City Council adopted Official Plan Amendment 558 – Updating the Definitions of Affordable Rental and Ownership Housing at its meeting on November 10, 2021. Read the Notice of Adoption. Official Plan Amendment 558 has been appealed to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT).
Official Plan Amendment 558 updates the definitions of (1) Affordable rental housing and affordable rents; (2) Affordable ownership housing; and (3) Mid-range rents in Section 3.2.1 of the Official Plan. The recommended definitions reinforce the City’s policy objectives for providing a full range of housing across the City including market affordable housing, and implement City Council’s direction as part of the HousingTO Action Plan to develop income based definitions for affordable housing.
The previous definitions of affordable housing in the City’s Official Plan were based on average market rent—the average rent paid by current tenants, by unit type, in purpose built rental buildings across the City.
The revised affordable rental definition is:
Housing where the total monthly shelter cost (gross monthly rent, inclusive of utilities for heat, hydro, hot water and water) is at or below the lesser of one times the average City of Toronto rent, by dwelling unit type, as reported annually by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), or 30% of the before-tax monthly income of renter households in the City of Toronto as follows:
Based on current average market rents and estimated 2021 household incomes, the revised definition leads to the following affordable rents:
|Unit Type||Average Market Rent||Target Household Income and Associated Rent||Revised Affordable Rent (2021)|
The revised affordable ownership definition is:
Housing where the purchase price (which for new units is inclusive of Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) payable by the purchaser) is at or below an amount where the total monthly shelter cost (mortgage principal and interest – based on a 25-year amortization, 10 per cent down payment and the mortgage rate for a conventional 5-year mortgage as reported by the Bank of Canada in January of the applicable year, and a mortgage insurance premium – plus property taxes calculated on a monthly basis based on the purchase price, and standard condominium fees) is affordable, based on paying no more than 30% of before-tax monthly income, to all households in the City of Toronto as follows:
Based on estimated 2021 household incomes, the revised definition leads to the following affordable ownership prices:
|Unit Type||Target Household Income||Revised Affordable Ownership Prices (2021)|
The revised mid-range rents definition is:
Mid-range rents means Mid-range rents (affordable) or Mid-range rents (moderate).
Mid-range rents (affordable) are the total monthly shelter costs that exceed Affordable rents but are at or below 100% of the average City of Toronto rent, by unit type, as reported annually by CMHC.
Mid-range rents (moderate) are the total monthly shelter costs that exceed Affordable rents and/or Mid-range rents (affordable), but are at or below 150% of the average City of Toronto rent, by unit type, as reported annually by CMHC.
Affordable rental housing and affordable ownership housing are distinct from social housing, which provides rent-geared-to-income (RGI) subsidies through Toronto Community Housing and other social housing providers. Social housing is typically intended for households who cannot afford affordable rental housing or affordable ownership housing.
Affordable rental and affordable ownership housing are typically secured within new private, including non-profit, housing developments. These units are meant to provide housing that is more affordable to low and moderate-income households than typical private market housing.
Official Plan policies that use the affordable housing definitions include rental replacement policies, the large site policy, and when securing new affordable housing as a Section 37 community benefit. The revised definitions are also embedded within the City’s inclusionary zoning policies.
As directed by City Council on November 10, 2021 (recommendation 3), the City will develop a transition plan for implementing the new affordable rental and ownership definitions through City programs such as the Housing Now Initiative and Open Door program. This report will be brought to the Planning and Housing Committee in 2022.
City Planning hosted an open house on inclusionary zoning and the proposed affordable housing definitions on October 21, 2021. The meeting included a presentation from City staff and time for questions and answers on the proposed:
City Planning hosted three public meetings on the proposed definitions as part of consultations on inclusionary zoning on October 29, November 5 and November 10. Each meeting included a presentation from City staff and time for questions and answers and comments on the proposed definition.
Final recommended definitions for Affordable rental housing, Mid-range rents, and Affordable ownership housing were presented for adoption. For more information see the Committee Report and Presentation. A Supplementary Report was advanced with the item at City Council (November 9 and 10, 2021) to provide clarity around the transition of the new definitions.
City Council adopted the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan. Action 52 of the Action Plan directs City staff to review options for a revised definition of affordable housing based on 30 per cent of household gross income, consistent with the federal definition of affordable housing.
Proposed Inclusionary Zoning Official Plan Policy Directions were presented to the Planning and Housing Committee.
The Committee directed that the public consultations on the proposed Official Plan inclusionary zoning policy directions include options to implement and administer an income-based alternative to AMR (average market rent), defining affordable rent as spending a maximum of 30 per cent of gross household income on housing costs. The Committee also directed City Planning staff to consult on the proposed Official Plan inclusionary zoning policy directions and affordable ownership housing definition.
Planning and Growth Management Committee deferred consideration of a new Official Plan definition of affordable ownership housing at its April 6, 2016 meeting in order to report back on this matter in conjunction with inclusionary zoning.
In July 2013, City Planning in consultation with the Affordable Housing Office retained consultants to review the City’s Official Plan definition for Affordable Ownership Housing. On June 18, 2015, the consultants final report, along with a report from City Planning, were considered by the Planning and Growth Committee and the proposed Official Plan policy for the revised definition of Affordable Ownership Housing was endorsed as the basis for a public consultation open house.
The Planning and Growth Management Committee requested the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning to prepare a report for September 13, 2012 meeting of Planning and Growth Management Committee outlining proposed policy amendments to the Official Plan pertaining to the affordable ownership housing policies