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Six Ontario municipalities’ housing finances put under the microscope



The Ford Government is putting 6 municipalities' financial records under a microscope to understand the impacts of changes to development-related fees and charges included in the More Homes Built Faster Act that was passed in the fall of 2022.


Ontario is conducting audits of six municipalities as part of its ongoing efforts to build 1.5 million homes by 2031, aiming to create safe, inclusive, and accessible communities.


The municipalities undergoing audits include the City of Toronto, Peel Region, Mississauga, Caledon, Brampton, and Newmarket, with the first phase expected to conclude by the end of 2023.


Marianne Meed Ward, Chair of OBCM and Mayor of Burlington said that the OBCM welcomes the audits and is certain that it will reflect how prudent municipalities are with tax dollars, “We look forward to the audit results that can be used by the province, as promised, to keep municipalities whole from the financial impacts of Bill 23.”


In a press release, OBCM states that they believe that the outcome of these audits will show the significant financial impact The More Homes Built Faster Act will have on these much-needed services and the current municipal model of “growth pays for growth.”


The Province says that they are seeking these audits to provide a transparent understanding of the impacts of changes to development-related fees and charges introduced through the More Homes Built Faster Act.


Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, emphasized the audit's importance in curbing housing costs, particularly for affordable, non-profit, and family-friendly purpose-built rental housing. He stated, "We want to ensure development-related charges and fees are used to support increased housing supply and critical housing-related infrastructure without unduly burdening hardworking Ontarians searching for homes."


More Homes Built Faster Act cut or eliminated some fees municipalities charge on development.


The reductions apply to affordable units and non-profit housing, as well as purpose-built rentals. The charges are normally levied to help pay for infrastructure — like roads, sewers, and transit — to service the new development.


According to a report released by the province, municipal fees added $116,900 to the cost of an average single-family home in the Greater Toronto Area in 2022, and around $100,000 to the cost of an average condo in the City of Toronto.


OBCM states, "We look forward to the province’s commitment that, “lessons learned from these audits will inform future provincial policies and programs supporting long-term municipal financial sustainability and housing-related infrastructure investments.”


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