Last week, the Honourable Ted McMeekin, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, introduced Bill 204, “Promoting Affordable Housing Act”. The policy goals outlined in the Act focus on increasing the supply of affordable housing.
If passed, the Act will amend existing laws on second suites to make them less costly to build. The Act specifies that municipalities would be banned from levying development charges on second suites in new homes. Second suites provide an affordable housing option for many Ontarians. The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) applauds the Government’s decision to exempt second suites from development charges in new homes. Currently, though, there still are many financial barriers for owners of second suites in existing homes. This includes a wide array of licensing and application fees on second suites which vary depending on the municipality. OREA will continue to advocate for increasingly harmonized municipal rules on second suites.
Bill 204 will also enable municipalities to implement inclusionary zoning by-laws provided they are consistent with the proposed legislation and potential regulations. OREA does not support giving municipalities the planning authority to implement inclusionary zoning. Although intended to provide more affordable housing, the unintended consequence may be increased costs for new home buyers.
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is seeking input on potential inclusionary zoning frameworks until August 16, 2016. OREA’s government relations team will monitor Bill 204 and participate in upcoming consultations with the Ministry.