Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022
AMO was not provided an opportunity to present to the Legislature’s Standing Committee on Heritage and Culture during its review of Bill 23. The Committee heard from dozens of groups and individuals over four days of hearings. AMO was, however, invited by the Official Opposition to present its submission to interested members of the Legislature earlier today through a virtual meeting.
The AMO submission, which has been shared with all MPPs acknowledges that increased housing supply and improved housing affordability is a municipal priority. The submission also urges the government to work in partnership with municipalities in order to achieve its housing goals.
The AMO submission also outlines serious problems with the Bill which was introduced without consultation with municipalities. It illustrates the cost to property taxpayers of transferring a portion of growth costs from private developers to property taxpayers. A preliminary analysis indicates the costs for Ontario’s 29 largest municipalities could be as much as $1 billion annually between 2023 and 2031. The submission also raises serious concerns about the implications for homeowners and communities of undermining Ontario’s environmental protections.
Better Municipal Governance Act, 2022
Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister, Steve Clark, introduced new legislation yesterday which will, if passed:
- allow the appointment of provincial facilitators to assess Durham, Halton, Peel, Niagara, Waterloo, and York Regions for expanding strong mayor tools
- reappoint the existing Regional Chairs of Niagara, York, and Peel to ensure stability as the Regions work with the provincial facilitators
- allow the Mayors of Ottawa and Toronto to propose or amend certain municipal by-laws related to prescribed provincial priorities with more than one-third of a council vote and make regulations regarding this power.
The proposed legislation also repeals the Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve Act, 2005 to allow development of that land.
In making the announcement, Minister Clark noted that provincial priorities include increasing the supply of housing. The Minister said that provincially appointed facilitators will assess the municipal governments in the designated regions to determine the best mix of roles and responsibilities between the upper and lower-tier municipalities in those regions, and ensure they are equipped to deliver on the government’s commitment to build 1.5 million homes over the next 10 years.
The Minister stated that the Bill builds on the More Homes Built Faster Act, the Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act, and the province’s Housing Supply Action Plans.
All three opposition parties sharply criticized the Bill as undermining fundamental democratic principles.
AMO has called for more consultation with municipal governments before expanding strong mayor powers. It is expected that the provincial facilitators will work with municipalities in the designated regions to gather feedback and input on these powers.