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OHBA annual conference addresses Ontario’s Bill 108 housing legislation

John Bleasby
OHBA annual conference addresses Ontario’s Bill 108 housing legislation

The Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA) will return to the Blue Mountain Village and Conference Centre in Collingwood, two hours north of Toronto, for its 2019 Conference and Awards of Distinction.

The three-day event, starting Sept. 22, will provide delegates with opportunities for collaborative learning with industry experts, exclusive networking opportunities, idea sharing forums and numerous entertaining activities.

The OHBA has given the conference the theme of “Building Growth Together” in recognition of recently-passed Ontario Bill 108, known as the Housing Supply Action Plan, or ‘More Homes, More Choice Act’. This new legislation addresses several areas that had been of concern to the residential building industry, not the least of which was the red tape surrounding approval of proposed housing developments.

“It can take over 10 years for everything to be in place before a home can be built, “said Kathryn Segal, OHBA communications manager. “This is not conducive when you have a huge population growth.” That population growth is projected to be 2.5 million over the next 12 years and will require one million new homes to be built in the Ontario.

Other areas of change in Bill 108 include restoration of official plan and zoning by-law appeal processes back to pre-2017 status, restrictions concerning official plan non-decisions and subdivision plans, shortening development application timelines, and new community benefit charges and parkland dedication contributions.

In a media release explaining the 2019 conference’s focus, OHBA CEO, Joe Vaccaro explained that the conference is organized to connect the association’s commitments with provincial government initiatives.

“We recognize that more homes means better affordability and that in order to meet the needs of new #homebelievers, to cut red tape and to get shovels in the ground the industry, municipalities and the provincial government need to work together.”

“The #homebelievers initiative was a conversation we were having prior to the election with both MPPs and candidates,” explained Segal. “The initial goal was to make civic and community leaders aware that the developer community was working on solutions to increase housing supply and affordability.”

The Bill 108 legislation now allows the focus of the 2019 conference to dovetail with new government initiatives.

“We’re calling this, ‘homebelievers 2.0,’ ” continued Segal.

“The whole point of the legislation is that there are provincial goals for housing that need to be met. The provincial government is now able to push forward with that in a way that they were not able to before. Our big push, therefore, is to work with the government on their policies. We will hold sessions at the conference concerning building safely, cheaper and faster to accommodate the anticipated needs. We’re also doing a big push on transit-oriented, higher density housing along transit lines, seeing that transit lines are going outside of the city to other communities.”

After an evening reception on Sept. 22, a full day of educational sessions follows the OHBA Annual Meeting of Members on the morning of Sept. 23. The luncheon keynote speaker — marketing guru Ron Tite — plus both pre and post-gala receptions, complete the day. The final day of the conference on Sept. 24 opens with a full day of business programming and entertaining activities, culminating with the prestigious OHBA Awards of Distinction Gala in the evening.

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