Under a recently introduced new Bill known as “the More Homes Built Faster Act 2022,” the Government of Ontario has proposed some major changes to both municipal planning and provincial natural heritage guidelines that will have a significant impact on development in many areas among them Simcoe County.

This controversial new Act, will amend many existing laws relative to housing all of which as stated in its name, will allegedly create more residential dwellings at a faster pace in order to meet the forecasted demand.  The Government’s goal and rationale for this new Act was stated as follows:

The government has described the plan as “part of a long­-term strategy to increase housing supply and provide attainable housing options for hardworking Ontarians and their families,” with a goal of building 1.5 million homes in 10 years.

Here is a partial summary of the impact this proposed legislation will have:

  • Two existing “Acts” that will be adversely affected are the Planning Act and the Conservation Authorities Act.
  • There will be a weakening of regulations pertaining to environmental protection which are currently in place to safeguard areas identified as “greenbelts” such as the Oak Ridges Moraine.
  • The public will no longer have a say and or opportunity to engage in meaningful involvement such as public meetings regarding land use planning and development decisions that will affect their communities by effectively removing public meeting requirements from draft plan of subdivision approvals.
  • Gone will be the right for members of the public to appeal decisions that involve changes to their Municipality’s Official Plan, Zoning By-laws and minor variances to zoning etc.
  • It will remove the power of Conservation Authorities (CAs) to regulate or prohibit development that negatively impacts wetlands, rivers or streams.  In the southern Georgian Bay area this will affect Authorities such as the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA).
  • Conservation Authorities will no longer be able to work with municipalities in reaching agreements to review planning applications that can impact environmentally sensitive areas that should be protected. In our area that would include areas such as the Silver Creek Wetlands.
  • Further, those Authorities will have limited rights and opportunities to appeal land use planning decisions that are deemed to have adverse affects on the environment.
  • Conservation Authorities will in fact be required to identify conservation authority owned or controlled lands that would support and could be used for housing development use with the installation of municipal services such as water and sewer etc.
  • The role of seven upper-tier municipalities with are: Simcoe, Durham, Halton, Peel, Niagara, Waterloo and York in planning matters and decisions will be removed, thereby reducing controls to protect farmland and natural areas.

This is a lengthy list and I could go on, but you can no doubt see the downsides of this legislation.  For anyone that is concerned about the environment, the quality of life, standard of living we have come to enjoy in Ontario if not Canada and what we will leave behind for our children and grandchildren, there is little in “the More Homes Built Faster Act 2022” that is appealing or good news.

In addition to the above, one added area of concern that every property owner should be aware of is the impact this new Act will have on the revenue municipalities generate annually in Development Charges.

When someone builds a new residence be it a developer or a homeowner, most municipalities have a Development Charge (DC).  As an example, click Collingwood Development Charges and you will see what the various DC’s that apply for Collingwood for 2022.

Example: Before a shovel even goes in the ground, the following is what the Town receives per unit in the way of revenue.

  • 1 Bedroom apartment      $12,319
  • 2+ Bedroom apartment    $21,256
  • Single family home            $35,386

For a new subdivision with 200 single family homes, total Development Charges would be over $700,000.

Upon implementation of “the More Homes Built Faster Act 2022”, a number of changes will be introduced for development charges (DC’s), that municipalities will be able to charge for new development.  Essentially what that means is municipalities will no doubt see a significant reduction in the annual revenue they take in from DC’s.  In 2021 thanks to new building/developments, Collingwood took in $12,848,060 in DC’s which generated another $272,773 in interest income for a total of just over $13 million in revenue.  While this new legislation will not eliminate DC revenue, the Act will significantly reduce it.  With annual operating expenses in Collingwood of close to $60 million, a reduction in DC’s will not doubt have to be made up elsewhere and that will likely have to come from higher property taxes.

Whether it’s a single-family dwelling, a condominium or other property type, home ownership is a dream that many Canadians strive for.  Affordable housing has clearly become as issue that needs attention, but a knee jerk government contrived Act that compromises and sacrifices the environment, farmland and other aspects of life that we have come to appreciate and enjoy, falls short of addressing the fundamental problem.

The fact is we have an aging population.  Families tend to be getting smaller and many of today’s younger generation don’t plan or desire to even have kids. Is our population really going to grow to the levels that are being projected?  In recent years I have seen some of the very aggressive growth forecasts for the southern Georgian Bay area that have left me questioning where do these growth estimate come from?  It’s not jobs that are attracting people here and there are a finite number of retirees or people looking for a weekend retreat in our area.

The “More Homes Built Faster Act 2022” is something that everyone should be a concerned about.  Yes, I make my living selling real estate but our quality of live and protecting our environment including farmland, lakes, rivers, stream wetlands and other sensitive areas come first ahead of anyone’s monetary gains.

Contact me if you have any questions or to share your thoughts…..