Ontario Law Could Force Builders to Include Affordable Housing in New Developments

You can stop telling your friends that you “didn’t want to buy a house in Toronto, anyway.”

That’s because you might actually be able to afford one now. As part of Ontario’s affordable housing plan, the government is hoping to introduce new legislation so that cities will be given the power to make builders include affordable housing options when they build their new residential projects.

Following the green-lighting of the “inclusionary zoning” scheme, developers would be required to set aside a certain percentage of their buildings to moderate-low income properties if the proposed law passes.

The move has the potential to create thousands of new housing units, meaning that millennials looking to buy a place may be able to afford one closer to downtown instead of being forced out into the suburbs as property companies sell exorbitantly priced condos to the highest bidders.

Social Planning Toronto believe that the inclusionary zoning could create between 1,000 and 1,200 affordable homes (to be owned or rented) in the city every year – none of which would cost the public a dime.

For over a decade the city has been seeking this measure. Instead of an estimated 12,000 units that could have been built, according to Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmat, fewer than 3,700 have been added since 2010.

While some are concerned that inclusionary zoning would push up the price of new homes and saddle homeowners with debt, studies in the U.S – where they have had such measures since the 1970s – show that this isn’t the case.

Provinces will make the zoning system available to the municipalities who want it.