The housing challenges in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) are often portrayed in the media as a struggle between builders and developers and GTA residents. The builders and developers, the story goes, want to build and make money, while residents want to protect their communities from unwanted change. One group that often gets left out of the story? The people who do not yet live in the GTA, but hope to do so in the decades ahead. These are our region’s future residents, and, as a building industry association, we advocate for them because few others do.
The hundreds of thousands of hard-working families hoping to buy a home in the GTA in the near future are all too easy to overlook because they are not yet voters or tax payers. The voices of some existing residents who resist change can seem more urgent and important. Meanwhile, many of those who would be voices for change are forced to leave the region altogether to find homes they can afford.
Change is difficult, but it is absolutely necessary. Given the rate at which the GTA and the province are growing, we need to build 1.5M new homes in Ontario in a decade. The regulatory and policy decisions we make now will determine whether we succeed.
For many years, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) has been sounding the alarm that we have a housing supply problem in the GTA and across the province, and that this shortfall contributes significantly to the affordability crisis we are experiencing. It takes too long to obtain approvals to build new homes, and there are too many added costs on new housing in the form of fees, taxes, and charges from all levels of government. In the GTA, land supply is severely constrained, or land is zoned in such a way that adding new homes is very difficult. This not only makes it challenging to add supply, but also significantly drives up the cost of land, exacerbating affordability challenges.
Our housing supply and affordability crisis is the product of regulatory and policy decisions made over decades and can only be solved by making choices that enable the timely addition of new supply. We all have a responsibility to do our part to prepare for our region’s future and ensure that we meet the GTA’s growing housing needs, address affordability concerns, and protect the region’s competitiveness.
As 2022 comes to a close, we commend the government of Ontario for its continued focus on housing supply and affordability, and we applaud Mayor Tory for his recently announced changes to ensure Toronto helps meet the provincial goal of 1.5M new homes in a decade. For our part, BILD will continue to advocate for the industry and for the future residents of the GTA.