This post seemed fit under “In Case You Missed It” as the Ford government introduced Bill 23 aka “More Homes Built Faster Act” one day after Ontario’s municipal elections. The bill proposes about “50 actions” that slashes and burns everything from the Planning Act, the Ontario Heritage Act, and the Conservation Authorities Act just for starters.

To add insult to injury, the period for public comment for many of these dramatic changes ends (November 24, 2022) while most Councils are on hiatus and in transition from the current to next term. But most people would not know that as Queens Park is actively distracting the average Ontarian with it’s fight against school support workers and a hospital/healthcare crisis.

Home Builder Associations across the province are applauding the move, including here in Niagara. An article on the Canadian Contractor website, quotes the Niagara Home Builders Association as stating:

“The Niagara Home Builders’ Association and the Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA) supports the introduction of the Ontario government’s new, once-in-a-generation housing plan. The More Homes, Built Faster Act will make it easier to build new homes faster, reduce housing costs, cut red tape and enable the construction of the 1.5 million new homes needed in the next decade, ultimately increasing supply and bringing affordability back to the province.”

“Reducing costs” and “affordability” usually has costs for someone, and that someone is all of us. Among some of the “50 actions” or so proposed:

  • Allowing up to 3 units on a single residential lot “as of right”.
  • Exterior design of how a development looks will not be subject to site plan control.
  • Developments of up to 10 units will not be subject to site plan control.
  • Removing third-party (ie. citizen appeals) or appeals that cause “undue delay” at the OLT.
  • Instituting “loser pays all costs” at OLT (currently awards of other party’s costs are rare).
  • Removing development charges, community benefits and parkland requirements for some developments (the public will have the privilege to pay for development infrastructure).
  • Limiting appeal opportunities of conservation authorities to only lands they own.
  • Limit and “make accountable” municipalities for development charges, how much and when they are used.
  • Redefining how heritage properties can be listed on the municipal register.
  • Decimate the municipal heritage register by requiring municipalities to prove the heritage attributes of and officially designate under the OHA (a labour-intensive process) ALL properties on the register within 2 years.
  • Setting of criteria for the establishment of Heritage Conservation Districts (this could effect the possibility of a Grimsby Beach or Main Street HCD).

You can read the full contents of Bill 23 by visiting the Province’s site here. A more digestible version and overview can be found at the Gowlings WLG website at this link here.

Needless to say, this Bill clearly favours developers. Like a “bill” at dinner, the developers will have a feast if this passes and we will be stuck with footing the cost of the smorgasbord of changes.

The Local Take

It would seem that our local MPP, Sam Oosterhoff is for now towing the PC party line with a press release that is largely cut and paste from the Municipal Affairs and Housing’s press release on the bill

If you don’t mind the idea of the Province decimating heritage, neglecting climate change, removing local control of planning matters or your neighbour renting out two additional units on their property, then sit back, relax and let Queen’s Park do it’s thing.

If on the other hand you think this matter needs to be “paused” for more consideration and not giving the bank away to developers, you might want to contact Sam. His constituency office can be reached at the following:

Telephone: 905-563-1755