Yesterday evening, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) hosted a special Chair’s Dinner, “celebrating courageous leadership of members and municipal leaders.” Ana Bailão -- Toronto’s Deputy Mayor, City Councillor for Ward 9, and Chair of the Affordable Housing Committee -- was one of those honourees.
This follows news in May that after 12 years and three terms in office, Bailão will be exiting the political arena indefinitely.
“It’s been the honour of a lifetime to serve as City Councillor and Deputy Mayor,” Bailão wrote in an open letter. “Over these past 12 years, I believe we have pioneered new and innovative ways for the City to meet Toronto’s housing challenges. Working with wonderful public, non-profit and private sector partners, dedicated City staff, and community leaders and organizations, we have pushed affordable housing to the forefront of our City's Agenda.”
In honour of Bailão’s past 12 years of service, we’ve rounded up some of her most impactful projects and initiatives that will shape housing in Toronto for years to come.
Development Charge Exemptions For Multiplexes
In response to a decision by City Council that saw development charges spike by nearly 50%, Bailão brought forward an amendment that would provide exemptions for multiplexes with four or fewer units. Under the amendment, development charges would be waived on second, third, and fourth units on a single property. In July 2022, the amendment was adopted by City Council and applauded by both builders and housing advocates.
“We have to be smart on how we use these tools to make sure the growth is happening where we want it to be and that the kind of units we need in the city are the ones that are getting built,” Bailão said during the meeting in which the amendment was passed.
Garden Suites Bylaw
In February 2022, Bailão was in strong support of the Garden Suites Bylaw that was adopted by City Council. The bylaw was abruptly appealed by a group of Toronto residents’ associations, but in June, that appeal was dismissed and it was a green light (once again) for garden suites.
“Garden suites and other initiatives to expand housing options in low-rise neighbourhoods are key to creating a diverse mix of housing choice that is affordable and accommodates people at all stages of life, household size and income level. The garden suites initiative will create gentle density increases where residents have access to parks, schools and main street businesses and restaurants,” Bailão said in a news release. “I am proud to support work that results in inclusive neighbourhoods and provides for greater housing options for our residents.”
Mass Timber Pilot Program
In April 2022, Mayor John Tory -- alongside Bailão and former Ward 10 Spadina-Fort York Councillor Joe Cressy -- announced a pilot program that will see a City-owned parking lot at 1113-1117 Dundas Street West developed into new affordable rental housing. This development will utilize mass timber and other low-carbon materials, and upon completion, the housing will see no on-site fossil fuel use and maximize on-site renewable electricity.
HousingTO 2020-2030 Housing Action Plan
In December 2019, Bailão backed the approval of the City’s HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan, created to address a variety of housing-related challenges facing Torontonians. The plan pledged to approve 40,000 new affordable rental homes in the city, prevent 10,000 evictions for low-income households, improve housing affordability for 40,000 households, and help more than 10,000 seniors remain in their homes or access long-term care facilities.
"It affirms housing as a right where everyone deserves to have a safe, affordable and secure home and recognizes homelessness as a critical and emergency issue that all governments must address," Bailão said in response to the approval of the plan.
In December 2018, Bailão was involved in the launching of Housing Now -- “an initiative to activate City-owned sites for the development of affordable housing within mixed-income, mixed-use, transit-oriented communities.”
Through Phase One of Housing Now, 11 sites were slated for the development of more than 10,000 new homes, including approximately 3,700 affordable rental homes. In the second and third phases, ten more sites were identified for development. Additionally, six pipeline sites were secured for future phases of Housing Now.
National Housing Co-Investment Fund
In May 2018, Bailão supported the $13.2B National Housing Co-Investment Fund launched by the Federal Government through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. The fund provides low-interest loans to partnered organizations to assist them in maintaining existing social housing and creating new affordable supply.
"This federal funding is allowing TCHC to accelerate the City's greening program, continue expanding accessibility and improving living conditions for tenants, and protect Toronto's $10B social housing portfolio for present and future generations,” said Bailão in response to the launch.
Flexible Inclusionary Zoning Regulations
In April 2018, Toronto became the first Ontario city to approve inclusionary zoning. The framework requires condominiums with 100 or more units to dedicate between 5% and 10% of total square footage to affordable rental and ownership units starting in 2022.
“I welcome Minister Milczyn's efforts to establish a flexible framework,” Bailão wrote in response to the approval. “The City looks forward to continuing to work with the provincial government, our partners in the non-profit housing and development sectors in implementing the inclusionary zoning regulation and creating much-needed new affordable housing for Torontonians.”