Who supports inclusionary zoning in Ontario?

City of Toronto, Ontario
Town of Collingwood Ontario
Regional Planning Commissioners of Ontario
City of London, Ontario
Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association
City of Thunder Bay, Ontario
Conference Board of Canada
Town of Milton, Ontario
Cities Centre, University of Toronto
Town of Blue Mountains, Ontario

City of Toronto

The City’s Housing Opportunities Toronto (HOT) Action Plan 2010-2020, adopted by Toronto City Council on August 5, 2009, lays out a 10-year affordable housing strategy.   It contains a number of recommended actions for the city as well as the federal and provincial governments, including the following:

“The provincial government [should] provide Toronto with new powers to implement an inclusionary housing program … to increase affordable housing opportunities in new developments.”

The City on many earlier occasions also repeatedly requested the provincial government and legislative committees for inclusionary zoning powers, either through amendments to the Planning Act amendments, or through the implementation of the ‘zoning with conditions’ provisions of  the City of Toronto Act.

Recommendations from City Council on 19-20 June 2007, and a letter from the Mayor to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing on 23 July 2007, sought the release of the regulations regarding zoning with conditions, and particularly conditions that would allow for securing affordable housing.

In April 2005 and then December 2005, in response to the Draft Growth Plan and then the Proposed Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the City requested inclusionary zoning powers for affordable housing.

In July 2004, City Council adopted a position that the Province should amend the Planning Act to include “inclusionary zoning powers to ensure that affordable housing as defined by the municipality is included in residential or mixed use developments”.

The City was also party to the many separate requests made by the Regional Planning Commissioners of Ontario.

Regional Planning Commissioners of Ontario

The Regional Planning Commissioners of Ontario (RPCO) represents the planning directors, commissioners and other senior planning officials of municipal governments across Ontario.   Its current membership includes the Cities of Chatham-Kent, Guelph, Greater Sudbury, Hamilton, Kingston, London, Ottawa, Thunder Bay and Windsor; the Regional Municipalities of Durham, Halton, Niagara, Peel, Waterloo, and York; Counties of Simcoe and Haldimand; and the District Municipality of Muskoka.

The RPCO through letters to the Province and position papers has repeatedly expressed its support for inclusionary housing.

A  letter on 12 April 2010 from the Chair of the RPCO to the Acting Assistant Deputy Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing opened with this statement:

“I am writing to again express our support for thedevelopment of explicit policies and legislation to enable municipalities to require the provision of inclusionary housing.”

In a letter of December 21, 2009, from the Chair of the RPCO to the Director of the Housing Policy Branch of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, to provide input to the Province’s Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy, one of the three key issues identified as “creative new ideas” that would improve the current housing system was the following:

“Provision of conditional or inclusionary zoning powers to enable municipalities to effectively implement the housing goals and objectives of the Provincial Policy Statement and Growth Plan, especially the provision of affordable housing.”

In an earlier letter dated March 26, 2008 to the Director of the Provincial Planning Branch, the Chair urged the following:

“That conditional or inclusionary zoning powers be introduced to permit municipalities to secure affordable rental and ownership housing in new developments…. It is our belief that conditional or inclusionary zoning powers for affordable housing purposes are a necessary tool to enable municipalities to effectively implement the Provincial Policy Statement and Growth Plan objectives.”

In April 2006, in a follow-up to their position paper of August 2004, the RPCO wrote to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing asking for legislation to ensure that all municipalities and the City of Toronto have clear power to use zoning with conditions to achieve housing policy goals, including affordable housing development.

In April 2005, the RPCO made a submission to the Province recommending that the Growth Plan provisions for affordable housing include powers for municipalities to use inclusionary zoning or conditional zoning to achieve new affordable housing in developments.

In August 2004, the RPCO submitted a position paper to the province on Planning Reforms, asking for improved planning tools to increase the supply of affordable housing, including specifically inclusionary zoning powers or conditional zoning powers.

Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association

Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA) represents 770 non-profit housing providers in over 220 communities across Ontario.

In its Call for an Effective Provincial Affordable Housing Strategy, approved at its Annual General Meeting on  October 19, 2008, ONPHA requested the provincial government when developing its long-term Affordable Housing Strategy to include:

“Provincial tools from which local communities can draw to formulate locally customized and municipally-approved housing plans with such tools including …  inclusionary zoning.

ONPHA’s Executive Director, in a letter of June 26, 2009 to the Provincial Planning Policy Branch of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, stated the following:

“We believe than an affordable housing strategy must include significant emphasis on the development of new, permanently affordable housing….   Inclusionary zoning [is a planning tool that] promotes the development of permanently-affordable housing and should be explicitly available to municipalities …. communities must have the tools and regulatory environment that enables them to develop, fund and implement affordable housing solutions…”

Cities Centre, University of Toronto

David Hulchanski, now Associate Director for Research of the University of Toronto’s Cities Centre (and formerly, Director of its Centre for Urban and Community Studies (CUCS)) was the principal author and researcher for a report entitled The Three Cities within Toronto: Income Polarization among Toronto’s Neighbourhoods, 1970-2000, released by CUCS in December 2007.

The report examines the dramatic social and economic polarization and segregation that has occurred over the last 30 or more years in Toronto, and the steady loss of middle-income housing and the city’s traditional mixed-income neighbourhoods.

The report identifies inclusionary zoning as the first of the federal, provincial and municipal policies that could be implemented to help in mitigating these growing disparities and losses.

The Conference Board of Canada

The Conference Board of Canada is an independent and non-partisan non-profit organization that undertakes applied research on economic trends and public policy issues.

The Board in March 2010 released a report called Building from the Ground Up: Enhancing Affordable Housing in Canada. The report explores the current affordable housing situation in this country; and makes the case that developers, governments, and civil society organizations should all work to expand the supply of good-quality affordable housing.  It highlights a variety of effective and practical models and tools for use in providing this housing.

The report identifies inclusionary zoning as a ‘noteworthy innovation’ and says this:

“Government initiatives frequently involve the use of taxation and spending power to create more units. As the models reveal, however, governments can also leverage their planning and building permission powers—for example, density bonusing or inclusionary zoning initiatives—to encourage the private sector to incorporate affordable units into market development projects.”

City of London

In a resolution passed on October 5, 2009, the City of London, Ontario endorsed Cheri DiNovo’s Private Members Bill 198 An Act to Amend the Planning Act with respect to inclusionary housing.

Town of Milton

In a resolution passed on November 23, 2009, the Town of Milton, Ontario endorsed Cheri DiNovo’s Private Members Bill 198 An Act to Amend the Planning Act with respect to inclusionary housing.

Town of Blue Mountains

In a resolution passed on April 12, 2010, the Town of Milton, Ontario endorsed Cheri DiNovo’s Private Members Bill 198 An Act to Amend the Planning Act with respect to inclusionary housing.

Town of Collingwood

In a letter of March 22, 2010, the Mayor of Collingwood Ontario wrote to Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Jim Bradley about Bill 198 and said in part:

“I can not emphasize enough the importance of Bill 198 and the importance of this legislation to amend the Planning Act to give municipalities the power to require developers to include affordable housing in new developments.”

City of Thunder Bay

In a resolution passed on January 18, 2010, the City of Thunder Bay, Ontario endorsed Cheri DiNovo’s Private Members Bill 198 An Act to Amend the Planning Act with respect to inclusionary housing.

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