ONTARIO – The Ontario government has passed new housing legislation — known as Bill 23 or the “More Homes Built Faster Act”. This move is part of a plan to address the housing crisis gripping Ontario and will help with the province’s goal of building 1.5 million homes.
The legislation was first proposed by the Ford government about a month ago and has been criticized for leaving cities billions of dollars short.
One of the most controversial parts of the bill is freezing, reducing, and exempting fees developers pay to build affordable housing, non-profit housing, and inclusionary zoning units—meaning affordable housing in new developments—as well as some rental units.
Those fees usually go to cities and are used to pay for services to support new homes, such as road and sewer work, transit, and community centres. The Association of Municipalities of Ontario has said these changes could leave communities short about $5 billion.
In Toronto alone, the loss of development charges could result in a revenue loss of about $230 million, according to a staff report presented to city council. This could lead to taxpayers footing the bill, in higher property taxes or service cuts.
Ontarians Voice Concerns Over Bill 23
“Our More Homes Built Faster plan will cut red tape, fight NIMBYism & put homeownership in reach of more Ontarians. I am proud to work alongside @MichaelParsa & @KHollandMPP to get shovels in the ground so all Ontarians have a place they can call home,” said Steve Clark, Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
Online, people across Ontario are voicing their concerns over the passing of the controversial new bill.
“Nope. This plan will line the pockets of developers that donated to the PC Party, leave municipalities with revenue shortfalls, removes democracy, destroys the Greenbelt, and will not do a thing for home ownership,” said one person on Twitter in response to the Minister’s statement.
“When you say cut red tape you really mean pushing expenses normally paid by developers onto municipalities and our property taxes,” another person replied.
“@fordnation has passed #Bill23. This bill cuts $73 mil from emergency shelters, $230 mil in dev. charges, largely earmarked for affordable housing and will convert affordable apartments into luxury condos. This is a promise of increased #homelessness,” educator and crisis worker Diana Chan McNalley tweeted out.
“Why are we always helping developers who are making millions from these homes.. too many communities and homes being built but not schools.. not hospitals.. so on and so on,” said one person on Instagram.
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie has spoken out about the additional expenses the new bill will force municipalities to shoulder.
“With #Bill23 passing into law today, here is what you need to know #Mississauga: The legislation will cost @CityMississauga $885M over ten years in development charge and money for new parks. It’s equal to losing 20% of our capital budget.”
“It will take a 5-10% property tax increase and/or a reduction in capital projects or city services to make up that difference – BEFORE any other budget pressures are applied. This is not fair to you as a property taxpayer and resident,” Mississauga’s mayor continued.
Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner has also criticized the bill, saying it will not address the housing crisis that is growing across Ontario.
“I just voted NO to #Bill23, but unfortunately, despite widespread opposition, the government voted to pass expensive sprawl, higher property taxes and environmental destruction,” Schreiner said.
“My motion and bills – Bills 44 and 45 – provide the solutions that will allow us to build 1.5 million homes without overriding democracy, paving over the Greenbelt, or building million-dollar mansions that people can’t afford,” he continued, adding that he will continue to push for this legislation.
Meanwhile, others feel the new bill isn’t all bad.
“Thank you @fordnation for Bill 23, this brings long overdue changes to the cities development process, and keeps a lot of the nonsense reviews out of development planning. Good job,” tweeted one person in Kingston.
“Some parts of the bill are good, why should millennial homeowners pay more for a property( the builder always passes on the cost of development charges to the end user) to help subsidize cooshy boomers who like the fact that their properties have appreciated but don’t want to pay the escalating taxes associated with such appreciation,” said one viewer on Instagram.
While others are more concerned about the impact the new legislation will have on taxes.
“At this point I don’t even know why I pay taxes when we get taxed so damn much….. Liberal or Conservative y’all just screw the middle class so much,” said one person.
“Let the rich go tax free and continue to kill the middle class,” added another.
How do you feel about Bill 23? Let us know in the comments!