Ottawa announced $471 million in housing development funding for Toronto

Ottawa announced $471 million in housing development funding for Toronto

Including Thursday’s announcement, Ottawa has so far reached agreements with 16 municipalities across the country. (Photo: 123RF)

Toronto will receive nearly half a billion dollars in federal housing funding under a deal announced Thursday that would allow the Canadian metropolis to accelerate the construction of nearly 12,000 more units over the next three years.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during a visit to Toronto that Ottawa will provide the city with $471 million through a housing acceleration fund.

“With this funding, Toronto will make it easier to start projects by simplifying zoning requirements and modernizing regulations,” he said. Toronto is also updating old zoning rules, expanding existing affordable rental programs and building more units near public transit.

The work will also help spur the construction of more than 50,000 housing units over the next decade, Justin Trudeau added.

The $4 billion federal fund aims to encourage cities to make changes to municipal bylaws that would stimulate more housing construction in exchange for more money from Ottawa. In particular, the federal government wants municipalities to adjust zoning to increase urban densification and issue building permits more quickly.

Federal Housing Minister Sean Fraser and Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow were on hand Thursday along with Justin Trudeau for the funding announcement.

Olivia Chow called the deal a “hopeful new beginning” in a city where more than 10,000 people sleep in shelters every night. “We will make it easier and faster to get permits. We will enable greater densification and more types of housing. “Today’s announcement is an important step,” the mayor said.

The City of Toronto said it submitted its application for funding in June and submitted a revised version in August that outlines eight initiatives aimed at creating more affordable housing.

These include the development of land owned by the city and the acceleration of the supply of new permanently available rental housing, the expansion of the so-called “missing middle” types of housing and the streamlining of the process of approval of plans to increase the supply of purpose-built rental housing in areas of residential districts.

Including Thursday’s announcement, Ottawa has reached agreements with 16 municipalities across the country. The City of London, Ontario was the first to sign such an agreement under the National Fund in September.

According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Canada will need to build approximately 3.5 million homes by 2030 to restore affordability. So far, Ottawa has entered into agreements to build approximately 380,000 housing units over the next decade. Justin Trudeau admitted on Thursday that it still wasn’t enough.

“Obviously, it requires a lot more, but that’s why our announcements are not only made by units that we directly fund,” he added. Our announcements are embedded in the transformation of the way we build housing here in Canada. We are in the process of changing zoning, densification, the way permits are issued.”

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