Specific Legal Issues
February, 15 2023 Published by Huronia Chapter - By Ashley Winberg
Bill 23: Friend or Foe?
From the CCI Huronia Winter 2023 Condo Buzz Newsletter
Bill 23 (the More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022) received royal assent on November 28th, 2022. The Provincial Government has described Bill 23 as “being part of the province’s long-term strategy to increase housing supply and provide attainable housing options for hardworking Ontarians and their families,” with a goal of building 1.5 million homes in 10 years.
Bill 23 attempts to make the foregoing possible by introducing significant and widespread amendments to existing planning and development statutes, including: the Planning Act; the Municipal Act; the Development Charges Act; the Ontario Land Tribunal Act; the Ontario Heritage Act; and the Conservation Authorities Act. The amendments are focused on reducing government fees and speeding up the development approval process.
However, by amending planning and development statutes to make the forgoing possible, Bill 23 could have a detrimental impact on communities throughout County of Simcoe and end up costing taxpayers much more in the long run.
For example, Bill 23 amends the Development Charges Act by freezing, significantly reducing and in some cases exempting, developments from development charges, parkland dedication fees and community benefit charges. The foregoing charges and fees are typically levied by municipalities and can have a significant impact the cost of development.
Industry stakeholders, including the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, have been critical of these changes, arguing that the amendments will result in a shortfall of approximately $5 billion for Ontario’s municipalities, which would be passed onto citizens in the form of higher property taxes or reduced services. The City of Barrie’s CFO, Craig Millar, has voiced concern that Bill 23 will result in the City of Barrie losing millions of dollars in development charges, which are intended to recover the capital costs associated with development from the developers themselves so that taxpayers do not have to foot the bill.
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