Ontario is in the middle of a historic housing affordability crisis and young families are counting on all levels of government to work together to get more housing supply online and keep the dream of home ownership alive.
Ontario’s commitment today to host a Housing Summit with large urban mayors and regional chairs is a good step towards more collaboration on the housing affordability crisis. Minister Clark and Premier Ford have given municipalities many of the tools needed to get more homes built but, as we witnessed in Hamilton last week, there continues to be resistance from local governments to building more family friendly housing.
The issue of affordable housing will also be discussed by Minister Clark at the upcoming Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) Conference in January. This decision shows the Minister understands that affordable homes is an issue in large cities, as well as smaller and northern communities.
It's time for local governments to step up and they should start with rolling back exclusionary zoning. Currently, it is illegal in neighborhoods in large cities to convert a single-family home into a townhome, duplex, triplex or fourplex without a zoning by-law change, which delays projects, costs additional money, and leaves people stranded without an affordable home. These outdated zoning laws encourage NIMBY forces to drive up costs of homes or drive away affordable homes in a neighbourhood entirely.
In too many Ontario cities, it defies common sense that you can take a bungalow and turn it into a monster four-storey home for one wealthy family, but you cannot build affordable townhomes for multiple families without red tape, runaround, and exorbitant costs.
High home prices are evidence enough that there are not enough homes to accommodate growing families across the province. But archaic rules and regulations, like exclusionary zoning, are holding up new developments and exacerbating the problem – keeping the Canadian dream of home ownership out of reach for millennials and young families.
- Tim Hudak, CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association