by Ephraim Vecina
Despite robust funding and development activity, Ontario’s housing supply is hamstrung by the current regulatory regime governing the approval of new construction projects, according to the Ontario Building Officials Association.
In its recent study, the OBOA argued that streamlining development approval timelines would be crucial in ensuring the sustained supply of affordable housing across Ontario.
For perspective, the OBOA estimated that it takes as much as 10 years to complete the required planning to get new building permits in the province.
“We have the best building codes in the world, which is why Ontarians feel safe in the places they live, work and play,” OBOA president Matt Farrell said. “We need to be cutting the red tape throughout the approvals processes to bring this housing to the market as quickly as possible.”
This is especially important, as a markedly more efficient, simpler process would help bolster federal and provincial government commitments.
“Premier Ford announced $1-billion in funding for affordable housing last month, and the prime minister committed another $1.3-billion before that, but cumbersome processes are going to delay making that housing available to the people who so desperately need it,” Farrell explained.
Richard Lyall of the Residential Construction Council of Ontario warned that the Toronto City Council’s decision to cancel a long-running noise bylaw exemption last week might hit consumers the worst.
“The cost [of red tape] gets passed onto the consumer,” the Council president and CEO stated. “As soon as you delay one project, you delay the start of other projects—and remember there’s only so much equipment we can access. That creates another element of risk for new projects. A lot of new projects in the pipeline are all contingent on certain estimated timelines and then you throw a big risk element in there.”