Toronto Becomes First City in Ontario to Approve Inclusionary Zoning
More affordable homes will be built across Toronto now that city council has adopted the proposed Inclusionary Zoning policy framework.
On Tuesday, council voted in favour of the long-discussed staff report, making Toronto the first city in Ontario to implement inclusionary zoning (IZ).
After voting 23-2, council approved an Inclusionary Zoning Official Plan amendment, a Zoning Bylaw amendment, and draft Implementation Guidelines, which will make it mandatory for certain new developments located around protected major transit station areas.
The new IZ framework will require that condominiums with 100 or more units set aside five to 10% of their total square footage for affordable rental and ownership units starting in 2022.
However, the policy aims to increase the share of units that must be set aside for affordable housing to 8 to 22% by 2030, depending on the location of the development and the type of below-market-rate unit that is provided.
Affordable units — protected for 99-year terms — would be built in varying amounts depending on the location in the city and whether the units are intended for rental or ownership, with downtown being allocated the highest affordable housing requirements, followed by Midtown and Scarborough Centre.
The City says that the rents and ownership prices would be based on proposed new income-based definitions of affordable housing, targeting households with an annual income between $32,486 and $91,611.
“Toronto’s plan supports its hard-working residents with low-to-moderate household incomes, builds inclusive communities, and helps to ensure that affordable housing remains available well into the future,” said Mayor John Tory.
“Policies like this one are the right move forward to get thousands of homes built and it will ensure that our city remains vibrant and strong as it continues to grow,” added Tory.
Not only will the adoption of the policy represent a shift in how the City approaches new developments, but it will also ensure affordable housing is incorporated in new projects on a consistent basis rather than being negotiated on a site-by-site basis, providing clarity for all parties from the very beginning.
The City says the policy will be closely monitored and reviewed after one year to allow for adjustments that may be required, including changes to the phase-in and/or set aside rate, alterations to the minimum development size threshold, and any other changes needed to ensure market stability and production of affordable housing units.
Additional market analysis will be conducted in areas of the city currently undergoing a planning study, such as Little Jamaica and the Sheppard Subway Corridor, to identify opportunities to expand IZ to other areas, with an updated report expected by mid-2022.
“No two cities have the same Inclusionary Zoning policy. The implementation of this made-for-Toronto program is balanced, forward-looking and equitable,” said Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão (Davenport), Chair of the Planning and Housing Committee.
“It will provide longer and deeper affordability for our residents who find it difficult to manage on a limited income, and help us to reach the City’s target of more than 40,000 affordable rental and ownership homes by 2030,” said Bailão.