Developers Trying to Defeat Vote on Oct 28 for Housing – Fight Back!
Posted October 8, 2021
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.
This is not good enough. Working class Torontonians cannot wait 8 years, and they cannot accept such weak policies. Developers will do all they can to sneak through development applications ASAP in order to avoid the new IZ requirements. By 2030 it’s hard to imagine just how bad the housing crisis will be. We need to pressure city councillors and city staff to speed up and strengthen the program NOW. We’ve seen politicians respond to pressure many times on this campaign, and we know what works.
- Require the MAXIMUM amount of units set aside as permanent, deeply affordable, rental housing
- IZ must be fully phased in by 2025 – we can’t wait till 2030
- It must be fully phased in at 20 to 30% – which city studies have shown will allow developers to get 15% profit and landowners to get 10% above the value of their land
- It must prioritize affordable rental housing, which is more affordable for lower income households, in all developments, by targeting set aside rates which will incentivize rental over ownership
- Maintain the current proposal of units being affordable for 99 years
- Bring in a new definition of ‘affordable’, based on income NOT market rent
- That IZ policies apply to all new developments with 60 units or more
Join our online action and send a message to the mayor and your city councillor to support our demands!
And join our in person actions in October to put the pressure on city councillors, and fight back against greedy developers who are putting profit above people
October 14th, 11 AM at Toronto City Hall: Press Conference to release report ‘Who Owns the City – Developers or People?”
October 26th, 12 PM at Toronto City Hall: Rally for a Strong Affordable Housing Plan NOW
October 28th, all day: Deputation to the Planning & Housing Committee on IZ. Email TorontoFO@ACORNCanada.org for help registering.