1.12.03 - “Increase the supply of affordable housing across the GTA while protecting the Greenbelt in its entirety”
The More Homes for Everyone Act proposed by the Ontario government outlines the government’s efforts to increase housing affordability by increasing the non-resident speculation tax rate to 20 per cent and reduces red tape in the development process. However, this proposed legislation is not yet implemented. Additionally, the proposed changes to the Greenbelt have been criticized for excluding sensitive environmental areas and proposing Highway 413 run thru the Greenbelt. Therefore, given the numerous issues with this promise, it is classified as partially kept.
“[Ontario Premier Doug] Ford’s environmental record came under fire from the other main party leaders during Monday’s debate, particularly over his controversial promise to build Highway 413. The highway would cut through the Greenbelt and pave over an estimated 2,000 acres of farmland.”
“Today, the Ontario government introduced legislation that, if passed, will support a plan to crack down on speculators who are driving up the cost of housing, protect homebuyers from predatory development practices, and create more housing options for homeowners and renters by accelerating development timelines to get more homes built faster. The More Homes for Everyone Act outlines the next suite of concrete actions the province is taking to address Ontario’s housing crisis. This plan, built on recommendations from the Housing Affordability Task Force and the first-ever Provincial-Municipal Housing Summit, will deliver both near-term solutions and long-term commitments to provide more attainable housing options for Ontario families.”
The Ontario government announced the largest expansion to the Greenbelt since 2005. However, it did not provide specific details on the expansion and was criticized for excluding sensitive environmental areas and for proposing that Highway 413 run thru the Greenbelt. Additionally, the 2020 Ontario budget announced plans to expand the Greenbelt, however did not provide details on its plan. Moreover, the 2019 Housing Supply Action Plan published by the Ontario government does not provide specific proposals to increase the supply of affordable housing in the GTA. Instead it outlines the government’s efforts to reduce red tape in the development process, in an effort to increase housing affordability in the province as a whole. However, given the acknowledgment of this issue by the Ontario Government, this promise is deemed to be in progress.
“Environmental groups and critics are condemning the Ontario government’s planned Greenbelt expansion for excluding environmentally sensitive areas including the Paris Galt Moraine and Carruthers Creek headwaters. In a decision released late last week, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing noted municipalities, landowners and stakeholders ‘raised concerns about the impact and timing regarding a significant Greenbelt expansion in the Paris Galt Moraine area while municipalities are finalizing decisions on growth management …’ Municipalities are grappling with how to accommodate expected population growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area and meet provincial requirements for new housing. ‘More time is needed to understand how the proposed addition of the Paris Galt Moraine to the Greenbelt may impact the priority to create housing and jobs,’ the decision noted. ‘The ministry is still open to considering this area for future expansion and other potential opportunities to grow the Greenbelt …’ The government has opened another consultation on adding urban river valleys to the Greenbelt. […] The Ontario Greenbelt Alliance Steering Committee also criticized the plan. ‘This announcement offers no new protection for the lands that need it and ignores the need to expand the Greenbelt in key areas,’ said Tim Gray, the executive director of member organization Environmental Defence.”
“The Ontario government has announced plans to expand the provinces’ Greenbelt in Clarington. Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs Steve Clark was in the municipality this morning to announce the expansion. The move comes after public consultation beginning in the spring. ‘We heard loud and clear that should add, expand and further protect the Greenbelt’s urban river valleys,’ Clark said in his address. Wilmont Creek, Bowmanville Creek and Soper Creek valley expansions were added to Darlington Provincial Park, which was added to the greenbelt earlier this year. Darlington’s inclusion added 500 acres to the greenbelt, while today’s announcement added another 150 acres. Clark said the province will decide on the specifics in consultation with area municipalities and local Indigenous communities.”
“The Ontario government delivered a budget focused on COVID-19 Thursday, with record-high spending pouring into pandemic response and tax cuts, but no whiff of a green recovery.[…] The 2020 budget includes $45 billion in COVID-related supports over the next three years, spanning health response, funding for people and business, and economic stimulus measures. It’s focused on three pillars: ‘protect,’ ‘support’ and ‘recover.’ […] The government also announced plans to expand the ‘quality and quantity’ of the Greenbelt, a strip of protected lands encircling the Greater Toronto Area. That could include increasing conservation space or setting aside land for a new provincial park in the GTA. The budget points specifically to the East Humber Headwaters in King Township, Ont., on the Oak Ridges Moraine, an ecologically important ridge that is part of the Greenbelt. The document didn’t note a specific timeline or amount of funding for the potential park, and elsewhere it noted that the government plans to build a major highway cutting through the Greenbelt.”
“Some government policies and processes are duplicated and can create delays for no reason, which drives up costs for home buyers. That’s why we’re reviewing every step of the development process and every policy, regulation and piece of legislation to eliminate unnecessary steps, duplication and barriers. […] [This] plan will make housing more affordable.”