The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) has presented a compelling four-point plan to address Toronto’s housing supply crisis, highlighting the urgent need for action ahead of the mayoral by-election on June 26. Experts, industry professionals, and government officials agree that Ontario’s and Toronto’s housing challenges stem from the scarcity of new housing and the lengthy process of building new homes. The provincial government’s ambitious goal to construct 1.5 million homes over the next decade to improve affordability is vital to achieving market balance. In particular, Toronto must build an astounding 285,000 new homes, marking a significant 160% annual increase in housing starts compared to the previous decade.

BILD’s recommendations provide a comprehensive roadmap to achieving these objectives. Firstly, expediting building approvals and reducing red tape can alleviate supply limitations and lower costs. Current approval times are alarming – in a recent benchmarking study, Toronto ranked last among major Canadian municipalities for the timeliness, taking 32 months on average, four and a half times longer than the Planning Act’s maximum allowed duration.

Secondly, efficient land use through zoning, allowing greater residential density within neighbourhoods and along major streets, is crucial. This intelligent approach to urban planning will ensure that supply and affordability requirements are met within Toronto’s fixed municipal borders.

Thirdly, BILD calls for accelerated infrastructure development and expansion of community and social services. A collaborative funding model involving all three levels of government must establish shared responsibility for essential hard and soft infrastructure costs.

Lastly, capping municipal costs added to new housing will prevent further affordability erosion. It is alarming that almost 25 percent of an average new home’s price in Ontario comprises fees, taxes, and charges imposed by various government levels – more than half of those levied by municipalities alone.

With clear indications of robust housing demand in Canada – exemplified by Statistics Canada’s recent announcement that our population grew by a million people in 2022 and the federal government’s commitment to welcome 500,000 new immigrants annually – mayoral candidates must prioritize housing now more than ever. BILD urges voters to acquaint themselves with Toronto’s housing supply and affordability challenges and support those candidates who place lodging at the top of their agenda.

By adopting BILD’s proactive, forward-looking four-point plan, Toronto can make meaningful strides in tackling the housing crisis caused by a history of inadequate planning and governance. The city must seize this opportunity to invest in its future and ensure the accessibility of affordable, quality housing for current and prospective residents.