Ontario is looking to reduce the amount of red tape surrounding development applications, Premiere Doug Ford said on Thursday, as limited supply continues to push home prices higher.
Speaking with reporters, Ford addressed the latest numbers from the Toronto Real Estate Board that revealed the average detached home in the GTA crossed the $2M mark.
“We had a great meeting with the mayors and the chairs across the region and we’re going to make sure that when applications go in, that they get approved as quickly as possible,” Ford said. “They’re going to make sure that they cross their t’s, dot their i’s. That’s what we need to do.”
Ford noted that last year, the province had the highest number of housing starts seen in the past 30 years, but with inventory still running low, he promised to give municipalities “every tool possible to make us a lot quicker when it comes to getting housing starts.”
“We have to cut the red tape and all the bureaucracy,” Ford said. “We’re working collaboratively with all the municipalities, and I thought we had a really good meeting. I know Mayor Tory was there as well. All of us want to make sure that there’s affordable housing right across the province.”
Ford also acknowledged that the issue of increasingly unaffordable homes isn’t necessarily localized to the GTA, but has spread across the entire province.
“At one time it used to just be Toronto and the GTA — it’s not,” Ford said. “It doesn’t matter if you go up north now.”
His sentiments on Thursday echoed the recommendations of the Ontario Housing Affordability Task Force that were released earlier this month. The task force, put together by the provincial government and comprised of nine experts in not-for-profit housing, Indigenous housing, real estate, home building, financial markets, and economics, advocated for higher density and fewer public consultations on proposed developments.
“The way housing is approved and built was designed for a different era when the province was less constrained by space and had fewer people,” Chair of the Housing Affordability Task Force Chair and Chief Executive Officer and Group Head, Global Banking and Markets at Scotiabank Jake Lawrence wrote in the report. “But it no longer meets the needs of Ontarians. The balance has swung too far in favour of lengthy consultations, bureaucratic red tape, and costly appeals. It is too easy to oppose new housing and too costly to build. We are in a housing crisis and that demands immediate and sweeping reforms.”
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