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  • Writer's pictureArjan Soor

Bill 97 Helping Homebuyers, Protecting Tenants Act and the Proposed 2023 Provincial Policy Statement

On April 6th 2023, The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) put forward Bill 97: the Helping Homebuyers, Protecting Tenants Act for public comment. Along with Bill 97, the province also released the proposed 2023 Provincial Planning Statement, which will replace both the 2020 Provincial Policy Statement and A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

Bill 97 helping homebuyers, protecting tenants

Bill 97:

Planning Act and City of Toronto Act:

The Province’s proposed Bill 97 aims to take further action on addressing housing affordability and ameliorating the housing supply crisis in Ontario. In concert with the proposed PPS, Bill 97 builds upon steps taken under Bill 23 and the provincial government’s housing supply action plan. The proposed bill amends the Planning Act and the City of Toronto Act to allow the Minister to permit municipalities to require Site Plan Control approval for development on parcels of land where any part of the lot is located within 120 metres of a shoreline and where any part of the lot is located within 300 metres of a railway line. This new regulation responds to concerns from municipalities and stakeholders while maintaining the overall exemption of lands with 10 or fewer units from Site Plan Control, as amended by Bill 23.


In addition to this, the new legislation redefines “areas of employment” as specific business and economic uses, excluding institution uses and those commercial uses not listed as permitted. This narrows the scope of uses permitted in “areas of employment” as retail and office uses not associated with the listed employment uses would not be permitted. It also responds to a previous promise made by the government to re-evaluate application fee refunding timelines introduced as part of Bill 109. The new provisions apply the refunding requirements to applications received by the municipality on or after July 1, 2023 instead of January 1, 2023. The change affects section 34 (10.12) and section 41 (11.1) of the Planning Act as well as section 114 (14.1) of the City of Toronto Act.


Section 38 of the Planning Act is also revised to shorten the time within which a municipality is required to provide notice of an Interim Control By-law (ICBL) from 30 days to 20 days and allows appeals to be filed when the ICBL is passed, rather than when it is extended. Other changes include a new subsection with Section 47 (4.0.1) that allows the Minister to make an order that policy statements, provincial plans, and official plans to not apply in respect of a license, permit, approval, permission or other matter required before a use permitted by the order may be established. It also adds Section 49.2 which allows the Minister to make an order requiring a landowner to enter into an agreement with the Minister or a municipality to ensure appropriate development of the land, where the Provincial Land and Development Facilitator or the Deputy Facilitator has been directed by the Minister to advise, make recommendations, or perform any other functions respecting the land.


Other Amended Acts:

The proposed bill also amends the Building Code Act, the Development Charges Act, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Act, the Municipal Act, and the Residential Tenancies Act.


Notable changes to these acts include an amendment to section 99.1 of the Municipal Act, allowing the Minister to make regulations that impose restrictions, limits, and conditions on the powers of local municipalities to prohibit and regulate the demolition and conversion of residential rental properties, along with prescribing requirements to be contained in by-laws made under section 99.1, prescribing conditions that local municipalities must include as requirements to obtain permits, and prescribing requirements that the municipality must impose on owners of land for which a by-law under 99.1 was passed. It also authorizes municipalities to pass by-laws requiring an owner to make payments and provide compensation and prescribes the amount to be paid, compensation to be provided, and the persons to whom payments and compensation would be made.


The Residential Tenancies Act is also amended to permit tenants to install air conditioners and/or windows where the landlord does not provide air conditioning, subject to certain conditions. Furthermore, landlords will be required to provide a report prepared by a qualified person outlining the extent of the repairs prior to terminating a lease to carry out repairs or renovations. Landlords will also be required to provide remedies to tenants when a lease is terminated for the landlord, their spouse, their children/parents, or the child/parent’s caregiver and those specified individuals do not occupy the unit within the prescribed period of time.


Proposed Provincial Planning Statement 2023:

The proposed Provincial Planning Statement draws from and replaces both the Provincial Policy Statement 2020 and the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. It aims to address the housing supply crisis while making the policy language leaner and more effective. Policies will be grouped under five pillars, which are:

1. Generate an appropriate housing supply

2. Make land available for development

3. Provide infrastructure to support development

4. Balance housing with resources

5. Implementation


Q9 has reviewed the new Provincial Planning Statement and reviewed an unofficial comparison of the new PPS vs. the old PPS, prepared by Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, which can be found here. Based on these collected findings, the key changes include:


· Removing growth targets provided by the Growth Plan

· Introducing the concept of Strategic Growth Areas from the Growth Plan

· Strategic Growth Areas in large and fast-growing municipalities will be required to

have appropriate minimum density targets

· Integrating the concept of Major Transit Station Areas from the Growth Plan

· Large and fast-growing municipalities are required to delineate boundaries of major transit station areas on higher order transit corridors through the official plan and identify lands within a 500 to 800 metre radius

· Replacing intensification targets with general support for intensification

· Removing municipal comprehensive reviews, which permits the consideration of settlement area expansions at any time

· Redefinition of Employment Areas and consideration of removing land from employment areas to be based on Official Plan targets

· Industrial, manufacturing, and small-scale warehousing that could be located adjacent to sensitive land uses without generating adverse effects are encouraged in strategic growth areas and mixed use areas outside of employment areas

· More restrictive definition that limits uses to certain business and economic activities and excludes institutional and commercial uses, including those not associated with primary employment uses listed

· Permitting up to two additional residences on farm properties in Prime Agricultural Areas and up to three additional residential parcels

· Language removed around growth in rural areas being restricted to settlement areas

· Multi-lot development permitted where the site conditions are suitable for the provision of sewage and water services

· Agricultural Impact Assessment required for new or expanding non-agricultural uses where there is unavoidable impact to surrounding agricultural lands and operations

· Natural Heritage policies and related definitions are still under consideration by the province and will be made available through a separate posting on the Environmental Registry of Ontario

· Additional language on undertaking earlier engagement with Indigenous communities, the public, and stakeholders


Conclusion:

More details on the proposed Bill 97, along with the text of the bill can be found here. Bill 97 is currently on second reading consideration of the bill. The proposed Provincial Planning Statement can be found separately at this link. The new PPS is currently open for public consultation, which closes on June 5th, 2023. For more information on how this may affect your property, please reach out to Christine McCuaig at christine@q9planning.com. If the summary presented herein has interpreted something incorrectly, please do not hesitate to reach out.


Helpful Links:

Analyzing Bill 97, the Helping Homebuyers, Protecting Tenants Act, 2023. Aird Berlis: https://www.airdberlis.com/insights/publications/publication/analyzing-bill-97-the-helping-homebuyers-protecting-tenants-act-2023


Proposed 2023 Provincial Planning Statement. Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP: https://www.osler.com/osler/media/Osler/Content/PDFs/2023-PPS-comparison-Final.PDF


Bill 97, Helping Homebuyers, Protecting Tenants Act, 2023: https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/bills/parliament-43/session-1/bill-97


Review of proposed policies adapted from A Place to Grow and Provincial Policy Statement to form a new provincial planning policy instrument: https://ero.ontario.ca/notice/019-6813





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