Greater Toronto Area, December 14, 2023 – The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) slammed the province’s approval of City of Toronto Official Plan Amendment (OPA) 591 yesterday as yet another example of how the province has abandoned its position of leadership and its electoral mandate to build housing in the Greater Toronto Area in favour of political expediency.
“In order to distance itself from its own past actions the provincial government has overcorrected on the housing file to secure its political future at the expense of all future home buyers in the province,” said Dave Wilkes, President and CEO of BILD. “Since early fall there has been a series of government decisions that are effectively undermining the ability of the industry to add housing supply for future growth. The province is committing us all to unaffordable housing for generations to come.”
Toronto’s OPA 591 proposes new and updated policies related to employment, and employment conversions, including mixed use and land designated for homes. The city’s plans included 24 employment conversions that could accommodate 8,000 new housing units. There were 45 requests to the province through consultation to adjust the city’s OPA scope for potentially tens of thousands of new housing units (based on a BILD member assessment) with some employment space retention if those sites were made mixed use. As the province ignored those requests, these units will now not be built. In addition, based on BILD mapping, none of the city’s employment conversions are near transit, meaning the resulting housing will not be transit supportive. Had the province moved forward with the expansion requests there would have been more housing and mixed use opportunities built, much of it transit supportive.
This is simply the latest in a growing list of decisions made by the province that are undermining the provision of housing and employment space supply in Ontario. The decision in October to reverse expansions to urban boundaries in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) limits lands for future housing, meaning there will be a shortfall of 242,000 new housing units by 2051. The decision to indemnify the government against financial damages caused by this reversal has developers questioning whether it is prudent to invest capital into new projects in Ontario. The decision not to expand OPA 591 shelves another potential tens of thousands of housing units.
These decisions, coupled with the announcement to review its commitment to reduce taxes on new housing through proposed changes to development charges, has created unmanageable uncertainty for the housing industry.
“In the space of a few short weeks, in the middle of the most significant housing crisis this region has faced, this government has made decisions that effectively cancelled nearly 300,000 housing units in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and the GGH,” Wilkes said. “Even more critical, these decisions are undermining the very investors that are needed to finance new housing developments and call into question the viability of projects that that would have added much needed housing supply. Cities and developers around the world compete for this investment and the actions of this government are threatening this lifeblood of new housing.”
Housing cannot be a political football. BILD is calling on the province to urgently meet with all stakeholders and define an achievable and sustainable plan to build the housing that our region and province desperately needs to secure the future growth of our economy and communities.
With more than 1,300 member companies, BILD is the voice of the home building, land development and professional renovation industry in the Greater Toronto Area. The building and renovation industry provides more than 230,000 jobs in the region and $26.9 billion in investment value. BILD is proudly affiliated with the Ontario and Canadian Home Builders’ Associations.
For additional information or to schedule an interview, contact Justin Sherwood at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-371-6005.