Inclusionary Housing - Statement of Principles

CELA supports this statement prepared for the Housing Network of Ontario. We are participating in the campaign to support inclusionary zoning in Toronto, a project led by the Wellesley Institute.

Jun 24 2009

Inclusionary Housing

Backgrounder for the Housing Network of Ontario

Statement of principles

We support the implementation of planning and development processes that foster and promote the following goals:

  1. People of all income levels should have the ability to live in the same neighbourhoods and communities where they work. There should be a range of choices about where people can live.
  2. Affordable rental and affordable home ownership options should be available in all neighbourhoods and communities. This means a range of choices about the tenure of housing.
  3. Builders and developers should have a responsibility to develop affordable housing and help to create vibrant, healthy, environmentally sustainable neighbourhoods in exchange for the right to build and profit in our communities. This means requiring a contribution from developers and builders to the development of affordable housing.
  4. The supply of affordable housing should be increased in all neighbourhoods and communities, wherever possible.

Why do we need Inclusionary Housing Policies?

Inclusionary Housing Policies generally produce ownership-based housing that is affordable to people with moderate incomes. (It is important to note that these policies and programs do not create housing that is accessible to people on low incomes without the provision of government subsidies.)

The private development sector does not produce housing that is accessible to people with low and moderate incomes. This is true in spite of numerous programs and incentives that have been offered by all levels of government at various times. Nevertheless, it is the experience of places with rigorous Inclusionary Housing policies that the private sector can successfully build and market affordable housing, as well as maintain a reasonable return on investment for the development industry.

What do we need from the province?

The Province of Ontario needs to create legislation, policies and regulations that will do the following:

  • Provide municipalities with the expressed legal authority to adopt mandatory inclusionary housing policies that would define the responsibilities of developers and builders to contribute to the creation of affordable housing.
  • Provide municipalities the expressed legal authority to control the affordability of affordable ownership units over time using tools that would allow home owners to benefit from their ownership equity, while retaining affordability on resale or transfer of ownership.
  • Establish through amendments to the provincial policy statement an enforceable and quantified obligation upon municipalities to use all of their available tools, resources and powers to affirmatively support the provision of affordable housing.
  • Provide municipalities the expressed authority to use within appropriate guidelines and regulations a range of additional tools specifically to support the provision of affordable housing (including, for example, tax increment financing, development charges for affordable housing, and housing trust funds.)

It is recognized that all municipalities may not wish to take advantage of mandatory Inclusionary Housing Policies, but those that wish to do so should be given the opportunity.

A successful provincial housing strategy will require the participation of all the stakeholders. The development of Inclusionary Housing policies will insure that private housing developers are engaged along with government, municipalities and non-profit housing organizations in providing the full range of housing options needed to make sure that every person in the province has access to stable and affordable housing.

For more information:

Inclusionary housing bill passes second reading

Background paper on inclusionary zoning prepared for the Housing Network of Ontario

Theresa McClenaghan, CELA Executive Director, 416-960-2284 ext. 219
Ramani Nadarajah, CELA Counsel, 416-960-2284 ext. 217
Brian Eng, Community Action Specialist, Wellesley Institute 416-972-1010 ext. 230