| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Youtube RSS Feed

Development News

City awaits details as province promises to allow inclusionary zoning

Ontario should act quickly to allow Toronto to roll out inclusionary zoning to take advantage of the city’s building boom, says the group Social Planning Toronto and a network of other community groups.
On Monday, the province announced “a suite of legislative and policy measures” combined with $178-million over three years, to increase access to affordable and adequate housing in Ontario. Part of that suite is granting cities the power to practice inclusionary zoning—requiring developers to build a certain number of affordable housing units as part of each development project that meets the criteria. Though the news was welcomed by affordable housing advocates, the timeline and the process remain unclear.
“The devil is in the details. They’ve said they’ll introduce legislation ‘soon’ and the definition of soon matters,” says Sean Meagher, executive director of Social Planning Toronto. “This is enabling legislation that allows the municipalities to create these laws.”
Though the City of Toronto has done some preliminary work on the issue, Meagher says it’s hard for staff to draw up proposed inclusionary zoning bylaws without knowing what the provincial legislation will look like. A prolonged provincial process followed by extended discussions at the city level could delay the construction of affordable housing for years. “You can’t bring in legislation that restricts development without talking to the development community and the people of Toronto. Every delay at the provincial level means it will be a long time before we see the benefits,” he says.
Meagher estimates that if Toronto had had inclusionary zoning for the last five years, even the most conservative requirements on developers would have generated about 12,000 new affordable housing units. “Every delay means we’ve missed critical opportunities,” he says. “Inclusionary zoning only helps when people are building. You have to capture the moments when there is development going on.”
Some version of the strategy has been tried in U.S. cities but inclusionary zoning hasn’t caught on in Canada, partly because provinces here often keep their municipalities on short leashes.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Sean Meagher
Signup for Email Alerts
Signup for Email Alerts