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Three former mayors of Toronto on why the More Homes Built Faster Act disempowers municipalities

"As former mayors of Toronto, we support the idea of rules and regulations which create more affordable housing in Toronto and in other cities, and doing so in a timely manner. But Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act, proposes to make changes which are a significant attack on municipal powers and finances, and it needs a serious rethink.

First, it is improper to hold hearings on this legislation now, when councils are no longer in session. Since old councils are disempowered and the new councils just elected have not yet been sworn in, no municipality in Ontario is able to take a position on this important legislation — even though if given a chance, most municipal councils would strongly object to it. Not much new housing will be created if municipalities realize the province is disempowering them.

The provincial government must pause until at least January or February and allow municipalities to respond to this legislation.

Residents and community groups will be prevented from appealing municipal planning decisions to the Ontario Land Tribunal (the old OMB), and only developers will be able to appeal, as well as some government agencies. Municipalities will not be required to hold public meetings on plans of subdivisions, making it almost impossible for citizens to have any say on something as important as new plans of subdivision. The tribunal is encouraged to award costs against those who are unsuccessful. Ministerial Zoning Orders — which already proceed without public input — will be made for land around transit stops without consulting the municipality, as though the minister is the best person to make local decisions.

Resident input into planning decisions is critical to good municipal decisions. Reducing and eliminating the role of residents in these decisions is a serious step backward."

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