Ontario-Municipal Summit Seeks Solutions to Build More Homes
Premier Doug Ford and Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, on Wednesday, met with big city mayors and regional chairs to discuss the housing crisis and coordinate efforts to increase the supply of homes across the province.
The virtual summit provided provincial-municipal leaders with an opportunity to share best practices, identify persistent issues and collaborate on ways to build the right mix of housing.
“Young families, seniors and all hardworking Ontarians are desperate for housing that meets their needs and budget,” said Premier Doug Ford in a news release. “At a time when our province is growing, our government will continue to use every tool we have to help municipalities get more homes built faster to help more families realize the dream of home ownership.”
During the summit, Premier Ford announced more than $45 million for a new Streamline Development Approval Fund to help Ontario’s 39 largest municipalities modernize, streamline and accelerate processes for managing and approving housing applications. For example, municipalities can use the funding to implement online systems that make it easier for applicants to navigate the development approvals process, manage their applications and receive timely status updates.
“After a decade of mismanagement and inaction under the previous government, the housing crisis in Ontario will not be solved overnight or in one meeting – addressing housing supply is a long-term strategy that requires long-term commitment, collaboration, and coordination,” said Minister Clark. “Today’s Summit was an important next step to identify what additional measures we can take to increase the supply of housing and make it easier for Ontarians and their families to find a home that meets their needs and budget. As we continue this dialogue, our government will ensure municipalities have the tools and resources they need to unlock housing in every community across Ontario.”
The government also announced over $8 million through the Audit and Accountability Fund to help large urban municipalities identify potential savings and efficiencies through third-party reviews to further accelerate the creation of new housing and modernize municipal services.
As an additional measure to help build more homes faster, the province also committed to work with the municipal sector to develop a data standard for planning and development applications to help accelerate approval timelines. Built with municipalities, data standardization will help improve the quality of data, create consistency across systems, make it easier to measure results, reduce costs for business and governments, and support municipalities’ transition to digital service delivery and digital approvals. This work is part of the Ontario Data Authority initiative, designed to accelerate Ontario’s economic and social growth through improved data sharing.
The government’s housing policies under More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan are working to increase the supply of the full range of housing options, from single-family homes to midrise housing to purpose-build rental apartment buildings. In 2020, the year after More Homes, More Choice was implemented, Ontario saw the highest level of housing starts in a decade and the highest level of rental starts since 1992.
Everyone has a role to play in addressing Ontario’s housing crisis. The government is working with municipalities to ensure they have the tools they need to unlock housing through this Summit as well as a Rural Housing Affordability Roundtable with rural, remote and northern municipalities on January 23. Additionally, the government is engaging with industry experts on the Task Force and recently held an online public consultation to inform the province’s next steps on additional measures that will help more Ontarians find the home that is right for them.