May 2, 2019

This morning the Ontario Government outlined a range of changes that are intended to quickly increase Ontario’s supply of affordable housing. It seeks to provide a greater range of housing types, faster. To do that, the legislation they introduce this afternoon will make changes to existing Acts, regulations, authorities and planning processes.

At a high level we share these goals and there are some positives for municipal governments. For example, it protects development charges for hard services and proposes a new approach to supporting community benefits, like community centres and recreational facilities. It recognizes that vibrant communities require infrastructure and facilities, and it recognizes the principle that growth should pay for growth.

There are changes to the Heritage Act, the Ontario Building Code, the Growth Plan for the GTHA, and more. It will take time to sift through the whole Bill and see where municipal consultation has been reflected, and where it hasn’t. AMO policy staff will be reviewing the details carefully and sharing updates over the coming days and weeks.

Across Ontario, in big cities and rural places, there are housing challenges that do need to be met by the Ontario government, municipal governments, developers and others. Here is the link to the “More Homes: More Choice” plan that the Province has released.

Generally, I know our members are trying to cope with the level and pace of change that a new government brings. When changes are made on this scale, there will be some that we like and others that will be major challenges, such as public health. Capping or reducing promised grant funding affects our services, infrastructure investments and asset management plans. Municipal governments are not alone. Others in the broader public sector are managing their own challenges – and municipal governments may be asked to help them.

We do not have any additional details for public health and ambulance services as of today. The absence of information can generate fear, rumours and impatience. At times like this, we all need to do our best to separate fact from fiction and make the most of what information is available. We need to take a comprehensive look at everything, and we will.

Given the pace of announcements and consultations that are happening now, please keep an eye on our website, our Twitter feed (@AMOPolicy), and our free weekly e-newsletter, the AMO Watch File.

This afternoon, we expect to hear more about the Province’s transit and transportation plans.

Tomorrow, I’ll be addressing delegates at the 2019 Ontario Small Urban Municipalities Conference in Pembroke. The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing will address the Conference right after me.

In the meantime, rest assured that AMO is doing its part to ensure our two orders of government work together. AMO’s long history of serving municipal governments has taught us the value of open doors and a mutual respect. Ontario’s provincial government, and its many municipal governments, can achieve more for our communities by making sure that we work together, with good information in hand, to ensure that changes serve the people of Ontario well.

Jamie McGarvey

AMO President