Dates to Note:
October 20: OHBA’s Suburbs on Track Housing Tour
October 25 – 27: CHBA Fall Meetings – Ottawa
OHBA’S SUBURBS ON TRACK HOUSING TOUR – OCTOBER 20TH OHBA is pleased to announce an upcoming housing tour on October 20th focused on transit-oriented Development based in part on OHBA’s joint report with the Ryerson City Building Institute “Getting the Suburbs on Track”. The province of Ontario is investing over $32 billion on transit in the next decade. But building better suburban and regional transit is just the beginning. It is equally important to build better neighbourhoods along these transit lines and around stations. We have an opportunity to “get on track” and realize the benefits of transit-oriented communities that are walkable, support local businesses and provide more mobility choices and affordable housing options. Join us for an interactive experience as we tour three major transit-oriented development sites and explore how housing along transit corridors creates complete communities. Click here to register for the tour.
WSIB 2017 RATES ANNOUNCED Starting this January the premium rate for home builders (RG 764) will decrease from $9.10 for every $100 of a workers income to $7.83 for every $100 of income, a decrease of 14 per cent. This rate decrease is equivalent to a savings of up to $1,123.55 per worker based on the 2017 maximum earnings ceiling of $88,500. This rate decrease will save professional renovators and home builders in rate group 764 more than $30 million across Ontario in 2017. OHBA builders and renovators have led the way in improvements in safety outcomes through changes in workplace practices and investments in safety training. Due to the renewed efforts on safety by local home building associations and our member companies over the past several years, the lost time injury rates in home building have decreased by 64.3 per cent since 2002. We are pleased that WSIB has recognized our members’ achievements by lowering premium rates.
ONTARIO MUNICIPAL BOARD REVIEW The provincial government is undertaking a review of the scope and effectiveness of the OMB. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the Ministry of the Attorney General are working to develop proposed recommendations to improve how the OMB works within the broader system of land-use planning. On September 23rd both the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the Attorney General’s mandate letters from the Premier stated that they were to work, “on a review of the scope and effectiveness of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB),” and that they were, “to recommend reforms to improve the OMB’s role within the broader land use planning system and introduce legislation by spring 2017.” A consultation paper will be released in the fall 2016 for further comment. Prior to the release of the consultation document, the province has requested to hear views from stakeholders on the following topics – Jurisdiction and powers; Meaningful citizen participation and local perspective; Clear/predictable decision making; Hearing procedures and practices; Alternative dispute resolution; and, Timely processes and decision making. OHBA submitted preliminary recommendations regarding the OMB Review on August 31 in a letter to the Attorney General and the Minister of Municipal Affairs.
INCLUSIONARY ZONING In May the provincial government tabled legislation (which was again re-introduced in September following to Prorogation of the legislature), Promoting Affordable Housing Act, 2016 (Bill 7), that will allow municipalities to force the inclusion of government-required affordable housing units in new residential projects. The province has also posted a proposed regulation under the Planning Act that would set the framework for Inclusionary Zoning as well as a consultation discussion guide. OHBA responded to the original legislation with a media release, “Inclusionary Zoning Will Only Work through Partnerships.” The legislation follows the release of the updated the Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy which OHBA responded that “Housing is Never Free – New Neighbours will pay the Bill for Inclusionary Zoning.” In advance of the legislation being introduced, OHBA and BILD created a Statement of Intent on Affordable Housing & Inclusionary Zoning. The Statement of Intent outlines our principles for creating legislation to permit Inclusionary Zoning. The Urban Land Institute also released a new study on July 20th The Economics of Inclusionary Development which found that almost all cities in the United States offer various type of development incentives to offset the economic impacts the inclusionary policy has and that the inclusionary policies depend on market-rate development to be successful. OHBA has also submitted recommendations to the Ministry of Housing regarding the regulatory consultation.
CO-ORDINATED REVIEW OF GROWTH PLAN AND GREENBELT In May the provincial government announced proposed amendments to four Plans that were part of the Co-ordinated Review. OHBA, along with BILD and HHHBA, responded to the announcement with a media release noting that the provincial government’s proposed amendments would mean less housing choice and higher prices for home buyers. Due to high interest in the review and in response to requests made by several municipalities and stakeholder organizations, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs has extended the deadline to receive comments to October 31st. On September 23rd, Premier Wynne’s mandate letter to the Minister of Municipal Affairs noted the with respect to the Co-ordinated Review that the Minister would be responsible for:
- Finalizing the Co-ordinated Review of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, Greenbelt Plan, Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, and working with the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, the Niagara Escarpment Plan early in winter 2017.
- Working with the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, Minister of Transportation, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and stakeholders, municipalities and the public, you will recommend opportunities to grow the Greenbelt on the outer edge, improve alignment across provincial plans and transit investments, and support more complete communities across the province. OHBA is seeking input from members as we prepare our submission to government at the end of October – please share your comments, questions and concerns to OHBA Policy Director Mike Collin-Williams.
ONTARIO RENOVATION SPENDING POISED FOR ADDITIONAL GROWTH In 2015 alone, Ontario’s renovation market was estimated at about 25 billion dollars. In recent years, popular projects included: remodelling of rooms which includes basement upgrades, painting and wallpapering, heating and air-condition and landscaping.
METROLINX – REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION REVIEW A review of the GTHA’s first Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), The Big Move, is underway. The review provides an opportunity to take stock of Big Move projects and supports working toward the completion of an updated RTP in 2017. Metrolinx has published “Discussion Paper for the Next Regional Transportation Plan”. Comments are due on October 31, 2016 – please submit any comments, questions, recommendations or concerns to OHBA Director of Policy, Mike Collins-Williams.
CONSERVATION AUTHORITIES REVIEW Last year, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry initiated a review of the Conservation Authorities Act by posting a discussion paper to the Environmental Registry to which OHBA submitted recommendations to the Ministry last fall. In response to the public and stakeholder comments received, the Ministry has identified five priorities for updating the Act: Strengthen oversight and accountability in decision-making; Increase clarity and consistency in roles and responsibilities, processes and requirements; Improve collaboration and engagement among all parties involved in resource management; Modernize funding mechanisms to support conservation authority operations; and, Enhance flexibility for the province to update the Conservation Authorities Act in the future. A consultation document “Conserving Our Future” was posted to the Environmental Registry (012-7583) this spring representing the next stage of the legislative review. OHBA made a submission to the Ministry with our recommendations on September 9, 2016 .OHBA is scheduled to meet with the new Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry in early October to discuss the legislative review. On September 23rd, Premier Wynne’s mandate letter to the Minister stated responsibilities that included: “Continuing the review of the Conservation Authorities Act which will identify opportunities to improve the legislative, regulatory and policy framework that currently governs the creation, operation and activities of conservation authorities.”
WETLAND CONSERVATION STRATEGY The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) was given a mandate to review Ontario’s wetland conservation framework and identify opportunities to stop the net loss of wetlands. As a first step in the process, MNRF released a Discussion paper in July 2015. OHBA responded to the discussion paper with a submission last fall that supported a mitigation hierarchy and we worked closely with a number of industry stakeholders supporting biodiversity offsetting. On August 8th, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry released A Wetland Conservation Strategy for Ontario 2016-2030 which was posted on Ontario’s Environmental Registry (EBR 012-7675) and includes a clear vision, goals and outcomes for wetlands in Ontario and sets out a series of actions the government will incrementally undertake over the next 15 years to improve wetland conservation. OHBA is seeking comments and inputs from members as we prepare a submission due to the government on November 16, 2016. Please send comments to OHBA Policy Director Mike Collins-Williams.
CONSTRUCTION LIEN ACT RECOMMENDATIONS RELEASED The government has publicly released the recommendations from Bruce Reynolds and Co-Counsel Sharon Vogel on updating the Construction Lien Act. Their report ‘Striking the Balance: Expert Review of Ontario’s Construction Lien Act’ which outlines significant changes to the Lien Act is over 400 pages and provides 100 recommendations. OHBA along with RESCON provided comments to the review and met with Bruce Reynolds to provide the position of the residential development industry. The province announced it would review the Construction Lien Act following a Liberal MPPs private member’s bill on ‘Prompt Payment’ in 2014 which had received PC and NDP support at Standing Committee. The Liberal government ultimately did not move Bill 69 through the legislative process choosing a more traditional consultation process which began in 2015. OHBA will be meeting with the government over the fall to discuss the proposed changes to the Act. Please contact Stephen Hamilton if you are interested in providing comments to the recommendations.
MODERNIZATION OF APPROVALS (MOECC) The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change is continuing to review several programs for modernization, specifically those that have an external service delivery component (i.e. approvals, permits and licenses). Brownfields have been identified as a candidate for modernization aiming to build on the established program framework. The Ministry is specifically looking at delays in RSCs and RA delivery, supporting products and activities such as guidance and electronic service delivery, new approaches. The Ministry has also developer a streamlined risk assessment process (Tier 2). Version 1 was released in 2011 as part of broader regulatory amendments. Version 2 was posted for public consultation through the Environmental registry in Nov 2014. A decision notice is anticipated in the near future to bring Version 2 in to force. The Ministry is in the process of developing a draft EASR Regulation for Activities with Air and Noise Emissions which was posted to the Environmental Registry (EBR 012-8646) for 30 days on September 26th . Stakeholder consultations are taking place throughout Ontario in October with January 2017 targeted as the regulation implementation date. Please contact OHBA Director of Policy Mike CollinsWilliams for more information.
OHBA CONFERENCE, AWARDS OF DISTINCTION AND PRESIDENT’S GALA – A HUGE SUCCESS! Last week, OHBA and member delegates from across Ontario made their way the Blue Mountain Resort in Collingwood, for the annual three-day conference. The conference was an opportunity for members to meet the incoming OHBA Executive Committee for 2016/17, mix and mingle and celebrate two exciting events – the 2016 Awards of Distinction and the President’s Gala. The OHBA Annual Meeting of Members also took place at the conference and members voted on a number of resolutions for 2016. The conference is an opportunity to pay tribute to our Awards of Distinction winners but also our association champions. Top honours at the Awards of Distinction this year went to Great Gulf Homes (Project of the Year – Low Rise), Minto Communities (Project of the Year – High or Mid-Rise), Branthaven Homes (People’s Choice Award), Amsted Design-Build (Renovator of the Year) and Tridel (Home Builder of the Year). The OHBA President’s Gala was an opportunity to welcome the 2016/17 president, Neil Rodgers, and to pay tribute to members who have gone above and beyond for the association. Honours went to Chuck McShane who won the OHBA Member of the Year, the Stratford & Area Builders’ Association (SABA) who won Local Association of the Year and to John Herbert who won the David Horton Leadership Award. Please visit the OHBA Facebook page to see photos from the conference.
OHBA/OBOA JOINT TRAINING ON SB-12 2017 Following the recently published revised Supplementary Standard SB-12 (Energy Efficiency Requirements for Housing), effective on January 1, 2017, OHBA and OBOA have launched joint training sessions on SB-12 2017 across Ontario this fall through EnerQuality. HBA and OBOA members are eligible for a member rate of $50 +HST. For more information and registration, please check out EnerQuality’s website. The Sarnia-Lambton Home Builders’ Association is also hosting on their own SB-12 workshop with Gord Cooke on Monday, November 21, 2016. Price is $100+HST (lunch included).