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Building Homes That Families Can Afford 

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With the dream of home ownership slipping away, here is what Ontario can do to bring affordability back home. 

For too many Canadians, the dream of homeownership is slipping away.

 There are too few homes for too many people. Couple that with higher interest rates, excessive red tape delaying construction and driving up costs, and not enough tradespeople to build new housing – and we have an affordability crisis. 


We need to take bold action before it gets worse. In 2022, the Housing Affordability Task Force presented the Ontario government with the road map to build 1.5 million new homes by 2031, with 55 recommended changes to address the housing affordability crisis. 

Since 2022, Ontario has fully or partially implemented 76 per cent of those recommendations, according to the Ontario Real Estate Association’s (OREA) latest report, Analysis of Ontario’s Efforts to Boost Housing Supply.

This is a good start, but there is more to do. A quarter of the recommendations have yet to be started, and the government’s own projections fall short of meeting the goal of 150,000 new homes per year. We need to build houses that families can actually afford. Here’s how.

Action Items to boost affordability now

First, deal with the development charges adding up to $150,000 to the cost of building a house. Often, the largest portion of these upfront charges is to connect houses to water and wastewater services. Allowing water and wastewater services to be provided through a municipal services utility corporation would allow municipalities to finance infrastructure over time, the same way that hydro and natural gas expansion projects are financed. Actual users pay for infrastructure over decades. This could take as much as $50,000 off the price tag of a new home.

We must keep our foot on the gas by championing pro-homeownership policies to bring affordability closer to home.

Second, modernize zoning and support “mixed use” developments. Vacant offices in downtown cores or suburban plazas are a perfect opportunity for innovators to bring new kinds of housing onto the market. Building housing on top of retail or in commercial buildings can keep Main Street thriving.

Put an end to exclusionary zoning, province-wide

Third, put an end to exclusionary zoning. This is the biggest key to unlock homeownership in urban areas. For a long time, if you owned your house, you could knock it down and build a four-storey monster home. But if converting it to three townhomes you would be hit with a tsunami of NIMBY resistance, red tape, and fees. Toronto, Guelph, London, and other municipalities across Canada are leading the way — changing their zoning rules to allow homeowners to build up to four units on their own property without being hampered by red tape.

If Ontario and other provinces adopt this policy province-wide, they will get units to the market with gentle density. 

These three action items — plus the seven more in OREA’s analysis (at — will help create future generations of homeowners by enabling growth.

We must keep our foot on the gas by championing pro-homeownership policies to bring affordability closer to home. 

Visit to view the full policy report. 

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