Brampton Guardian: Bill 23 does not offer any real solution, deepens the housing crisis
Posted November 20, 2022
Bill 23 does not even touch any of the real root causes, writes Tanya Burkart
The Ontario legislature is conducting public hearings on the new housing bill, More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022, that was recently introduced by the Ontario government.
The government claims that it provides a key solution to the housing crisis. But the question is: does simply building more homes address the root causes of the housing crisis?
On the contrary. In its quest to build more and fast, Bill 23 seeks to deepen the housing crisis by starving the cities of money and power to build and protect affordable housing.
Cities such as Toronto and Mississauga recently passed their inclusionary zoning (IZ) bylaws — a tool that cities can use to mandate developers to keep a set percentage of housing in new developments as affordable.
Bill 23 severely limits the potential of this tool by restricting the percentage of such affordable units to five per cent, to be kept affordable for only 25 years.
Toronto’s IZ bylaw has much higher set-aside rates (16 to 22 per cent phased overtime) to be kept affordable for perpetuity. The definition of affordable housing will also be changed to be based on 80 per cent average market rent and not household income. City of Toronto revised its affordable housing definition to be based on income.
Bill 23 also takes away cities’ control over protecting what remains of the affordable housing stock.
Again, Toronto and Mississauga have rental replacement bylaws that have been able to save thousands of housing units that would have been otherwise lost to demolition or condo conversion.
These laws require developers to ensure that lost units are replaced, thus preserving affordable housing and protecting tenants from losing their homes and communities.
The cities are also in danger of losing revenue that they secure by way of development charges, which pay for important services such as transit, libraries, etc.
Brampton is already struggling to pay for essential services such as health care. Bill 23 is silent on who will pay for this critical resource gap. Moreover, wealthy developers will now be exempt from these charges with no mandate to build affordable housing.
I have been a tenant in Brampton and have stayed in units owned by big corporate landlords.
I have had to use online petitions and have been organizing to get basic smoke detectors and CO alarms. I have had to fight for the removal of mould, and have experienced leaking faucets and plumbing, inefficient appliances, outdated wiring, no accessibility, lack of respect, and intimidating behaviour by these corporate landlords.
The same three-bedroom townhouse unit that I rented in May 2018 for $1,500 per month is now being rented for $2,459 per month plus parking and utilities. Rents in Brampton have gone up by 25 per cent since last year.
Already, lack of full rent control, above guideline rent increases, renovictions and financialized landlords are worsening the housing crisis in the province of Ontario.
Bill 23 does not even touch any of the real root causes. The bill is ramming through the legislature with extremely limited discussion with people whose lives will be deeply impacted.
Tanya Burkart is a leader of Peel ACORN. For more information, visit acorncanada.org.