Jessica Bell MPP, University–Rosedale

Government of Ontario

Bill 23 leaves committee with some tweaks

Published on November 22, 2022

On Monday, we went to committee to propose changes to Bill 23.

Bill 23 is a pro-sprawl law that harms municipal budgets, farmland, the natural environment, and housing affordability.  Ontario will be feeling the harmful consequences of this sweeping bill for generations.

Let’s be clear. There is no evidence Bill 23 will lower home prices or rent prices, or make it easier for Ontarians to find a home they can afford to rent or own.

In committee, nearly 100 pages of amendments were presented by ourselves, the liberals, and the government.   

Among many others, we proposed amendments to restore conservation authorities and upper tier municipalities’ power to plan, protect farmland and the natural environment, strengthen renter protections, build more affordable housing, and help municipalities pay for public services to help cover the loss in development fees.  They were all rejected by this government. 

This is what came out of committee. 

The government restored the right for citizens to appeal a development at the Lands Tribunal.  In reality the Lands Tribunal will become a tool for the well-off, as the losing party can now be forced to pay the legal bill of the winning side.   

A volunteer citizens group fighting to keep their ground water clean will think twice before appealing the siting of a dump site in their neighborhood.

The government killed municipal green building standards with the original version of Bill 23, and failed to revive them in committee. Now municipalities will be able to regulate landscaping and green roofs, but will be excluded from regulating green building standards that reduce carbon emissions, including energy use intensity design targets, carbon emissions intensity design targets

The government passed motions permitting developers to retroactively secure the development fee cuts in Bill 23 back to January 1, 2022. These motions will make it even harder for municipalities to address their budget shortfalls and pay for public services and infrastructure, from roads to transit.  The budgetary crisis Bill 23 has created for municipalities just went from bad to terrible.

The Ontario NDP’s Homes You Can Afford platform is a roadmap to address the housing crisis. It includes:

  • Spurring the construction of 1.5 million homes over 10 years, in a mix of starter homes, purpose-built rentals and affordable homes.
  • Ending exclusionary zoning and updating growth policies to increase the supply of affordable housing in neighbourhoods Ontarians want to live in.
  • Establishing a new agency called Housing Ontario that will finance and build at least 250,000 affordable and non-market rental homes over the next 10 years, operated by public, non-profit and co-op housing providers.

The bill goes back for third reading tomorrow morning.  We will be voting against the bill.  I urge you to contact Premier Ford and urge him to do the same.