The City of Mississauga is facing a housing affordability crisis, and we need the next provincial government’s support to address it.
According to recent reports, in Mississauga:
- The average sale price of a single-detached home in 2021 was $1.8 million
- The average cost of a condominium in 2021 was $657,000
- The average rental price is $1,569 per month
While we’re doing what we can to make housing more affordable, these prices are out of reach for 80% of households in Mississauga. For example, Mississauga’s middle-income earners who earn $58,000-$108,000 per year are unable to compete in our current housing market even though we have taken the following actions:
Approved more housing
We are approving more housing units than required to meet the annual demand within a reasonable timeframe. We have:
- Approved zoning for over 20,000 units that could be built today, but have not yet been
- Pre-zoned another 40,000 units in the Downtown Core that could be built expeditiously
- Met approval targets for building permit approval 95%+ of the time
- Processed development applications on average within 18 months, quicker than other surrounding municipalities
- Issued $2.1 billion worth of building permits in 2021
Removed barriers to new housing supply
We’ve made it easier to build housing by:
- Removing height and density limits in the Downtown City Centre, permitting tens of thousands of units to be built as of right now
- Introducing conditional permits to speed up the building of new housing
- Introducing process improvements, including an online planning applications system and pre-application meetings to speed up approvals
- Implementing a new “Minor Development Zoning By-law Application” which will save at least three months of development application time and will lower application fees
Developed an affordable housing strategy
In 2017, we created our Housing Strategy designed to focus on middle incomer earners. Since then, we have:
- Established a Housing First Strategy to offer surplus lands to affordable housing providers first
- Negotiated with developers to secure affordable units in new developments
- Simplified the process for second units
- Protected rental supply by implementing a Demolition Control By-law, Rental Replacement By-law and Condominium Conversion Control By-law
- Established the Affordable Housing Reserve Fund
- Recommended reduced parking requirements where transit is accessible, and for affordable housing
We are also continuing to investigate and implement new and innovative ways to make housing affordable by:
- Implementing inclusionary zoning to achieve affordable units in new construction
- Planning ways to increase housing options through gentle intensification in our existing neighbourhoods
- Investigating incentives for affordable rental housing
- Examining ways to develop housing cooperatives and community land trusts
- Supporting the vacant home tax being proposed by the Region of Peel
- Implementing affordable housing objectives through Community Benefit Charges (CBC)
The measures taken by the Ontario government
In 2022, the Government of Ontario received the Housing Affordability Task Force’s report and passed Bill 109 to address the housing affordability crisis.
While we appreciate the actions being taken to solve the housing crisis, we’re concerned that the province is not focused on the right things, as it is not:
Taking the right action on housing affordability
Building more housing doesn’t automatically guarantee it will be more affordable. We want to understand what actions the government will take other than adding more housing supply to guarantee it will be affordable.
The new legislation gives developers a break on the amount of parkland they have to contribute when they build around transit stations. This means there will be fewer parks for more people. It could also mean that taxpayers will be responsible for covering the difference. This is unfair.
Limiting public engagement and applying a one-size-fits-all approach won’t help solve the problem. Public engagement is an important part of building great communities that consider differences.
The province also indicated that recommendations from the Housing Affordability Task Force report, released in February 2022, would act as the roadmap for housing policy and legislation for the next four years.
While we support some of the recommendations, we have concerns with those that limit public consultation on future developments and reduce our ability to plan our city in our own way. These are important issues that deserve proper consideration and further consultation.
Supporting local decision-making
While we appreciate the actions being taken to solve the housing crisis, we’re concerned that the province is not focused on the right things. The province’s long-term plan to deliver on the Housing Affordability Task Force report would:
- Limit all public consultation on future developments
- Lower design standards and erase heritage
- Remove neighbourhood character considerations
- Reduce our ability to plan our city in our own way
- Create a financial risk for the development of new infrastructure and parkland in our city and put the burden for growth on existing taxpayers
- Fail to build any affordable housing, but create more supply for investors to buy and hold
- Remove the ability for residents to appeal to the Ontario Land Tribunal
We need a provincial government that understands the important role cities play in planning complete communities. As we move forward, we need a provincial partner that supports engaged citizens and local decision-making.
WHAT WE NEED THE NEXT ONTARIO GOVERNMENT TO DO
To make housing affordable, the province must start focusing in the right places and work with municipalities. For this to happen, we need to ensure that the commitments political parties make during the 2022 provincial election have a tangible and real effect on housing affordability.
We need to ensure the next provincial government considers the following solutions proposed:
- Provide funding for affordable housing developers
- Permit inclusionary zoning or cash-in-lieu everywhere the market can support
- Make revenue tools available to municipalities to raise funds for affordable housing
- Offer direct funding
- Discourage investor-owned residential real estate through capital gains tax and other mechanisms
- Provide support for first-time homebuyers, such as assistance with closing costs
- Provide direct funding by reinstating the Provincial Brownfield Remediation Fund or creating a Complete Communities Fund
- Give municipalities the power to zone for residential rental buildings
- Offer incentives to promote new purpose-built rental housing
Leverage provincially-owned lands
- Require a minimum number of affordable units when selling surplus land to developers
- Offer surplus land to non-profit housing providers for a below market price
- Explore co-development of provincially-owned lands with affordable housing uses
Provide incentive opportunities
- Provide direct incentives for rental housing producers
- HST rebates and other incentive tax-related policies
- Use additional housing-related tax revenue to fund housing incentive programs
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Vote in the provincial election on Thursday, June 2, 2022.
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