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Scrap Bill 23

Sid Lacombe

November 6, 2022
Doug Ford’s new ‘More Homes, Built Faster’ act, known as Bill 23 is a gift to billionaire developers and will make the housing crisis worse while gutting even the most basic legislative powers of municipalities to protect affordable housing. The bill also reduces environmental oversights, and forces municipalities to cover the cost of infrastructure to service new developments.
It is a massive reshaping of the way land is used in Ontario and changes regulations in 9 different provincial acts in one fell swoop. 
Dawn Parker, a professor in the School of Planning at the University of Waterloo described the bill as "a wholesale dismantling of 50 years of planning history in the province.”
Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark says that the bill is designed to build 1.5 million housing units in the next 10 years.
But the issue in most cities isn’t the supply of housing - it’s the supply of affordable housing. In the city of Toronto there are roughly 5 empty housing units for every person experiencing homelessness. Those units are held as investments or for short term rentals such as airbnb’s. 
The provisions in the bill mean that this new housing is not going to be affordable. Indeed, as an incentive to developers the bill will reduce the number of affordable units required in any new buildings. The outcome will be less affrodable housing and more luxury condos. 
Most municipalities have rules about how many new units in a building are to be designated as affordable. In larger cities that number can run from 10 to 20%. Ford wants to cap that at a province wide 5%. He also wants to impose time limits on how long those units are to remain affordable to 25 years which means older units that have been designated as affordable can be recategorized and rents jacked up. 
The bill also changes rules about demolition or renovation of older buildings. According to ACORN, “It will make tenants more vulnerable to renovictions/demovictions, increase the homelessness crisis and destroy existing affordable housing. The bill strips the tenants’ right to return in case of demolition. This is extremely disturbing since it will destroy existing affordable housing and accelerate evictions and the homelessness crisis since the new units will be out of rent control.”
Environmental destruction
Further, the bill reduces the ability of conservation authorities (CA) to protect local ecosystems by changing oversight rules and forcing CAs to provide more land for development. 
Much of this land will be within the ‘greenbelt’ a sensitive ring of protected land surrounding the city.
Phil Pothen from the group Environmental Defence stated "It's going to potentially unleash one of the biggest reductions in biodiversity and losses of habitat that we've seen in decades,"
The bill also limits the amount that developers have to pay to municipalities to provide infrastructure and services for the new builds thus starving the already cash strapped cities. 
All told the bill will result in unaffordable, under serviced and unliveable housing while the developers walk away with billions. 
Parker outlined the impact of the legislation, "Humans know how to build very dense developments with small dwelling units with no green space. They're called prisons. Let's not incentivize those kinds of builds.” 
Ford is determined to make working people suffer and to destroy the natural world so his donor developer buddies can make their money. 
In the context of a growing workers revoltagainst Ford’s union busting, bill 23 may get lost in the shuffle. But unity against the Tories can be built if we can bring all these movements for affordable housing, environmental protection and decent jobs into one movement against the Tories. Ford can be beaten! 
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