VAUGHAN, ONT. — A provincial budget submission made by the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) is asking the government to modernize the development approvals process, boost pathways into the skilled trades and rein in municipalities that have put in place their own technical construction standards.
The submission was made to Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy Jan. 31. RESCON maintains further action is necessary as Ontario is in desperate need of housing supply and is lagging in terms of innovation and the length of time it takes to get projects approved.
Specifically, RESCON wants the province to support One Ontario, an electronic development approval and building permit platform, as municipalities are often relying on antiquated paper-based submissions and a cumbersome review process, states a release.
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is funding a pilot project to implement One Ontario in Simcoe County and RESCON wants the province to match the funding so the pilot can be expanded to other regions.
The submission also recommends greater support for training and apprenticeship initiatives. While the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program is set to be expanded, RESCON wants it amended to make it easier for immigrants with international experience and specialized skill sets required to build houses and related infrastructure to come to Ontario, adds the release.
RESCON is also calling for greater provincial oversight on technical building requirements, as numerous municipalities “have acted independently and mandated their own unique rules and are not planning to conform with the increasingly harmonized requirements of the Ontario and national building codes.”
“The government has taken a number of legislative steps to help tackle the housing affordability and supply crisis and we are grateful for that, but many challenges still remain that must be addressed,” said RESCON president Richard Lyall in a statement.
“Ontario is in dire need of housing, yet we have the lowest supply amongst G7 countries. We also need to attract more workers to our industry as nearly one quarter of the construction workforce in the GTA is set to retire by 2030. Thousands more workers will be needed, so we must bring in more immigrants with the skills necessary to build housing and infrastructure.”
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