Former OBE Trustee (1982-88), Ottawa City Councillor (1991-94), RMOC Councillor (1991-97), MPP Ottawa West (1997-99), Ottawa City Councillor (2000-2010). Economist, former Policy Analyst NHW (1982-91), former Executive Director Council on Aging (1999-2000), former Parliamentary Assistant to MP Mike Sullivan (2011-2015). Triathlete (including 4 iron distance triathlons), 3-time winner Rudy Award. Current President Belltown Neighbours Association.
Unintended Consequences of Bill 23: More Homes Built Faster Act
November 2, 2022
The Ford Government has introduced Bill 23 (More Homes Built Faster Act) which, among other things, seeks to reduce development charges in order to make new homes cheaper. However, development charges pay for new infrastructure to service these homes, and the obvious alternative to fund this is property taxpayers. But will municipal councils raise taxes to fund servicing new development?
(Letters to the Editor)
While it is obvious the the Ford Government wants to change the municipal planning process to enable more homes to be built (Bill 23: More Homes Built Faster Act), the notion that reducing or eliminating development charges to enable new home construction may be not as effective as the Ford Government thinks.
Development charges are levied on new residential homes in order to pay for the infrastructure (roads, water, sewers, etc.) to service these new homes, based in the long-held principle that growth should pay for growth. Reducing or eliminating these charges would certainly lower housing costs, but it shifts the burden for paying for the new infrastructure onto property taxpayers.
In case nobody noticed, in the recent City of Ottawa municipal election the leading candidates for Mayor promised to cap City budgets at 3% (or less) property tax increases. Does anyone really think that the new City Council will be willing to raise taxes by 5 or 6% in order to accommodate the infrastructure that new development will require? Don't think so.
In fact, this initiative by the Ford Government will likely slow the provision of new housing, as little will be built if the infrastructure is not there to support it. The Ford Government may wish to re-think its proposal regarding development charges.