Ontario’s Plan to Build

Ontario Releases 2022 Budget “Ontario’s Plan to Build”

The Hon. Peter Bethlenfalvy, Ontario’s Minister of Finance, announced Ontario’s 2022 Budget titled Ontario’s Plan to Build.

Budget 2022 contains five key pillars:

  1. Rebuilding Ontario’s Economy
  2. Working for Workers
  3. Building Highways and Key Infrastructure
  4. Keeping Costs Down
  5. A Plan to Stay Open

As many of our leaders are aware, the Ontario Government released new housing legislation last month (the More Homes for Everyone Act) which included pro-housing policies that would put Ontario on the right path to affordable home ownership.

Some of the highlights of the bill include:

  • Addressing the Housing Affordability Task Force’s recommendation to build 1.5 million new homes over the next 10 years in Ontario (there were 99,600 homes built in 2021).
  • Increasing the non-resident speculation tax (NRST) rate to 20 per cent, expanding the tax beyond the Greater Golden Horseshoe to apply provincewide and closing loopholes to fight tax avoidance, effective March 30, 2022.
  • Enhance measures that will crack down on land speculation and protect home buyers. Use financial incentives to encourage municipalities to speed up zoning by-law amendments; (OREA recommendation)
  • Increase the certainty of development charges to bring down prices on new homes; and,
  • Strengthening consumer protections for purchasers of new homes by doubling fines and extending building license suspensions to address unethical conduct by developer (OREA recommendation)

The government used today’s budget to reiterate the action being taken through More Homes for Everyone to make sure that all Ontarian’s are able to find a home that meets their needs and budget. OREA has summarized other highlights from Budget 2022 below.

Enhancing the Brownfields Financial Tax Incentive Program

OREA has long advocated for the province to use creative solutions and incentives to encourage efficient development.

Budget 2022 notes that the government will be extending the Brownfields Financial Tax Incentive Program to encourage the redevelopment of these sites and support new housing starts by providing reductions on municipal and education property taxes on brownfield sites that require rehabilitation.

Creating Ontario Public Service Regional Hubs

Acting on one of OREA’s recommendations as part of our Small Towns, Big Opportunities research paper, Ontario is planning to distribute jobs and work across the province by creating coworking spaces for members of the Ontario Public Service (OPS) in communities outside of the downtown core. Not only will this help reduce traffic congestion and contribute to environmental conservation but will also encourage spin-off jobs and allied industries to establish a presence in these areas.

Investing in the Landlord and Tenant Board

Budget 2022 pledges to invest $19.2M to reduce backlogs at the Landlords and Tenant Board and the Ontario Land Tribunal in order to increase the number of full-time adjudicators, increase resources for mediation and solve disputes more quickly.

Building the Corridor to Prosperity: Ring of Fire

Acting on another OREA recommendation coming out of our Infrastructure Report, the government is recommitting $1 billion to support the creation of all-season roads to Ontario’s Ring of Fire to ensure access to potential mining sites and connect both Marten Falls First Nation and Webequie First Nation to Ontario’s highway network. The creation of these roads will help improve access to education, health care, goods and services and housing for Ontario’s North, including First Nations communities.

Building Transportation Electrification Infrastructure

The province notes that electric vehicles (EV) are an important part of future transportation plans, and have pledged $91 million to help make EV chargers more accessible to the public across the province. As part of OREA’s green housing report, we explore the trend towards mandatory or encouraged EV charging port installations in new builds to encourage the future uptake of EVs. OREA is pleased to see the announcement of investing in EV charging infrastructure for public spaces, but will continue to encourage the government to consider making EV port stations mandatory in new builds and remove tax on charging infrastructure sales to make EVs more accessible to consumers.

Supporting the Use of Municipal Vacant Home Taxes

The government wants to facilitate the exploration of a vacant home tax in municipalities across the province. To support this, the government plans on establishing a working group to help maximize the impacts of vacant home taxes on the supply of housing and ensure a consistent approach is taken among municipalities.

OREA Analysis

Many of the deliverables included in today’s budget had previously been announced by the government.

As we head into the Provincial election, OREA has created a platform that outlines our key advocacy priorities for the incoming government. These include:

  • Ending exclusionary single-family zoning;
  • Indexing the Land Transfer Tax Rebate to inflation;
  • Making surplus government land and underused commercial properties available for development;
  • Getting dirty money out of real estate by creating an Ontario-made public beneficial ownership registry; and,
  • Making Ontario a leader in North America when it comes to real estate regulation.

As addressing the increased cost of living is the number one priority for all Ontarian’s heading into the election, OREA will continue to advocate to candidates from all four political parties by promoting our plan to make homeownership more affordable.

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