On May 18, 2016, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Bill 204, Promoting Affordable Housing Act, 2016 at
the Ontario Legislature. This Bill fulfilled the Ministry's
promise, made in March, to update Ontario's Long-Term
Affordable Housing Strategy and introduce legislation that would
grant municipalities new planning tools to implement inclusionary
zoning policies and by-laws.
Inclusionary zoning refers to zoning requirements passed by
municipalities that mandate the inclusion of affordable housing
units in residential buildings and provide for these units to be
maintained as affordable housing over time. To accomplish this,
MMAH has proposed significant changes to provisions of the
Planning Act and Development Charges Act, amongst
other statutes. Some notable provisions proposed in Bill 204
Mandatory authorization of inclusionary zoning in the official
plan of every municipality;
Prohibitions of official plan and zoning by-law appeals to the
Ontario Municipal Board in respect of inclusionary zoning policies
passed by a municipality;
Where a municipality passes an inclusionary zoning by-law, a
prohibition from passing a section 37 by-law with respect to the
same lands, buildings or structures, except as may be permitted by
Prohibition of payment-in-lieu schemes; and
Prohibitions against municipalities imposing development
charges on the creation of a "second dwelling unit" in
prescribed classes of new residential buildings.
Experience in Other Jurisdictions
Vancouver and Montreal currently support affordable housing,
providing land for social housing and low-end market rental
properties. However, their strategies are less comprehensive than
full inclusionary zoning regimes, and have been criticized for
The United States, on the other hand, is often looked to for
success stories of inclusionary zoning policies, but like Canada
has struggled with finding the right balance. Major cities such as
New York City, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Chicago and Seattle
have joined the chorus, implementing inclusionary zoning by
utilizing a broad spectrum of options, from mandating that
developers provide a percentage of new construction as affordable
units to allowing them to offer payment-in-lieu. However, much of
the success of the country's most feted program in Montgomery
County, Maryland, is accredited to heavy incentives to developers,
including a direct exchange of inclusionary units for a density
bonus of up to 20%.
Concerns About Housing Costs
While restricting section 37 requirements where affordable
housing is imposed will assist with alleviating the impact, Bill
204 could decrease housing affordability for new homeowners, who
will ultimately bear much of the cost of affordable units in
addition to all of the other charges that are imposed on new
Municipalities will need to consider the effect of affordable
housing strategies on their housing markets. Members of the
development industry should be cognizant of the potential for new
regulations and added costs that may apply to their development
The author of this article gratefully acknowledges
the contributions of articling student Michael
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
The Ontario Court of Appeal confirmed that courts will generally support and uphold decisions of condominium directors because they are better positioned than judges to make decisions pertaining to their buildings.
According to the city bylaws in Calgary, the grading of lots for new buildings must be done properly so that the water never flows toward the new building or any other nearby properties, but away from those buildings.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).