Specific Legal Issues

November, 25 2022 Published by Huronia Chapter - By Ashley Winberg

Is Bill 23 The Answer to Ontario’s Housing Crisis?

From the CCI Huronia Fall 2022 Condo Buzz Newsletter

On October 25, 2022, the provincial government announced Bill 23 (the More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022), which strives to have 1.5 million homes built in the Province of Ontario over the next 10 years. Bill 23 attempts to make the foregoing possible by proposing significant and widespread amendments to existing planning and development statutes.

At first glance, Bill 23 appears to be the answer to Ontario’s affordable housing crisis by “reducing government fees and fixing developmental approval delays that slow down housing construction and increase costs”, which in turn will provide more Ontarians with the opportunity to purchase affordable new homes in the province.

However, critics of Bill 23 claim that although the changes introduced by Bill 23 may make new homes more “affordable” to purchase at the onset, the same homes will end up costing homeowners and Ontario taxpayers much more in the long run.

One of the criticisms of Bill 23 is that it will end the use of municipal green building standards in Ontario, which Chris Ballard, CEO of Passive House Canada, argues are important policy tools to ensure that new construction is sustainable and resilient. Ballard claims that the construction of new homes, which fail to meet energy efficiency guidelines, places an unfair financial burden on homeowners since homeowners will have to undertake costly retrofits in order to make their homes resilient to extreme weather and to address increasing energy costs. Ballard argues that the provincial government should be encouraging developers to design and construct new homes at the outset that are energy efficient and resilient, instead of introducing legislation like Bill 23, which ultimately places a long-term financial burden on homeowners.

Bill 23 also introduces a number of changes to the Development Charges Act, 1997, S.O. 1997, c. 27, by significantly reducing (and in some cases exempting developments from) development charges, parkland dedication fees and community benefit charges. The City of Barrie’s CFO, Craig Millar, has voiced concern that Bill 23 will result in the City of Barrie losing millions of dollars in development charges, which are intended to recover the capital costs associated with development from the developers themselves so that taxpayers do not have to foot the bill. The same concern has been expressed by several other municipalities who have urged the provincial government to extend the consultation period so that this concern, among many others, can be addressed prior to any further action being taken to enact Bill 23.

Whether or not Bill 23 is the answer to Ontario’s housing crisis remains to be seen. What is clear however, is that Bill 23, if enacted as proposed, will significantly change planning and development in the province, and have far-reaching implications. To learn more about Bill 23 and how it will impact your community, please ensure that you register and attend CCI-Huronia’s upcoming webinar on January 20, 2023.

Ashley Winberg
Elia Associates




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