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New Ontario Legislation Targets the Housing Crisis

April 26, 2022

The Government of Ontario has passed Bill 109, More Homes for Everyone Act, 2022. Bill 109 aims to incentivize municipalities to make timely decisions and enable the development of more housing supply faster. It is but one step in implementing the current government’s long-term housing roadmap.

The bulk of the legislation amends the Planning Act. Here are the top five things you need to know:

  1. Beginning January 1, 2023, municipalities must refund rezoning, official plan and site plan application fees on a sliding scale and up to the entire fee paid if the municipality fails to decide on the application within certain timelines. Given these fees can exceed hundreds of thousands of dollars, expect municipalities to ask applicants to waive these timelines or simply refuse applications sooner, leading to more appeals to the Ontario Land Tribunal.

  2. Effective immediately, rules have been established to require that applicants consult with municipal staff before submitting site plan applications, and timelines have been imposed to deem such applications complete. Additionally, as of July 1, 2022, municipal councils must designate approval of site plan applications to staff, removing some potential for political interference where no rezoning or official plan amendment is required.

  3. Where the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Minister) is the approval authority of an official plan, or in the case of a municipal comprehensive review, the Minister may now instead refer the matter to the Ontario Land Tribunal for a recommendation or decision. These provisions came into force immediately.

  4. A new type of Minister’s Zoning Order (MZO) is now available at the request of a municipality to accelerate development projects on a case-by-case basis. Implementation guidelines will apply to this “Community Infrastructure and Housing Accelerator” process, which is distinct from traditional MZOs and not available for use in the Greenbelt Area.

  5. Finally, on land designated as transit-oriented community (TOC), new limits on alternative parkland dedication rates are now imposed at 10% of land value for sites less than five hectares and 15% for sites more than five hectares. Only the Lieutenant Governor in Council may designate land as TOC to support transit-oriented community projects.

Have more than five minutes? Contact Michael Cook or any member of our Commercial Real Estate group to learn more.