Ontario Empowering Mayors to Build Housing Faster
Updated: Aug 12
TORONTO ― The Ontario government introduced legislation that would give the mayors of Toronto and Ottawa more responsibility to deliver on shared provincial-municipal priorities, including building 1.5 million new homes over the next 10 years.
If passed, the Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act, would give the mayors of Toronto and Ottawa the ability to move priority projects forward and get more homes built faster.
Proposed changes include:
hiring the Chief Administrative Officer and municipal department heads, and create and re-organize departments
appointing chairs/vice-chairs for identified committees and local boards, and establish new identified committees
bringing matters for council consideration related to provincial priorities
vetoing bylaws approved by council if they relate to matters of provincial priority
proposing the municipal budget
This legislation is an important tool to get more homes built faster, and is one of a number of initiatives being taken by the Ontario government to address the housing shortage.
“The reality is over one third of Ontario’s growth over the next decade is expected to happen in Toronto and Ottawa, and too many families are already struggling with housing and the rising cost of living. We need to support efficient local decision-making to help cut through red tape and speed up development timelines,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “While there is no silver bullet to addressing the housing crisis, the Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act is another step in the right direction to provide more tools to municipal leaders to deliver on their platform commitments to constituents. The province is actively deepening our cooperation on all fronts across all municipalities to get 1.5 million homes built over the next 10 years.”
These proposed measures would allow council to have the ability to propose amendments to the municipal budget. Council would also be able to override the mayor’s veto of any budget amendments and by-laws related to provincial priorities with a two-thirds majority vote.
If passed, the proposed changes are intended to take effect on November 15, 2022 — the start of the new municipal council term.
To help communities across Ontario build more attainable homes, Ontario is also launching the Housing Supply Action Plan Implementation Team (HSAPIT). HSAPIT will provide advice on market housing initiatives, including building on the vision from the Housing Affordability Task Force, More Homes for Everyone and other government consultations. The government intends to appoint Drew Dilkens, Mayor of the City of Windsor, as Chair and Cheryl Fort, Mayor of the Township of Hornepayne, as the Vice Chair. The other Team members will be selected in the coming weeks, with the first meeting scheduled for early fall.
Ontario is committed to supporting municipalities and remains focused on improving planning policies and cutting red tape to get homes built faster. The government is leading by example, and encourages other government partners to join us by taking concrete steps to help all Ontarians find a home that meets their needs.
Mayoral powers to veto by-laws approved by council and bring items for council consideration would only apply for matters relating to provincial priorities, which will be set out in regulations. For example, building 1.5 million new residential units by 2033, or the construction and maintenance of infrastructure that supports new housing, including transit, roads, and utilities.
Thirty-five per cent of Ontario’s projected growth to 2031 is expected to happen in Toronto and Ottawa. Addressing housing supply issues in these communities is critical.