Statement: Ontario’s Big City Mayors caucus responds to the Report of the Ontario Housing Affordability Task Force

Posted on Feb 8, 2022

Ontario is in the midst of a housing crisis, and all levels of government need to identify barriers to increasing a supply of homes that meet the needs of residents across the province.

OBCM has received the report of the Task Force.  We are pleased to see that many of the recommendations are on the right track. Others appear to be inconsistent with the input that OBCM made to the Task Force and to the Premier’s Summit on Housing Affordability.

OBCM will consult with its twenty-nine members on the implications of the Report and provide further commentary in the days ahead.

There is a need for a collaborative “all-government approach” to solving the housing supply and affordability challenge. No one level of government is responsible for the housing crisis, nor can only one level of government solve the problem on its own. There is no silver bullet, but there is a lot that can be done, and it must be done together. Unilateral actions, absent municipal input, may have unintended consequences that slow down development and reduce the community support needed to continue to sustainably add housing in our communities.

OBCM is supportive of a number of initiatives that are grounded in the following principals:

  • Ensure that every level of government is part of addressing the solution;
  • Improve the way we collect and analyze data, so we have the tools to define problems, set goals and track progress on implementing solutions;
  • Reduce the time for approvals by applying digital tools and streamlining the process;
  • Invest in training to ensure we have the skilled trades needed to build new homes;
  • Develop a suite of tools to address housing costs and supply shortages;
  • Ensure local flexibility in building the right mix of housing; and
  • Share in communicating to residents the need for growth to help overcome NIMBY opposition.

Rents and prices have risen so quickly that the only way to make significant progress is by the Provincial and Federal governments using their full range of powers and economic tools – such as taxing and spending powers - to make a material difference in the cost of housing, and to support the construction of more attainable housing types and addressing the “missing middle”.

Continuing to speed up municipal processes and policies can help, but Ontarians need bolder action from Ontario and the Federal government to fix the crisis. 

We urge the government to continue to work collaboratively with the municipal sector as they create their plan.  While overcoming NIMBYism is essential to success, so is respect for local decision-making and the democratic process.  We are committed to working with all levels of government to expedite housing while respecting the municipal decision-making process.