VAUGHAN, ONT. — The Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) recently sent a letter to Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark outlining three actions that are required to increase housing supply in Ontario.
The letter congratulates Clark on his reappointment but also includes steps RESCON says are “critical to moving he yardstick on housing” and need to be addressed in order to reach the goal of 1.5 million homes by 2030. It includes implementing measures to end exclusionary zoning practices by municipalities; digitizing and streamlining the approvals process; legislating approval timelines within municipalities, restricting abuses of Heritage Registries, and removing existing zoning barriers to building housing.
These issues cripple the industry’s production, said RESCON president Richard Lyall.
RESCON wants the province to end exclusionary zoning policies because they are restrictive and limit the types of housing that can be built which in turn, prevents more density and missing middle housing. Seventy per cent of land in Toronto is zoned for detached houses only.
Exclusionary zoning restricts even the most modest forms of density in residential neighbourhoods and empowers NIMBY groups that oppose housing, indicates a release, adding as more immigrants flock to Ontario, more sensible land use policy is needed to allow for housing density including fourplexes, small low-rise apartment buildings and mid-rise housing along avenues and corridors already well served by mass transit.
The digitization of the approvals process is also a critical piece of the puzzle. Existing e-permitting programs in many municipalities are siloed and often short-staffed which delays building. An absence of consistency in data and information exchange among stakeholders has resulted in slow adoption of advanced e-permitting systems. Inefficiencies in the development approvals process will continue to dissuade building, curtail economic growth and lead to fewer new builds if left unaddressed, states the release.
RESCON is also suggesting that action be taken to limit municipal overreach by establishing province-wide zoning standards and legislating approval timelines. For example, in June Toronto’s Preservation Board approved a plan for 225 buildings along Danforth Avenue be added to the Heritage Register, which effectively blocks them from being redeveloped.
Furthermore, RESCON is also requesting that the province recognize the importance of specialized residential skilled trades.
“We were pleased that housing was a key issue in the last provincial election, and that the government has pledged to tackle the problem and bring about meaningful changes to boost the supply of housing stock,” said Lyall, in a statement. “RESCON members are ready, willing and able to help government reach its housing target.”