The City is undertaking a study to analyze current office market conditions, understand the benefits and risks of converting office space to alternative uses, and explore policy options that would balance office needs in the short-term and long-term, while ensuring the City’s economic role remains competitive and resilient.
Increasing office vacancies is a trend impacting large cities across North America as companies adjust to hybrid work following the COVID-19 Pandemic. These challenges have prompted several municipalities to introduce interventions, including financial support for businesses, cultural events, promotion and marketing, infrastructure investments, and enabling office-to-housing conversions.
Concurrently, Toronto is experiencing a prolonged housing crisis that has elevated pressures for residential intensification. In part, this increased pressure has led to development applications that propose to add residential uses above existing office buildings, convert office to residential uses, or demolish office buildings entirely. The loss of office space is typically a permanent outcome that cannot be reversed later if market conditions change. Considering Toronto’s important economic role as Canada’s largest concentration of office employment and corporate headquarters, any resulting policy decision should be informed by comprehensive analysis.
The Office Space Needs Study will include an office market analysis, weigh the benefits and risks of office space conversion, and explore policy options that balance office needs in the short-term and long-term.
A consultant has been retained to support the Study which will be conducted in two phases over an 11-month period.
The Study directions will be summarized with applicable policy and program recommendations by City staff in a report to Council.
The City tracks key social and economic indicators including office vacancies reported via Toronto’s Dashboard.
Reports will be posted here when available.
At it’s meeting on November 8, 2022 City Council requested City Planning and Economic Development and Culture to study potential conversion of office space across the City into new housing, consider what zoning and other regulatory or policy relief may be required to enable economically-viable office conversions and evaluate the feasibility of requiring the provision of affordable housing in lieu of the replacement of office space. More information regarding the motion can be found in PH7.9.
Meeting information, registration details and other engagement opportunities will be posted here when available.
The Office Space Needs Study will include consultation in a variety of forms over the course of the study. Please contact Rory McNeil with any questions or comments.