Government Proposing Development Charge Exemption for Secondary Units

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the Ministry of Housing are proposing an exemption from development charges for secondary suites in new homes. The proposed regulatory change is designed to help increase the supply and range of affordable housing in Ontario.

Find more information about this proposal here. Interested parties have until June 9th to submit comments or concerns.

New Excess Soil Regulation Proposal

The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change is conducting consultations on a proposed new regulation for reusing excess soil. The proposal is designed to enhance opportunities for the beneficial reuse of excess soil, while protecting human health and the environment from inappropriately moved soil. Feedback collected by the ministry will help to inform a new proposed regulation under the Environmental Protection Act. 

Find out more about this proposal here.

Government Consulting on Rural Education Strategy

The Ministry of Education is holding consultations as part of its development of a rural education strategy. The consultation is being guided by a discussion paper, which outlines a series of key questions, including:

  1. What are the opportunities for school boards to share space in your area? How can the provincial government and school boards support that?
  2. How can we ensure that the impact of schools on local communities is given full consideration?
  3. How can we best recognize the unique funding needs of rural and remote areas?

According to the Ministry about 15% of students in Ontario are enrolled in a rural public school. The government is accepting written feedback, holding in-person consultations, and planning to launch a survey.

For more:

Discussion Paper: Supporting Students and Communities

Consultation: Ontario’s Rural Education Strategy 

 

BPS Energy Reporting Portal Now Open

The BPS reporting portal is now open for municipalities to report on their energy consumption for the 2017 reporting period. Public sector organizations, including municipalities, are required to report on their energy consumption as a result of O. Reg. 397/11. Information on how to complete the annual energy and GHG report, along with the dates and times for Ministry-hosted webinars, can be found in the toolkit area by logging into the Ministry of Energy’s Portal. Contact BPSsupport@ontario.ca if your require further information.

 

 

2017 Ontario Budget Update

Today Ontario’s Minister of Finance Charles Sousa tabled the province’s 2017 budget. The first balanced budget following deficits that reached $19 billion at the height of the global recession in 2009, the government’s 2017 plan pledges new investments in sectors, such as healthcare and education, that have not seen significant spending since the economic downturn.

For the municipal sector, many of the new initiatives proposed in the budget, such as the Fair Housing Plan, have already been announced. However, the budget does grant municipalities new authority to levy a hotel tax. AMCTO’s pre-budget submission recommended that the government provide municipalities access to new revenue tools, and while this falls far short of the overall fiscal needs of Ontario’s local governments, we are encouraged by the government’s willingness to begin expanding the range of revenue tools available to municipalities.

While AMCTO will continue to review the budget in greater depth over the coming days and weeks, below is a brief summary of some of the highlights of the budget for the municipal sector:

New Municipal Power to Impose a Hotel Tax:

  • The budget proposes amending the Municipal Act and the City of Toronto Act to allow single and lower-tier municipalities to levy a hotel tax. However, there are a few conditions on this new authority, including:
    • If a municipality has an existing Destination Marketing Fee (DMF), it will be required to share hotel tax revenue with the relevant tourism organization.
    • Municipalities that do not have a DMF will be required to share 50% of revenue with their respective regional tourism organization.

Fair Housing Plan:

  • The budget confirms many of the details previously announced in the government’s Fair Housing Plan, including:
    • Expanding rent control to all private rental units, including those built after 1991.
    • A new $125 million development charges rebate program for multi-residential purpose-built rental housing. Municipalities who opt to participate in this program will be able to tailor it to suit their needs.
    • A requirement for municipalities to tax new multi-residential apartments at a similar rate as other residential properties.
    • Allowing the City of Toronto to tax vacant homes. The budget also notes that the government will “work with other interested municipalities that are experiencing issues” to deal with the problem of vacant real estate and speculation.
    • Working with municipalities to ensure that they have the tools they need to help encourage the supply of new housing.
    • Creating a special “Residential Land Development Facilitation Team” to work with municipalities and other stakeholders on improving the development approvals process.
    • Introducing a 15 percent Non-Residential Speculation Tax (NRST) on foreign home buyers.

Other Investments in Housing:

  • More than $45 million over three years to provide up to 1,150 additional supportive housing units for those with serious mental illness, addictions, and those who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless.
  • A new program to sell surplus provincial land at below market value as a way of building more affordable housing across the province:
    • The province will commit $70 – $100 million towards pilot projects of this program, creating 2,000 new housing units in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).

Additional Infrastructure Spending:

  • An additional $30 billion (in addition to the previously announced $160 billion) will be added to the government’s long-term infrastructure plan. The new investments will primarily be dedicated to hospital projects, school renewal initiatives and child care expansion.

Child Care:

  • As announced yesterday, new funding will support child care for 24,000 more children up to the age of four.

MPAC Governance:

  • The government proposes to broaden the eligibility for members of the MPAC board of directors, by including former municipal officials, and changing the size of the MPAC board from 15 to 13 members.

PLT Reform:

  • Building on changes announced in the 2015 budget and 2016 fiscal outlook, the province will introduce legislative amendments to further support increased equity in provincial land taxation in the north.

Seniors Public Tax Credit:  

  • A new Ontario Seniors’ Public Transit Tax Credit for Ontarians aged 65 or older. The tax credit would provide seniors with a refund of 15% of eligible public transit costs.

Long-term Care:

  • An additional $58 million of spending in 2017 (a 2% increase) for long-term care homes.

Sharing Economy:

  • A promise to release the government’s Sharing Economy Strategy at some point in 2017—though the budget contains no new details about the plan.

Fair Hydro Plan:

  • Confirmation of the government’s Fair Hydro Plan, which will begin to reduce hydro prices for ratepayers by 25 percent this summer.

Investments in Healthcare:

  • Increasing healthcare benefits by 11.5 billion over the next three years, committing to a number of new hospital projects and providing free prescription drug coverage for everyone under 24.

For more:

AMCTO 2017 Pre-budget Submission

AMCTO 2016 Budget Update

Government Announces New Funding for Child Care

Today the government announced new funding to provide access to childcare for 24,000 more children. The announcement, which will be included in tomorrow’s budget, includes $200 million in additional funding in 2017-2018. The government has also announced that it is going to work with families and experts over the next year to develop a child care affordability strategy.

For more:

News Release: Helping Ontario Families Access Affordable Child Care 

Call for Papers–Canadian Journal of Local Government

The Editorial Board of the Canadian Journal of Local Government is pleased to offer an initial call for papers. The Canadian Journal of Local Government is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal examining local government policy and management. The Journal aims to connect academics, practitioners, policymakers and others with timely, peer-reviewed research on a wide range of issues related to municipal government in Canada.

The Canadian Journal of Local Government welcomes submissions from academics, researchers and practitioners. Articles may cover a range of topics, such as municipal management and leadership, local government policy, intergovernmental relations, planning, environmental sustainability, local public finance, affordable housing, infrastructure, public transit, elections and election administration, public safety and emergency preparedness.
Manuscripts should be between 4,000 and 7,000 words and will be subject to rigorous peer-review. While the focus of the journal is local government in Canada, submissions that examine local government outside Canada or in a comparative context will also be considered.

 
AMCTO is pleased to support the Canadian Journal of Local Government as an independent platform for peer-reviewed research on local government management and policy to ensure a vibrant sector that is open to new ideas and growth

Manuscripts should be submitted to: info@cjlg.ca.

Advocacy Update: AMCTO discusses Municipal Reporting with the Secretary of the Cabinet

On April 19th, AMCTO staff were invited to meet the Secretary of the Cabinet, Steve Orsini to discuss our research into municipal reporting to the Province.  Laurie LeBlanc, the Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs attended and participated in discussions on the Bearing the Burden report.

In the meeting, AMCTO was praised for its research and for adding clarity around the reporting burden faced by Ontario’s municipalities. While various aspects of the report were discussed, it was agreed  in the end that a more narrowly tailored approach to this macro problem would represent the most effective way forward.

Secretary Orsini suggested that the government (via Ministry of Municipal Affairs) work on tangible next steps with AMCTO (and other experts) on a means to address the reporting burden. As more details become available, AMCTO staff will provide a further update.

In addition, on April 21st, AMCTO staff member Rick Johal presented findings from the research report at a special meeting of the Regional & Single Tier CAOs who were also joined by the LUMCO CAOs group. The report and research was again, very positively received, and in fact, advanced some past efforts of this group.

For more:

AMCTO Releases Report on Municipal Reporting Burden

Secretary of the Cabinet – Steve Orsini

Premier Launches Basic Income Pilot Project

Earlier today, Premier Wynne announced the launch of the Basic Income Pilot Project in three Ontario communities;  Hamilton, Lindsay and Thunder Bay.

The Premier said:

“The project will explore the effectiveness of providing a basic income to people who are currently living on low incomes, whether they are working or not. People participating in our pilot communities will receive a minimum amount of income each year— a basic income, no matter what.”

The project will run for a period of three years and will target people making earning less than $17,000 per year.  While the program will limit the number of applicants, it is expected that nearly 4,000 households will participate.  This is expected to cost the Province $50 million for each year of the program.

For more:

Province Releases Basic Income Paper

Government News Release 

Basics on Basic Income Video

Fair Housing Plan Announced

Last week, the Province announced the Fair Housing Plan for Ontario.  A series of measures were put forward to assist in making housing more affordable for both homeowners and renters alike. Within this plan, there are a variety of implications for local governments.  AMO  has provided a short update on the potential implications for Ontario’s municipalities.

There remains much uncertainty as to how these initiatives will be moved forward and as more information becomes available, AMCTO will update this post.

For more:

Government Background – Fair Housing Plan

Government News Release