Region wants province to slow down on housing plan

York Regional Council is calling on the provincial government to slow down on legislation that promises to build homes faster to alleviate the housing affordability crisis to allow for more consultation.

Councillors are particularly concerned about proposed changes to the Development Charges Act and The Planning Act. By limiting the ways in which a municipality can finance growth-related infrastructure, amendments could contradict the goal of building more affordable housing, they maintain.

“The concept that growth should pay for growth is a long-held practice of governments around the world,” says Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti. “In bringing forward this motion and asking the province to take a pause on Bill 23, Regional Council is asking the province to collaborate and work with its municipal partners to address the affordable housing crisis while ensuring the financial burden of growth-related infrastructure does not sit with our existing property taxpayers.”

Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022 was introduced into the Ontario Legislature on October 25 and proposes to amend nine acts to fulfill the provincial government’s plan to build 1.5 million homes over the next decade. Municipalities and other stakeholders have until November 24 to submit comments on the legislation. York’s motion asks the government to convene the consultation with the Housing Supply Action Plan Implementation Team to ensure municipalities can work in partnership with the province to address the housing affordability crisis in their communities.

“Regional Council and The Regional Municipality of York remain aligned with the provincial goal of building more homes and increasing the speed of approvals, but we do have concerns with the proposed legislation,” says York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson. “As proposed, Bill 23 will have considerable and complex economic, social and environmental impacts and will significantly impact how municipal governments recover the costs associated with growth.”

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