Posted on October 8, 2021
For the past 3 years the City of Toronto has been working on a new policy that would force new developments to set aside a percentage of units as affordable housing. This is thanks to the pressure of ACORN members, and allies, across Ontario who won Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) policies in 2018 from the Provincial Government.
Not only that, but the City of Toronto has also been working on a new definition of what is ‘affordable housing. So far the City has used a definition based on ‘average market rent’, resulting in ‘affordable housing’ units that charge $2000/month or more. ACORN pushed for a definition based on 30% of household income, similar to a definition used by Federal and Provincial Governments, and we are close to winning that!
However, the housing crisis continues to grow, and policies such as IZ are one tool that can help address the problem while also taking profit away from rich developers and delivering them to low-and-moderate income communities in the form of affordable housing. This is why there is an organized push by developers and their council allies to push back and weaken what is currently being proposed.
After 3 years, ACORN has moved the city from a weak policy to something stronger - but what is being proposed is still too weak. Starting in September 2022, the City is proposing only 5% to 10% of new developments with more than 100 units set aside as affordable.
Over the next 8 years (by January 1, 2030) that would move up to a range of 3% to 22% depending on the location and type of the building.
To be more specific, there will be four ‘market areas’, with different requirements depending on the area: area 1 includes TO Core and Toronto West; area 2 includes Stockyards/Junction, Toronto East and Yonge Eglinton Centre; area 3 includes North York Centre, Golden Mile, Scarborough Centre and Finch West; finally area 4 includes Etobicoke Centre and Weston and will have no IZ requirements.
The proposed set aside rates differ depending on type of building, and type of affordable unit (rental or ownership). In all areas of the city there would be ZERO affordable units in rental buildings, until 2026! Five years of developers of rental buildings avoiding IZ rules. This is a slap in the face to tenants in Toronto.
In 2022 Market Area 3, there would be 0% purpose built rental in a rental building, 5% affordable rental in a condo or 7% affordable ownership in a condo.
In Market Area 1 there would be 0% affordable rental in a purpose built rental building, 7% affordable rental in a condoor 10% affordable ownership in a condo. This shifts up over 8 years.