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Province will not introduce legislation that automatically approves fourplexes: Ford

The Canadian Press
Province will not introduce legislation that automatically approves fourplexes: Ford

Ontario will not introduce legislation to automatically allow fourplex homes to be built across the province, Premier Doug Ford said Thursday.

Such legislation – which would override municipal prohibitions – would be a “massive mistake,” Ford said.

“It’s off the table for us,” Ford said. “We’re going to build homes, single dwelling homes, townhomes, that’s what we’re focused on.”

Ford has pledged to build 1.5 million homes by 2031. 

The province’s housing affordability task force recommended in 2022 that the government bring in legislation that would automatically allow residential buildings with four units to be built anywhere on residential property in the province.

That type of legislation was considered, said Housing Minister Paul Calandra, but municipalities told him it was not a priority.

“I’m going to continue to work with those municipalities, those that have the ability to do it,” he said. “I encourage them to do it, but I’m not going to micromanage from Queen’s Park what they should be doing.”

The province implemented “as-of-right” legislation – overriding municipal rules – for triplexes in the fall of 2022 that would allow them to be built on residential properties throughout the province. 

But Calandra said only 21,000 units have been built in that time.

“It hasn’t been as successful as we would have liked it to have been,” he said of the triplex legislation.

He said the real obstacle to building more homes is the lack of infrastructure.

“Access to water and sewer, that is what’s in the way of us building the 1.5 million homes,” he said.

Ford announced earlier Thursday $1.6 billion more to build infrastructure for new home construction.

New Democrat Leader Marit Stiles called Ford’s position on fourplexes “insulting.”

“We strongly believe in the potential of fourplexes to help us address some of the housing crisis,” she said. “It’s a solution that the government’s own housing expert panel has also endorsed.”

The Liberal Party of Ontario also supports provincial fourplex legislation, said the party’s parliamentary leader, John Fraser.

“We’ve got a NIMBY conservative government led by a NIMBY premier,” Fraser said. “They’ve been focused on taking care of their friends and insiders, instead of focusing on the housing that Ontario families need.”

Fourplexes are a critical part of developing the so-called missing middle of housing, said Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner.

“The Premier needs to talk to builders and developers who will tell you that due to the land acquisition cost to make the finances work, you really need fourplexes or higher,” he said.

Federal Housing Minister Sean Fraser said he hopes the Ford government changes course to demonstrate they are taking “the housing crisis seriously.”

“They could have adopted their own housing task force’s recommendation to allow people to build up to four units on their own land without having to go through lengthy application processes,” he said in a statement.

“Instead, they chose red tape and the status quo.”


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