Ontario Construction News staff writer
Ahead of Toronto’s mayoral by-election on June 26, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) is releasing a four-point plan and comprehensive policy recommendations to address Toronto’s housing supply crisis. The association is calling on all candidates to ensure that the provision of new housing is a top priority in their plans and platforms.
“Experts, the industry and governments agree that the housing challenges in the city, and across Ontario, are firmly rooted in a shortage of new housing and the length of time it takes to build new homes,” said Dave Wilkes, President & CEO of BILD. “The provincial government’s target of building 1.5 million homes over the next decade is designed to improve affordability and bring balance to the market.
“By virtue of its size, the City of Toronto needs to build 285,000 new homes to help meet this objective. This number represents a 160% annual increase in housing starts from the previous decade.”
BILD’s recommendations focus on increasing housing starts and promoting affordability by:
- Speeding up building approvals and cutting red tape. In a 2022 benchmarking study of major Canadian municipalities, Toronto ranked last in approval timeframes, averaging 32 months on common types of new housing, four and a half times longer than the maximum allowed under the Planning Act. Delays limit supply and add costs.
- Smarter, more efficient land use as both supply and affordability of new homes depend on the availability of land. In a city like Toronto, with fixed municipal boundaries, we need to use the land we have more efficiently. This means allowing zoning that enables greater residential density within neighbourhoods and along major streets.
- Accelerating the development of infrastructure, community services and social services to match the acceleration of housing development. BILD recognizes that the burden of paying for critical hard and soft infrastructure has to be shared, which means that a new, holistic funding model needs to be developed in concert with all three levels of government.
- Limiting further affordability erosion by capping municipal costs added to new housing. Almost 25% of the cost of an average new home in Ontario consists of fees, taxes and charges levied by all levels of government. While HST and LTT are part of these costs, well over half of the added costs comes from municipalities.
“There are clear indicators that housing demand in Canada will remain robust,” said Mr. Wilkes. “Last month, Statistics Canada announced that Canada’s population grew by a million people in 2022, and the federal government has committed to welcoming 500,000 new immigrants annually. Mayoral hopefuls must put housing at the top of their agenda.”