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Toronto Mayor Delivers On Commitments With Housing Action Plan

by Richard Lyall on 04 Jan 2023

The Ontario government stepped up to the plate and passed new legislation called the More Homes Built Faster Act to tackle the housing crisis and spur residential construction across the province.

Critically, it also freezes or lowers development charges on affordable and non-profit housing.

Now, a 2023 Housing Action Plan proposed by Toronto Mayor John Tory and passed by the city council will set in motion the wheels to enable the municipality to exceed the provincial target of building 285,000 new homes over the next decade.

Both of these are extremely positive developments and will go a long way towards boosting our supply of housing stock, although there is still much to do and many more avenues that must be pursued.

RESCON applauds without reservation the good and necessary work of Mayor Tory and Planning and Housing Committee Chair Coun. Brad Bradford as they seek to advance meaningful and measurable solutions to the city’s housing affordability and supply crisis with their action plan.

We are in a critical housing supply crisis, and it is refreshing to see that some are supportive of the province’s plan and taking action while others equivocate and stall. Municipalities like Toronto must show leadership and take immediate action to enact changes that will permit more housing to be built. We appreciate that the mayor is fighting to get more housing supply on stream in Toronto.

The plan introduces initiatives that will deliver much-needed housing for current and new residents of Toronto. Significantly, the plan also directly commits to either meet or exceed housing targets identified by the provincial government over the next 10 years for the City of Toronto.  

Generally speaking, it proposes a laundry list of amendments with specific timelines to boost the housing supply. 

It calls for a strategy that would amend zoning bylaws to promote the delivery of a range of housing opportunities, increase density in neighbourhoods, expand permissions for multiplexes and additional housing forms, remove exclusionary zoning restrictions and roadblocks that get in the way of housing construction, and open the door to plans to grow existing co-op and non-profit rental homes and affordable housing programs.

These are exactly the types of initiatives that we at RESCON have been calling for in order to address the housing affordability and supply crisis.

The plan also includes meaningful and necessary public accountability tools, including dashboards that will track outcomes and goals. The implementation of a regulatory framework for multi-tenant housing is an unprecedented step forward and will address serious and prevailing equity issues for many vulnerable residents of the city, including students who have been forced to reside in unacceptable conditions due to the housing crisis.

These steps are a once-in-a-generation chance for housing policy and RESCON will assist the city in every way possible to make it happen.

Both Mayor Tory and Coun. Bradford deserves support for moving forward with some of the most significant changes to planning and development policies Toronto has ever seen. They are demonstrating the kind of leadership and commitment that is absolutely necessary to address the crisis.

There is no time to waste. Immediate action is necessary to speed up the construction of new homes and remove obstacles to residential development.

The province got the ball rolling and Mayor Tory and Coun. Bradford is ensuring that the momentum continues. The plan is a responsible call to action and ensures public accountability in the process as it proposes that specific timelines and targets be established for each component.

In the last municipal election, the lack of housing supply was identified as an issue that all three levels of government must address. The city must pull out all the stops to move forward with a housing action plan that works. Housing is vitally important to the economic health of Toronto and Ontario.

Richard Lyall is president of the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON). He has represented the building industry in Ontario since 1991. Contact him at [email protected].

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