Region calls for funds in provincial budget consultation

As part of Ontario’s 2024 budget consultation, York Region is calling on the provincial government to cover the estimated $700 million it’s losing in development charges over the next decade.

Development charges are used to pay for the additional infrastructure such as water, roads and sewers needed to service new growth.

But Bill 23 More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022 reduced the amount of development charges the Region can collect by phasing in Council-approved rates, eliminating or reducing eligible services, and providing potential new discounts and exemptions to developers.

If it’s to meet provincial housing targets of 150,000 new homes by 2031, the Region says it needs to invest an additional $2.6 billion for infrastructure. That’s in addition to the nearly $7.6 billion in growth-related infrastructure already included in the 2024 10-year Capital Plan.

As an upper-tier municipality, it’s ineligible for funding from the Building Faster Fund, which is helping municipalities with housing targets address challenges. Without new provincial funding, building infrastructure needed to service new homes could result in a one-time tax levy increase of 3.7 per cent in 2024 and a one-time water and wastewater rate increase of 7.9 per cent in 2025, the Region warns.

Steve Pellegrini

“York Region, like many other municipalities, is contending with an increasing population without the funds to pay for required infrastructure,” says Steve Pellegrini, Chair of Finance and Administration. “Our goal remains to deliver fiscally sustainable services. To date, there has been no specific funding commitment made to York Region to address development charge shortfalls.”

In its submission to the budget consultation, York is also calling on the provincial government to contribute $216 million – the equivalent of a one-third share – of funding for 1,852 new community housing units and provide stable long-term funding for housing affordability programs. It also wants the province to maintain provincial gas tax funding at its current level and provide additional funding for priority bus rapid transit projects. Finally, the Region is calling for funding to address homelessness, manage the influx of asylum seekers, and meet growing demand and costs in other human and health services programs.

York Regional Council also endorses the Association of Ontario Municipalities of Ontario resolution for a Social and Economic Prosperity Review by the province. Many programs, particularly in community and health services, are partially funded however, municipalities continue to spend more than they receive in other areas falling under provincial responsibility, such as social housing, long-term care, land ambulance, social services and childcare.

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