In late October and early November 2022, the Province of Ontario announced two significant changes in an effort to increase housing:

1. Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022, proposed sweeping changes to various provincial statutes that govern development, including the Planning Act, the Development Charges Act and the Conservation Authorities Act, with the stated goal of removing barriers to get more homes built in Ontario (1.5 million homes by 2031). Bill 23 was announced October 25, 2022 and passed on November 28, 2022.

Financial Impact of Bill 23

Bill 23 proposes numerous changes to the Development Charges Act. Currently developers pay fees that help pay for growth and go towards infrastructure such as roads, transit, water and sewer infrastructure, parks and community/recreational facilities. These are called Development Charges (DC).

Through Bill 23, the Province proposes shifting some of the cost of this growth from developers to municipalities as it believes this may lower the purchase price of homes.

We estimate this loss of DC revenues to be in the tens of millions of dollars. This would result in subsequent slower development of growth related infrastructure, reduction in service levels, an increase in property taxes for taxpayers, or a combination of the three.

Simply put, unless offset with replacement funding, Bill 23 will significantly impact our ability to fund growth and the infrastructure needed to support our growing community, which may also increase property taxes and reduce service delivery

2. The removal or redesignation of 7,400 acres of protected lands from the Greenbelt to facilitate the development of 50,000 homes of the 1.5 million homes to be built via Bill 23. Announced November 4, 2022

Out of the 7,400 acres, 4,950 acres of the lands reside in Pickering and are included within the Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve. The lands are bounded by the Canadian Pacific Railway to the south, the Pickering-Toronto/York Townline on the west, the lands west of the West Duffins Creek valley. View map of affected areas.

In order to meet key consultation period deadlines, City staff submitted comments to the Province with respect to Bill 23 and proposed amendments to the Greenbelt Plan on December 4, 2022.

Subsequently, staff presented a Report to Council at the December 5, 2022 Council Meeting, summarizing its analysis, discussion points, concerns, and comments. View details below. 

December 5, 2023 Council Resolution

At a Special Meeting of Council held on December 5, 2022, Council considered Report PLN 49-22 with respect to Bill 23 and proposed amendments to the Greenbelt Plan, and adopted the following resolution.

  1. That the comments in Report PLN 49-22, regarding Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022, and various other Environmental Registry, Regulatory Registry, and Provincial Plans and Policy reforms, be endorsed, save and except the comments contained in Section 2, ERO Posting 019-6216 (Proposed Amendments to the Greenbelt Plan), ERO Posting 019-6238 (Proposed Revocation of the Minister’s Zoning Order – Ontario Regulation 154/03) and ERO 019-6304 (Repeal of the Duffins-Rouge Agricultural Preserve Act, 2005 (commenting deadline: December 4, 2022; comments submitted on November 28, 2022), and the recommendations pertaining to parkland dedication rates as contained in Section 5.1, under the “Discussion” section of PLN 49-22;
  2. That staff be authorized to submit (and resubmit where required) the comments in Report PLN 49-22 to the Province via the respective consultation portals save and except the comments contained in Section 2 and the recommendations contained in Section 5.1 under the “Discussion” section of PLN 49-22; and,
  3. That a copy of Report PLN 49-22 and Council’s resolution thereon, be forwarded to the Premier Douglas Ford, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, MPP Peter Bethlenfalvy, the Regional Municipality of Durham, and the other Durham area municipalities. View the document.

Watch the discussion pertaining to this item at 5:41:59 on the YouTube Meeting video.

History

In the early 2000’s, the City undertook a Growth Management Study, which identified Cherrywood as suitable for commercial and residential development, because the lands abut the urban boundary and have easy access to available infrastructure such as roads, water, and sewer.

However, the provincial government of the day disagreed with the City’s position and placed Cherrywood into the Greenbelt, and subsequently enacted the Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve Act as an additional legislative layer to prohibit development of these lands.

In year’s past, Council’s position was that Cherrywood should be developed, and that is was inappropriately placed into the Greenbelt. The City of Pickering had formally asked the Government of Ontario to remove Cherrywood from the Greenbelt in both 2016 and 2019.

Recorded Minutes

 Reports