What Does Ontario’s Proposed Bill 66 Mean For Its Residents?

In early December of last year, the Ford Government introduced a proposed law titled the Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act. The bill is a comprehensive piece of legislation that alters several existing laws and introduces new ones – referred to as an omnibus bill.

Bill 66 is receiving increased attention lately given some of its controversial provisions.

Open For Business Zoning

The Bill introduces a new type of zoning, called OFB ZBL (Open for Business Zoning By-laws). This new zoning type is designed to not have to conform to legal standards set out in a number of major provincial environmental and planning laws, such as the Greenbelt Act, the Great Lakes Protection Act, and the Lake Simcoe Protection Act. The provincial government argues that this provision will provide municipalities with the capacity to quickly approve major industrial and commercial projects to create jobs and tax revenue. 

Critics Fear Environmental Impact And Out Of Control Development If Bill 66 Is Passed

Critics, on the other hand, say that the proposed by-law provisions would create the potential for massive environmental degradation and the transformation of protected green spaces into industrial and commercial areas. Water, soil, and air contamination could increase, and municipalities could embark upon aggressively competitive squabbles with each other to attract revenue generating projects.
Some City bureaucrats around the province claim that Bill 66 will upend traditional provincial planning arrangements and lead to out of control development. Tembo is keeping a close eye on the provincial government’s stated move to spur development and construction. Bill 66 has the capacity to alter land values by introducing industrial projects to areas that are designation for safer development. This could have drastic consequences. 

On Toronto City Council

Yesterday, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that Bill 5, the Legislation passed by Premier Doug Ford’s government to reduce the size of City Council from a planned 47 seats to 25 is the law of the land.

City hall toronto

Bill 5 was originally struck down by Judge Edward Belobaba who argued it violated voters’ Charter Rights. The Court of Appeal harshly criticized the Judge, effectively arguing he went out of bounds by striking down a perfectly legal and constitutional bill.

So What Impact Does Bill 5 Have On The Toronto Council?

Toronto’s upcoming municipal election will see a completely new Council. For the first time in decades, many incumbent Councillors will be facing off against other incumbents in the now larger wards. This will create genuinely competitive democratic races, as many incumbents in the old smaller wards were able to comfortably stay in office for decades using the advantages of incumbency. These 25 total wards now match the provincial and federal ridings for the first time. A Torontonian will now have 1 MP, 1 MPP, and 1 City Councillor all representing the same territory for the first time.
 Doug Ford
The new Council, with fewer Councillors, will be able to make decisions faster. Decision making will be streamlined by having fewer delegates competing for access to the bureaucracy. Toronto City Council is famous for its dysfunction, entitled politicians, and lack of real change. Journalists, academics, public policy experts, and residents have noted this for decades. A smaller Council will eliminate much of the squabbling and endless flip-flopping on major policy files, especially transit and housing, which is the now status-quo.  

What A New Conservative Government of Ontario Means For Real Estate

Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative Party won a decisive majority government last week

doug ford

Doug Ford Hands Liberal Party It’s Worst Loss In Years

Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative Party won a decisive majority government last week, winning 76 out of 124 seats in the Legislature and ending 15 years of Liberal rule. Kathleen Wynne’s governing party lost 48 seats and official party status in the Legislature. It was the worst loss for a governing party in Ontario history and the first time the Liberals ever lost official party status. The last time the Government of Ontario changed was in 2003, Doug Ford’s win is the fifth time this has happened since the end of WW2. With the election over, the challenge of governing will now fall to Premier Ford and those close to him. This blog will analyze the effects of a PC majority government on real estate.

Market, Not Public Forces, Will Prevail

The PCs did not release a fully costed platform with significant detail but consistently voiced a preference to letting the free market sort out housing shortages and real estate matters. Unlike the Liberals and the NDP, the PCs did not show much interest in investing considerable public money into building affordable housing units.

The PC platform states that a PC government will maintain the rent control provisions the Liberal government has introduced. The PCs also mention stimulating the market to increase the supply of affordable housing across the GTA. The Greenbelt is also to be preserved in its entirety.

The PCs are likely to reduce regulation and red tape, simplify permitting for housing construction for developers, and promote both urban densification and suburban sprawl. Taxes on business and developers and trades will fall. Developers and construction companies have generally amicable relations with the PCs and Liberal parties. Former Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak is now the President and CEO of the OREA, the Ontario Real Estate Association.

Throughout the campaign, Doug Ford voiced his desire to scrap the foreign buyer tax and not to introduce a broad Speculation Tax the NDP outlined in their agenda. The new Premier and Government will face many challenges, but the demand for housing and high prices will likely see them introduce a comprehensive agenda to spur market forces.