Canada’s Housing Minister is urging the City of Mississauga to increase density near transit and provide more housing options to its residents.
In a letter to Mayor Bonnie Crombie, published on X, Housing Minister Sean Fraser said that while he was pleased with Mississauga’s application to the Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF), there was more that could be done to boost the supply of housing in the city.
Launched earlier this year, the HAF is a $4B federal program intended to fast-track the creation of at least 100,000 new homes across Canada.
To qualify for funding, local governments must submit an application outlining their supply growth targets, as well as specific initiatives to boost supply and speed up approvals.
Per Fraser’s letter, Mississauga’s application included ideas to unlock growth through strategic investments in transit and mixed-use development, and plans to optimize government land for affordable housing. Per the Government of Ontario, Mississauga has a 10-year housing target of 120,000 homes.
"Before making a decision on Mississauga’s application, I need to ensure that the City is doing everything in its power to address Canada’s housing crisis," Fraser wrote. "I have four requests that would improve Mississauga’s application and better reflect my ambition for the Housing Accelerator Fund."
The asks include permitting four units as of right across Mississauga — a move adopted by Toronto in May — and permitting four storeys as of right within 800 m of the LRT and BRT transit lines, which will stretch 18 km from Port Credit to Brampton, and 48 km from Toronto to Hamilton, respectively, upon completion.
As well, communities located within walking distance of all GO Transit stations, particularly those along the Lakeshore West Line, should be better utilized for housing and mixed-use developments.
Fraser is also requesting that Mississauga increase the number of rental housing developments for students that are located within walking distance of post-secondary institutions.
If Crombie were to revise Mississauga’s application, it would increase the supply of housing within walking distance to transit, facilitate more "genuine housing options," and put Fraser "in a position to approve" the City’s HAF application.
In a statement to STOREYS, Crombie alluded to meeting Fraser’s requests, noting that permitting fourplexes and four-storeys in some areas would allow Mississauga to "meet the diverse housing needs" of its residents, while also helping the city unlock $120M in funding through the HAF.
During Wednesday's General Committee meeting, City Councillor Alvin Tedjo brought forth a motion to permit fourplexes as of right across Mississauga, a move for which the mayor voiced her support.
Increasing density in strategic locations and ending exclusionary zoning are pivotal to Mississauga’s future as a growing city, Crombie said, and City Staff are working to implement a number of regulations, including triplexes, garden suites, and garage conversions, which were outlined in a housing action plan approved by City Council in March.
With growth on the horizon, Crombie has also asked City staff to explore making permitting on-street parking a priority, as the measure "goes hand in hand with building a liveable, walkable city that moves."
"As we navigate the housing crisis, we must not only build more housing but also make efficient use of our land. We are working to retrofit suburbia which I assure you is no easy task," Crombie told STOREYS. "While we are proud of our past, in order to embrace our future as [a] growing, urban city, we need to build the housing we need so that everyone who wants to call Mississauga home, can call Mississauga home."