Ontario Publishes Housing Affordability Task Force Report
TORONTO ― Ontario has published the report from the Housing Affordability Task Force, which highlights expert recommendations for additional measures to increase the supply of market housing to address the housing crisis. The Task Force is part of Ontario’s ongoing three-part consultation with industry, municipalities, and the public to help the government identify and implement real solutions to address the housing supply crisis.
“Everyone has a role to play in addressing the housing supply crisis. As our government consults with municipalities, the public, and industry leaders and experts, we are balancing these perspectives to develop practical, forward-thinking policies that unlock and fast-track all types of housing for all types of Ontarians,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “I’d like to thank Jake Lawrence and the entire Task Force for their hard work, including conducting extensive consultations with other stakeholders, to develop their report.”
The Task Force report’s recommendations include five main areas to quickly increase the supply of market housing, to meet a goal of adding 1.5 million homes over the next 10 years:
- Make changes to planning policies and zoning to allow for greater density and increase the variety of housing.
- Reduce and streamline urban design rules to lower costs of development.
- Depoliticize the approvals process to address NIMBYism and cut red tape to speed up housing.
- Prevent abuse of the appeal process and address the backlog at the Ontario Land Tribunal by prioritizing cases that increase housing.
- Align efforts between all levels of government to incentivize more housing.
Additionally, the Task Force’s report makes other recommendations to increase housing supply over the long-term, including to digitize and modernize the approvals and planning process, grow the skilled labour workforce, and encourage new pathways to home ownership.
“When Premier Ford and Minister Clark created the Task Force our instructions were clear: to deliver concrete, actionable recommendations to address the housing affordability crisis by getting more homes built,” said Jake Lawrence, Chair of the Housing Affordability Task Force and Chief Executive Officer and Group Head, Global Banking and Markets at Scotiabank. “Lengthy reviews, bureaucratic red tape, and costly appeals are making it too difficult to build new housing. We propose an ambitious and achievable goal to build 1.5 million homes over the next ten years and the steps needed to get there.”
The Task Force report is part of the government’s broader plan to seek feedback from a variety of sources, including through municipal and public consultations, to identify and implement measures to address the housing supply crisis and get homes built faster. In January, Premier Ford and Minister Clark hosted the Ontario-Municipal Housing Summit and the Rural Housing Roundtable to coordinate efforts with municipalities, and the government recently held an online public consultation for Ontarians to share their input, which received over 2,000 responses.
- The Task Force, chaired by Jake Lawrence, represents a diverse range of experts in not-for-profit housing, Indigenous housing, real estate, home builders, financial markets and economics. To develop their report, the Task Force also engaged with tenant and landlord associations, labour and economic development organizations, environmental groups, affordable housing advocates, municipal associations, academics and research groups, and more.
- A recent Scotiabank housing report found that Ontario is last in the country in the supply of homes per capita, and Canada has the lowest amount of housing per capita of any G7 country.
- The provincial government’s housing policies under More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan are working to increase the supply of the full range of housing options, from missing middle to high-rises and family-sized rentals, to single-family homes.
- In 2021, two years after we implemented More Homes, More Choice, Ontario had the highest level of housing starts since 1987, and the highest level of rental starts in 30 years.
- The shortage of housing supply impacts all Ontarians, no matter your background or budget. The province’s ongoing work to increase the supply of market housing complements our historic investments to increase the supply of supportive and affordable housing for our most vulnerable Ontarians.
- Through the Community Housing Renewal Strategy and Ontario’s response to COVID-19, the province is providing more than $3 billion between 2020 and 2022 to strengthen the sector and increase the supply of supportive and affordable housing. This includes over $1 billion in flexible supports through the Social Services Relief Fund to municipal and Indigenous partners, which is one of the biggest investments the province has made in affordable housing and homelessness supports in Ontario’s history.