Province collaborating with small and rural municipalities to build more homes faster
TORONTO — Yesterday, Premier Doug Ford and Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, hosted the Rural Housing Roundtable with Ontario’s smaller and rural municipal mayors, reeves and wardens to discuss the housing crisis and coordinate efforts to increase housing supply across the province.
Following the Ontario-Municipal Summit on January 19, 2022, today’s virtual roundtable provided an opportunity to collaborate with smaller, rural, Northern, and remote municipalities on ways to build the right mix of housing, share best practices and discuss these municipalities’ unique experiences with the housing supply crisis, such as the cost of supplies, and aligning housing with infrastructure needs based on changing populations.
“While every municipality is unique, the housing supply crisis hurts Ontarians in every corner of the province – not just large, urban communities – and our government will continue to work with all our municipal partners to get shovels in the ground,” said Premier Doug Ford. “Thank you to each and every municipality that participated in today’s roundtable, as we work to identify and implement concrete solutions to allow more families to realize the dream of home ownership.”
The provincial government’s housing policies under More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan are working to make housing more affordable by increasing the supply of the full range of housing options, from missing middle, to high-rises and family-sized rentals, to single-family homes. In 2021, the second year after More Homes, More Choice was implemented, Ontario saw the highest level of housing starts in history and the highest level of rental starts in thirty years.
“Rural municipal leaders appreciate the opportunity to discuss the full spectrum of housing needs including reasonable rental accommodation. Over the past year, home prices have risen by up to 40 per cent in several rural communities. We need creative solutions that unlock the full potential of rural Ontario, including strong economic growth, high quality of life, and responsible land use.” – Robin Jones, Chair, Rural Ontario Municipal Association
But more needs to be done to increase the supply of all kinds of homes to meet demand, which is driving home prices out of reach for too many Ontarians. A recent Scotiabank housing report concluded that Ontario is last in the country in per capita rates of housing, and would need to build 1.2 million additional homes to match the per capita housing rate of our G7 peers.
“Housing affordability is a challenge in every part of Ontario and is creating unique challenges in rural communities. Municipalities are looking to the province for leadership and a strong commitment to working with municipalities on innovative approaches to making housing more affordable.” – Jamie McGarvey, President, Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO)
That is why, along with collaborating with municipalities, the government recently held a public consultation on increasing housing supply, and is engaging with industry leaders through the Housing Affordability Task Force, which will provide expert recommendations in a report in early 2022. These consultations will help the government identify and implement solutions to increase housing supply of all kinds to make it easier for all hardworking Ontarians to find a home that meets their needs and budget.
“We know the key to addressing the housing crisis is getting more homes built faster. Today’s housing roundtable with smaller, rural, remote and Northern municipalities was another important next step as our government coordinates with municipalities to make it easier to unlock and fast-track housing,” said Minister Clark. “We know that there is no silver bullet to increasing housing supply, and the crisis cannot be solved in one meeting. We will continue to collaborate with all our municipal partners to increase housing supply across the province and ensure they have the tools they need, to make it easier for Ontarians to live closer to where they work.”
- In 2021, two years after More Homes, More Choice was implemented, Ontario had over 100,000 housing starts – the highest level of housing starts in history – and the highest level of rental starts in thirty years (since 1991).
- In 2021, small and rural municipalities had more than triple the number of starts (227%) compared to the previous year – the highest level in the last thirty years (since 1990).
- Ontario has appointed a Housing Affordability Task Force with industry leaders, including those in not-for-profit housing, Indigenous housing, and economics, to provide the government with expert recommendations on additional measures to increase the supply of market housing. The Task Force’s recommendations will be published in a report in early 2022.
- The government recently held an online public consultation for Ontarians to share their input, which received over 2,000 responses.
- The province’s ongoing work to address housing supply complements our continued supports for supportive and affordable housing for our most vulnerable Ontarians. Through the Community Housing Renewal Strategy and Ontario’s response to COVID-19, the province is providing more than $3 billion between 2020 and 2022. This includes over $1 billion through the Social Services Relief Fund to municipal and Indigenous partners, which is one of the largest investments in affordable housing and homelessness supports in the province’s history.
- Premier Doug Ford, Minister Steve Clark, and Ministers, Associate Ministers and Parliamentary Assistants will attend the 2022 virtual Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) Conference from January 23 to 25, to discuss rural priorities and opportunities for building Ontario, including housing, economic growth, public health, resource development, and more.