Small and rural municipalities to build more homes faster

Ontario Construction News staff writer

Premier Doug Ford and Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, hosted the Rural Housing Roundtable with Ontario’s smaller and rural municipal mayors, reeves and wardens on Sunday to discuss the housing crisis and coordinate efforts to increase housing supply across the province.

The virtual roundtable was an opportunity for smaller, rural, Northern, and remote municipalities discuss ways to build a mix of housing, share best practices and discuss these municipalities’ unique experiences with the housing supply crisis, such as the cost of supplies, and aligning housing with infrastructure needs based on changing populations.

“While every municipality is unique, the housing supply crisis hurts Ontarians in every corner of the province – not just large, urban communities – and our government will continue to work with all our municipal partners to get shovels in the ground,” Ford said. “Thank you to each and every municipality that participated in today’s roundtable, as we work to identify and implement concrete solutions.”

Since the More Homes, More Choice strategy was implemented, provincial officials say Ontario recorded the highest level of housing starts in history and the highest level of rental starts in thirty years.

More needs to be done to increase the supply of all kinds of homes to meet demand, which is driving home prices out of reach for too many Ontarians. A recent Scotiabank housing report concluded that Ontario is last in the country in per capita rates of housing, and would need to build 1.2 million additional homes to match the per capita housing rate of our G7 peers.

Ontario has appointed a Housing Affordability Task Force with industry leaders, including those in not-for-profit housing, Indigenous housing, and economics, to provide the government with expert recommendations on additional measures to increase the supply of market housing. The Task Force’s recommendations will be published in a report in early 2022.

A report expected in early 2022 to help the government identify and implement solutions to increase housing supply of all kinds.

“We know the key to addressing the housing crisis is getting more homes built faster. Today’s housing roundtable with smaller, rural, remote and Northern municipalities was another important next step as our government coordinates with municipalities to make it easier to unlock and fast-track housing,” Clark said.

“We know that there is no silver bullet to increasing housing supply, and the crisis cannot be solved in one meeting. We will continue to collaborate with all our municipal partners to increase housing supply across the province and ensure they have the tools they need, to make it easier for Ontarians to live closer to where they work.”

In 2021, small and rural municipalities had more than triple the number of starts (227%) compared to the previous year – the highest level in the last thirty years (since 1990).

The government recently held an online public consultation for Ontarians to share their input, which received over 2,000 responses.

Officials attending the 2022 virtual Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) Conference from Sunday to Tuesday (Jan. 23 to 25) discussed rural priorities and opportunities for building Ontario, including housing, economic growth, public health, resource development, and more.

“Rural municipal leaders appreciate the opportunity to discuss the full spectrum of housing needs including reasonable rental accommodation. Over the past year, home prices have risen by up to 40 per cent in several rural communities. We need creative solutions that unlock the full potential of rural Ontario, including strong economic growth, high quality of life, and responsible land use,” said ROMA chair Robin Jones.


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