Today the PLACE Centre at Smart Prosperity Institute released the housing report, Working Together to Build 1.5 Million Homes in collaboration with Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM).
This report outlines the role of municipalities, and other partners in the home building process highlighting how critical it is that all parties involved work together to create a coordinated plan if we are to reach the province’s goal of 1.5 million homes by 2031.
OBCM fully supports the province’s housing goal, confirming that support through Housing Pledges and Housing Supply Action Plans provided to the province. However this goal is unprecedented and in order to meet this expectation, it is imperative that there is a coordinated plan built on collaboration and accountability with all partners involved in the home building process. OBCM is calling on all partners in the home building process, including all orders of government, developers, builders, labour, the higher education sector, the financial services industry, and not-for-profit groups to come together and create a plan outlining the roles and responsibilities of each. This shared accountability framework should include annual meetings, track progress and work to address any roadblocks that get in the way of getting homes built.
This plan must address the six core challenges identified in the report as slowing down or making unviable the building of new homes:
- Coordination – A lack of coordination between all partners involved, no one actor in the system can ensure that housing completions keep pace with population growth.
- Ability – Shortages in materials, financing, and skilled labour, from electricians to planners
- Viability – High costs, including interest rates, taxes and fees
- Productivity – Slow-to-no productivity growth in the homebuilding sector
- Permission – A regulatory environment that prevents many high-quality, climate-friendly, homes from being built
- Non-Market Housing – A lack of non-market housing, from co-op housing to on-campus student rentals.
Municipalities recognize that they play a big part in getting homes built, through the application approval process and providing the needed infrastructure to create complete communities. Municipalities have been working in the last few years on improving these processes to get homes and communities built faster, including by focusing on implementing multiple government changes.
Municipalities however do not build homes, and even with our improved processes we are seeing productivity issues impacted by labour shortages, supply chain delays and financing. Municipalities cannot control these outside factors that are delaying already approved projects from being built, but we want to be part of the solution to help get shovels in the ground. We want to work together with our partners in the building industry as well as other levels of government to identify these barriers and find solutions to these challenges.
As highlighted in the report, all partners in the home building process play an important role and municipalities want to ensure that each partner is doing their part to reach our housing goals. OBCM is calling on both the federal and provincial governments to hold an annual meeting for all partners in the home building process to establish an accountability framework that helps us identify barriers and find solutions to meeting our housing goals.
“Municipalities have always been ready to do our part to enable housing, and we are all working hard to speed approvals and issue permits so developers can get shovels in the ground faster. We also know we can’t do this alone. We welcome and invite collaboration from all sectors to meet the housing crisis, and enable building not just homes but communities with all the amenities our residents need.”
- Marianne Meed Ward, Mayor of Burlington and Chair of OBCM
“Building 1.5 million in Ontario in ten years will take a wartime scale effort. All three orders of government along with builders, developers, the higher education sector and the skilled trades must work together to make it happen.”
- Mike Moffatt, report author, Founder of the PLACE Centre, and Director of Communities at PLACE.
The full report is available here – chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/https://www.ontariobigcitymayors.ca/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Working-Together-to-Build-1.5-Million-Homes-August-17-FINAL.pdf
About Ontario’s Big City Mayors
Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM), formerly known as the Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario, includes mayors of 29 single and lower-tier cities with a population of 100,000 or more, who collectively represent nearly 70 percent of Ontario’s population. OBCM advocates for issues and policies important to Ontario’s largest cities.
Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, Chair Michelle Baker, Executive Director