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‘No demonstrable evidence' Bill 23 will reduce home prices

Special council meeting Tuesday to address concerns, provide comments to province
Council chambers at city hall.

City staff is calling for a pause on proposed new provincial housing rules, citing a lack of “meaningful pre-consultation” with municipalities, financial implications for existing property taxpayers and the potential for “unintended impacts.”

Besides, there’s “no demonstratable evidence” housing prices will come down as  a result, staff say.

During a special meeting on Tuesday morning, city council will be asked to support those comments and others, as well as approve more than $1 million for a planning and development fee study next year.

In addition to providing comments on the proposed More Homes Built Faster Act, council is slated to chime in on the impacts of implementing the More Homes for Everyone Act, which was enacted in April.

“Taken together, Bill 109 and Bill 23 have municipalities wrestling with a plethora of new and changing processes, expedited timelines, cost and resource pressures, rework of budgets, plans and master plans to understand implications of new targets, and much more,” states a staff report to council. 

“For many years, communities have been concerned about the costs of growth,” the report continues, noting growth-related revenue currently covers about 85 per cent of the cost of growth-related infrastructure. “This is not consistent with the principle that growth should pay for growth. Bill 23 stands to intensify this gap, at a time when taxpayers and municipalities alike are struggling with affordability, and it is imperative that the Province of Ontario partner with municipalities to fill this funding gap.”

The Tuesday council meeting comes two days before the feedback deadline on Bill 23. 

Speaking as chair of Ontario Big City Mayors (OBCM), Mayor Can Guthrie recently called for aspects of bill 23 that financially impact municipalities to be paused while efforts are undertaken to find a “sustainable funding model” to address lost revenues. 

He made the plea to the province’s Standing Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy, which was gathering feedback on Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act.

The bill, which is slated to receive royal assent on Jan. 1, has the stated goal of aiding the creation of 1.5 million new homes throughout the province, including 18,000 in Guelph

If ultimately approved, the legislation would implement 50 actions aimed at reducing government fees and speeding up the approval process for new home builds.

Those action items include development charge and parkland dedication exemptions for affordable homes and inclusionary zoning units as well as “select attainable housing units”; freezing of development charges and conservation authority fees for development permits; and reduced property taxes for apartment buildings.

It also proposes new thresholds for the protection of built heritage, changes to the way wetlands are classified and alters how conservation authorities operate.

Bill 109, the More Homes for Everyone Act, received royal assent in April. 

Among other things, it’s aimed at accelerating development timelines in an effort to bring homes to market more quickly. 

The result, as explained in the staff report, is about $840,000 in lost revenue for the city. 

Tuesday’s council meeting will be held in-person at city hall and broadcast live on It’s set to begin at 10 a.m.

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Richard Vivian

About the Author: Richard Vivian

Richard Vivian is an award-winning journalist and longtime Guelph resident. He joined the GuelphToday team as assistant editor in 2020, largely covering municipal matters and general assignment duties
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