TORONTO – The Ontario government has introduced new land use planning rules intended to streamline the process and bring housing into the market more quickly.
The new measures were included in legislation introduced by Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark April 6 that he says will also strengthen homebuyer protections and support tenants’ rights.
The new bill is called the Helping Homebuyers, Protecting Tenants Act. Clark said the bill would speed up government approval processes by updating the Provincial Policy Statement, 2020 and integrating it with A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe to create a single, housing-focused land use planning policy document.
“Like the rest of North America, Ontario is experiencing challenging headwinds that are slowing down new home construction, including inflation, soaring interest rates and labour shortages,” said Clark in a statement.
“Despite these challenges, our government will continue to take action to ensure Ontario is ready to build more homes as market conditions improve.”
The new bill includes an allocation of $6.5-million investment to appoint an additional 40 adjudicators and hire five staff to improve service standards and continue to reduce active applications and decision timeframes at the Landlord and Tenant Board.
The ministry said protections against evictions due to renovations, demolitions and conversions are strengthened, and there is a clarification of tenants’ rights to install air conditioners.
The legislation would expand deposit insurance for First Home Savings Accounts to Ontario at credit unions and explore a cooling-off or cancellation period on purchases of newly built freehold homes, as well as mandatory legal review of purchase agreements for all new home purchases.
The government will also freeze 74 different provincial fees at the 2023-2024 level. This includes fees that directly or indirectly increase the cost of housing.