Home Canadian News The Ford government’s housing bill could pass this week. Municipal leaders are...

The Ford government’s housing bill could pass this week. Municipal leaders are urging the province to slow down

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Premier Doug Ford’s omnibus housing bill will hurt not help those in need of more affordable shelter, advocates for those experiencing homelessness, renters and academics said Monday.
As the provincial government pushed Bill 108, the More Homes, More Choice Act, to a final vote at in the legislature expected later this week, municipal leaders continued to argue the bill would not do what Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark claimed it would as they urged the government to provide more time to consider the widespread impact.
“We’ve heard from no expert that has suggested that merely promoting the supply of luxury condos and expensive houses and building them over green spaces, endangering the habitat of endangered wildlife and so on contributes at all to making our city more affordable,” said Councillor Josh Matlow (Ward 12 Toronto—St. Paul’s) at a city hall news conference Monday.
“The government is rushing ahead with Bill 108, which will have a negative impact (on) how municipalities are able to effectively manage their land use planning to actually focus on affordability, to actually focus on the quality of life of our neighbourhoods.”
Introduced at Queen’s Park on May 2, Bill 108 proposes sweeping changes to the planning process, including the return of the controversial Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) rules and limiting what municipalities can collect in community benefits from developers. Scientists have also publicly expressed worries it will gut protections for endangered species.
After just two days at the committee stage of a process that sees bills become law, the bill is now headed back to the legislature as early as Wednesday. The expectation is that the bill will be passed before the legislature breaks for the summer on Friday. Clark’s spokesperson, Julie O’Driscoll, refused to confirm that Monday afternoon, saying it would be “premature” to comment while the bill was still at committee.
The government says the bill would serve to cut “red tape” around the development process to increase the supply of housing and also affordability. Critics say there’s no evidence of that while the real effect could be permanently damaging.
“It has no mechanisms to ensure that development costs savings are actually passed on to end users,” Ryerson University’s Cherise Burda, who runs the City Building Institute, said of the bill. “The simplistic argument that more supply equals affordability does not hold water.”
Burda said the bill would encourage denser and taller development rather than spreading density to other parts of the city and promoting the growth of what is known in planning policy as “missing middle” housing.
“At the same time it will reduce the fees that developers pay to the city to provide the necessary infrastructure to support growing neighbourhoods, like the pipes, the transit, parks, services that build communities.”