August 2019
Affordable housing contributes to the economic and social well-being of Ontario’s communities and the province as a whole. Ontario is the only province or territory in Canada where housing is a municipal responsibility.  

This responsibility is challenging for municipalities: the demand for social housing is rising to record levels, housing is aging, and maintenance costs are increasing. As well, Ontario’s population is aging and has more complex health needs. This increases demand for specialized residential care.

In April 2018, AMO welcomed the new federal and provincial bilateral agreement to implement the National Housing Strategy in Ontario. The agreement is expected to invest more than $4.2 billion over nine years to protect, renew and expand social and community housing, and support Ontario's priorities related to housing repair, construction, and affordability.  AMO participates in a Trilateral Coordination Forum to identify priorities and guide investments.

In 2019, the provincial government announced a Community Housing Renewal Strategy with a focus on affordable housing for low-income households delivered by the non-profit, co-operative and municipal housing sector. The strategy took good steps with a focus on simplified rent-geared-to-income calculations, waiting list reform and community safety. AMO looks forward to further working with the province to ensure the long-term sustainability of community housing.

Also in 2019, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) developed a detailed action plan to increase the supply of private market housing. Implementing the Housing Supply Action Plan was legislated through Bill 108, the More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019 which passed and received Royal Assent on June 2019. Bill 108 made various legislative changes to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal Act (LPAT), Planning Act and Development Charges Act and other legislation. It aims to increase the private market housing supply in Ontario with the expectation that it will result in greater affordability for the people of Ontario.

AMO’s members had a mixed reaction to the plan. While there are positive elements, there are some areas of concern such as the return to de novo hearings at the LPAT and potential limits on municipal governments to recover the costs of growth and plan effectively for their communities. AMO continues to work with the government to inform the Bill 108 regulations to help achieve effective implementation.

On all housing related matters, AMO will continue highlighting municipal priorities to guide provincial and federal investments and legislation. For more information on AMO recommendations on housing, please see Fixing the Housing Affordability Crisis: Municipal Recommendations for Housing in Ontario.