Introducing Ontario’s Bill 109, More Homes for Everyone Act
Ontario’s More Homes for Everyone Act, 2022 (Bill 109) was introduced in late March and received Royal Assent on April 14, 2022. Bill 109 is the Province’s response to the Ontario Housing Affordability Task Force Report which was released in February and provided 55 recommendations aligned around building 1.5 million homes over the next 10 years.
Bill 109 amends five pieces of legislation. This summary will focus on the amendments to the Planning Act.
This article is a high level summary of some of the key changes to the Planning Act. Click here for detailed and comprehensive review of all changes.
Application Fee Refunds
If a municipality fails to meet statutory deadlines for decisions on official plan or zoning by-law amendments (currently 120 days and 90 days, respectively) or site plan applications (being revised from 30 days to 60 days), a graduated application fee refund will be granted, up to a 100% refund. These new refund requirements will come into effect on January 1, 2023. The table below summarizes the proposed graduated application fee refund:
Since application fees are significant for some municipalities, it is expected that either decisions may be rushed and ultimately sent to the OLT (Ontario Land Tribunal) or the process for deeming applications complete may become more onerous (it could take more time and materials required to ‘start the clock’ on an application).
Amendments to Site Plan Control
A municipality must now pass a by-law which requires pre-consultation prior to the submission of an application for site plan approval. Prior to the enactment of this by-law, a municipality must permit, but may not require, a pre-consultation.
In addition, complete application requirements that are required for official plan and zoning by-law amendments will now apply to site plan control applications. The municipality must first adopt an official plan amendment setting out the requirements for complete application.
Finally, Bill 109 amends the Planning Act to require municipal authorities to delegate site plan approval authority to an officer, employee or agent. This will be effective July 1st, 2022. The timeline to appeal a site plan application has been increased from 30 to 60 days.
Amendments to Subdivision Control
A municipality may deem a subdivision application that lapsed within the past five years to not have lapsed provided that such subdivision application had not previously been deemed to not have lapsed. In addition, the Minister has the right to impose conditions of approval that are not currently permitted.
Community Benefits Charge & Parkland Dedication
If a municipality passes a community benefits charges (CBC) by-law, a review will be required at least every five years. Maximum parkland contributions for ‘Transit-Oriented Communities’ will be imposed, specifically 10% of lands or the value of the lands if five hectares or less, or 15% of the lands or value of the lands if greater than five hectares in area.
Ministerial Powers Regarding Official Plan Approvals
The Minister gains new discretionary authority when making decisions on official plan amendments or new official plans. The Minister is now permitted to refer these items for decision by the Ontario Land Tribunal. The changes also allow the Minister to suspend the time period in which to decide on official plan matters which are subject to the Minister’s approval.
While the new Ottawa Official Plan was submitted prior to Royal Assent of Bill 109, the Minister may still refer all or parts of the plan to the Tribunal for recommendation or a decision.
Q9 Planning + Design will monitor ongoing changes to the planning landscape as a result of this Act and other future outcomes of the Housing Affordability Task Force Report and will continue to report about the findings on our website.