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Reducing Red Tape and Accelerating Sales of Surplus Government Properties

Backgrounder

Reducing Red Tape and Accelerating Sales of Surplus Government Properties

Ontario's Government for the People is streamlining processes to sell buildings and property no longer needed to deliver government programs. Reducing red tape will accelerate the government's ability to put 243 surplus properties back into productive use to generate revenue, reduce costs to maintain these properties and put more money in people's pockets.

This initiative is aligned with the recent Ernst & Young report identifying the importance and opportunity of selling surplus government property to reduce costs and monetize assets.

It is also consistent with the 2017 Auditor General Value for Money Audit of government realty that recommended the government sell vacant buildings to reduce liabilities and ongoing maintenance costs.

Reducing Red Tape

  • Streamlining the process for selling surplus properties when fully implemented will reduce red tape and cut administrative time by approximately 150 days.
  • The streamlined process will include the three stages to put 243 properties back into productive use.
  • Process efficiencies include:
    • Circulation time to external third parties (e.g., other levels of government) will be reduced, consistent with previous practice.
    • Expediting the sale and re-use of heritage properties while ensuring effective protective mechanisms are in place.
    • A regulatory amendment to exempt realty transactions for disposition and severance from Environmental Assessment Act requirements, enabling efforts and resources to be focused on projects that have greater potential to impact the environment. The future owner of the property would need to meet environmental obligations related to the proposed future use of that property.
  • Ontario's Government for the People will ensure all obligations associated with its Duty to Consult Indigenous communities have been met.

Maximizing Revenue and Ensuring Fair Value

  • Accelerating the disposal of surplus properties at market value will generate roughly $105 to $135 million in net revenue for government and put approximately 14,600 acres back into productive use over four years.
  • As properties are readied for sale, Infrastructure Ontario will prepare an estimate of fair value as it comes to market. This ensures the value estimate is timely and reflects the market at the time of the sale.
  • Properties listed for sale to the open market can be viewed on Infrastructure Ontario's website, InfrastructureOntario.ca/Properties-for-Sale-and-Use
  • Infrastructure Ontario will determine market value with a combination of internal and external appraisers and broker recommendations.
  • Each property is reviewed for any potential to raise its value, such as through re-zoning.
  • Properties will also be evaluated prior to sale to determine if they could be used for affordable housing and long-term care spaces. 
  • Divesting surplus government property ensures that Ontario does not continue to be responsible for operating costs and associated liabilities.

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