be reserved for small, rural and northern communities that haven’t yet been given housing targets to support unique needs and circumstances.

Each municipality’s portion of the annual fund will be determined based on their share of the provincial housing supply goal, as well as their performance compared to their annual assigned targets. If a municipality’s target represents 10 per cent of the province-wide target, for example, that municipality will be eligible for 10 per cent of funding through the fund.

Municipalities that are achieving 80 per cent or more of their annual target will be able to access a portion of their allocation and those that exceed their target will be eligible for a bonus on top of their allocation. Municipalities that aren’t achieving at least 80 per cent of their annual target, on the other hand, won’t receive any funding.

If a municipality has a total housing target of 150,000 homes by 2031, that represents 10 per cent of Ontario’s target of 1.5 million homes, making it eligible for $40 million in annual funding, plus bonus. The Building Faster Fund provides double the funding for every one per cent above 100 per cent of a municipality’s target.

If a municipality reaches 80 per cent of its annual housing target, it will receive $32 million ($40 million x 80 per cent = $32 million). If that municipality achieves 105 per cent of its annual housing target, it will receive $44 million ($40 million x 100 per cent + (5 per cent x 2 = 10 per cent) = $44 million).

This year’s new housing target of 110,000 will ramp up until the province is on track to achieve at least 1.5 million homes by 2031, the provincial government reports. Ontario is also expanding strong mayor powers to 21 additional municipalities projected to have populations of 50,000 by 2031 and whose heads of council commit to meet their assigned targets. The expansion is in addition to the 28 municipalities that already have strong mayor powers and will take effect on October 31.

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