Ontario Passes Legislation to Create More Affordable Housing for Families
Province Reducing Red Tape on Secondary Suites, Allowing for Inclusionary Zoning
Yesterday, Ontario passed legislation that will increase access to affordable housing for families across the province and modernize the social housing system.
The Promoting Affordable Housing Act, 2016 amends four acts to help increase the supply of affordable housing and modernize social housing by:
- Giving municipalities the option to implement inclusionary zoning, which requires affordable housing units to be included in residential developments.
- Making secondary suites such as above-garage apartments or basement units in new homes less costly to build, by exempting them from development charges. Secondary suites are a potential source of affordable rental housing and allow homeowners to earn additional income.
- Giving local service managers more choice in how they deliver and administer social housing programs and services to reduce wait lists and make it easier for people in Ontario to access a range of housing options.
- Encouraging more inclusive communities and strengthening tenant rights by preventing unnecessary evictions from social housing and creating more mixed-income housing.
- Gathering data about homelessness in Ontario by requiring service managers to conduct local enumeration of those who are homeless in their communities, so that Ontario can continue to work towards its goal of ending chronic homelessness by 2025.
Ontario announced its update to the Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy in March 2016. The update focuses on making housing programs more people-centred and coordinated, and provides municipalities with flexibility to meet local needs through tools like inclusionary zoning.
Promoting more affordable housing is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.
- The province consulted with municipalities, developers and other interested parties in spring and summer 2016 on a framework for inclusionary zoning in Ontario.
- Inclusionary zoning has been used extensively by communities around the world, including in the United Kingdom and more than 500 municipalities in the United States.
- The updated Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy reflects input the government received at 38 stakeholder meetings during summer 2015, and from 113 formal written submissions that reflect the diverse housing needs of Ontarians.
- The revised strategy also reflects the recommendations made by the Expert Advisory Panel on Homelessness in 2015.
- The 2016 Ontario Budget announced an investment of $178 million over three years to support the updated Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy.
- Ontario is increasing funding by $15 million each year for the next three years to the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI), bringing our annual CHPI investment to $338.7 million by 2019-20.
“Our government is answering the call to provide more affordable housing across the province. We know that when people have a home, they are healthier, able to pursue employment, and better equipped to participate in and contribute to their communities. By making tools like inclusionary zoning available to our local partners, we’re making it easier to create affordable housing while working towards our bold, long-term goal of ending homelessness in Ontario.”