Municipalities can now require affordable units in new residential developments

Peter Milczyn, Minister of Housing. Photo: https://news.ontario.ca

Ontario is giving municipalities the ability to require that affordable units are created in new residential developments.

Government officials say inclusionary zoning is a planning tool that allows municipalities to require developers to include affordable housing units in residential developments. The province has worked with municipalities, housing advocates, and developers to create regulations that give municipalities the flexibility they need to maximize the benefit of this new tool.

“Inclusionary zoning will give municipalities across Ontario a new tool to create more affordable housing. When people have access to safe and affordable housing, they have a strong foundation for better education, health and employment opportunities,” said Peter Milczyn, Minister of Housing and Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Under the new regulations, municipalities will be able to mandate that affordable units for low- and middle-income families are included in new housing developments to create mixed-income communities.

Municipalities will have the flexibility to:

  • Decide the total number of affordable housing units to be included in some residential  developments, how long units stay affordable, and what measures and incentives can be used to offset the costs of the development of affordable units
  • Determine if, and how many, affordable housing units can be built on another site
  • Expand housing options and increase the supply of affordable housing in their communities.

The new inclusionary zoning bylaws will apply to developments of 10 or more units, although municipalities could choose to set a higher threshold based on local circumstances. Municipalities can also apply inclusionary zoning to any type of residential development–both ownership and rental–based on local needs and priorities.

Quick facts:

  • Passed in December 2016, the amendments made under the Promoting Affordable Housing Act help increase the supply of affordable housing and modernize social housing in various ways, including implementing inclusionary zoning.
  • Inclusionary zoning legislation will come into effect in Ontario on April 12th.
  • This tool has been used extensively by communities around the world, including in the United Kingdom and more than 800 municipalities in the United States.
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