Bill 109, More Homes for Everyone Act, 2022, received Royal Assent on April 14, 2022. Regulations have not yet been issued for this legislation. The legislative changes respond in part to the February 8, 2022 report of the provincial Housing Affordability Task Force (HATF) which included 55 recommendations to increase the supply of market housing in Ontario.
The anticipated impacts of Bill 109 are significant, as documented in a report to Council in May 2022 (PH33.11). Over the past several months, the City of Toronto has engaged its municipal counterparts on the impacts of Bill 109 through established forums, resulting in a list of key topics for ongoing consultation with the Province. Staff will report to Council through Executive Committee outlining the policy, process, technology, and organizational tools the City is implementing in preparation for legislative change.
In its approach to implementing the legislation, the City will continue to prioritize good city-building outcomes and mitigate risk to the cost recovery for development review services.
Transformation of the development review service will be delivered through a new team-based operating model, comprised of staff from various divisions and review partners. This enables a more coordinated and collaborative review process to reduce the administrative burden on staff and applicants, support better workflow and timeline management, and monitor data and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). City staff will continue to work to implement legislative changes and transform the development review process as a new Development and Growth Division is established in 2023.
In addition to systemic changes, a series of early improvements, including changes to the Preliminary Report process for Official Plan Amendment and/or Zoning By-law Amendment applications, new approaches to community consultation, and testing of an improved pre-application consultation process are underway.
Bill 109 amends six statutes, including the Planning Act, Development Charges Act, and the City of Toronto Act, 2006. Under the Planning Act, amendments impact:
The Bill alters local decision making with respect to the development application process and has the potential to move the decision making to the Ontario Land Tribunal. Finally, a significant impact of the legislation is the requirement for the City to refund development application fees for Official Plan Amendment/Zoning By-law Amendment, and Site Plan Control applications if prescribed timelines for approval or decision-making are not met. The legislation comes into effect on January 1, 2023 and is anticipated to have a material financial impact on the City.
Multiple additional factors not addressed in the HATF report are also contributing to Toronto’s crisis in housing affordability, in addition to the municipal role and timing of approvals in the supply of housing that are outlined in the report. These include the effects of low interest rates, investor demand, net immigration and non-resident purchasers, blind bidding practices, and the price point of new housing supply compared to affordable supply.
Availability, access and affordability of housing is complex, requiring an all-of-government and community response. While the crisis is widespread, it disproportionately impacts Black, Indigenous and equity-deserving communities. Systemic and institutional barriers have resulted in lower household incomes and as a result, the high cost of housing has pushed equity-deserving and lower-income Torontonians farther from home ownership and economic security.
Chief Planner & Executive Director, City Planning Division
Project Director, Business Transformation, City Planning Division
Director Development Process & Performance, Concept 2 Keys, City Manager’s Office