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Delays in municipal approval timeframes increased since 2020, adding costs

Greater Toronto Area, September 27, 2022 – Municipal approval timelines for new housing in the GTA are among the worst of major municipalities across Canada and add significant costs to new home purchasers, according to a municipal benchmarking study conducted for the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) by Altus Group, a market-leading intelligence service provider to the global commercial real estate industry.

BILD municipal benchmarking study
BILD municipal benchmarking study

“With the average approval timeframe across the GTA now being 21 months, and with approvals in some municipalities stretching to 32–34 months, not only are municipal inefficiencies and delays slowing the addition of housing supply, but they are also adding directly and indirectly up to $3.30 per square foot to the cost of a new home,” said Dave Wilkes, President and CEO of BILD. “To put that in context, each month of delay in approvals adds $2,600 per month to the cost of a new 800-square-foot apartment and more than double that for a new single-family home.”

In addition, the study found that municipal fees and charges added to new homes continue to escalate significantly, increasing on average by 30–36% since the 2020 study. This is adding tens of thousands of incremental dollars to the cost of a new home. Delays and costs have a significant impact on GTA communities and the economy, causing many young families to leave the region for surrounding areas.

“Governments at the federal and provincial levels have taken steps to address the factors that affect housing supply and affordability,” said Mr. Wilkes. “Municipalities need to do the same. Now is the time for action.”

The key findings in the 2022 benchmarking study are:

  • In the GTA, Milton and Whitby performed best, with average approval timeframes of 10 and 13 months respectively. The City of Toronto and Caledon performed the worst, with average timeframes of 32 and 34 months respectively.
  • The size of the project is not a significant factor in how long it takes to gain municipal approval. This results in long approval times and increased costs per unit for smaller projects, which acts as a disincentive for building these types of projects. 
  • Almost none of the approvals included within the benchmarking study would meet provincial statutory requirements.
  • Nine of the 16 municipalities in the 2022 study now have combined municipal charges (development charges, parkland charges, community benefits charges, planning fees) for a ground-oriented development (mix of singles and townhouses) that exceed $100,000 per unit, and seven exceed $125,000 per unit.
  • On a per-square-foot basis, municipal charges are nearly two times higher for high-density housing than for ground-related housing. This relationship is evident in every municipality studied and acts as a drag to increasing density.

The 2022 BILD municipal benchmarking study is available at

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 231,000 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 or 416-371-6005.