Affordable housing bill reintroduced in legislature

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Ontario has reintroduced the Promoting Affordable Housing Act, 2016 that would, if passed, help ensure better access to affordable and adequate housing for the people of Ontario.

Chris Ballard, Minister of Housing, said: “Ontario is answering the call to provide more affordable housing across the province. We know that when people have a home, they are healthier, able to pursue employment, and better equipped to participate in and contribute to their communities. By increasing the tools available to our local partners to improve access to housing, Ontario will continue to be a place where the work of building stronger communities starts at home.”

The proposed changes would help modernize existing social housing and increase the supply of affordable housing across the province by:

  • Allowing municipalities to implement inclusionary zoning so they can ensure that affordable units are included in residential projects.
  • Exempting secondary suites in new homes from development charges to unlock more affordable rental housing and allow homeowners to earn extra income from their property.
  • Giving local Service Managers more flexibility to administer and deliver social housing in their communities to reduce wait lists and make it easier for Ontarians to access a range of housing options.
  • Encouraging more inclusive communities and strengthening tenant rights by preventing unnecessary evictions from social housing and modernizing how rental property standards are enforced.
  • Supporting better program design and decision-making by requiring Service Managers to track people who are homeless in their communities.

Updating Strategy

This Act builds on Ontario’s update to the Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy, which was announced in March 2016. The update is making housing programs more people-centred and co-ordinated, and provides municipalities with the flexibility to meet local needs through tools like inclusionary zoning.

The re-introduction of the Promoting Affordable Housing Act is part of Ontario’s commitment to reintroduce all government bills that were before the legislature in spring 2016, so that debate on important issues may continue.

  • Inclusionary zoning has been used extensively by communities around the world, including in the United Kingdom and in over 500 municipalities in the United States.
  • The province has consulted with municipalities, developers and other interested parties on a proposed framework for inclusionary zoning that would allow municipalities to implement measures such as height and density, and offer incentives such as reduced parking, waived or reduced fees and faster approval processes to address potential issues related to the economic profitability of development proposals.
  • The updated Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy reflects input the government received at 38 stakeholder meetings during summer 2015, and from 113 formal written submissions that reflect the housing needs of Ontarians across the province.
  • The revised strategy also reflects the recommendations made by the Expert Panel on Homelessness’ 2015 report and the recent report by the Mayor’s Task Force on Toronto Community Housing Corporation.
  • The 2016 Ontario Budget announced an investment of $178 million over three years to support the updated strategy. – CINEWS
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