Ontario mayors say rules for provincial housing fund unfairly penalize them


Ontario’s big city mayors are asking the minister of municipal affairs and housing to change the eligibility for a $1.2-billion fund, saying as it stands cities will lose out on much-needed funding for housing infrastructure due to factors out of their control.

The provincial government announced in August that money under the three-year Building Faster Fund would be available to municipalities that meet at least 80 per cent of the provincially assigned housing targets.

But they say qualifying for a piece of the fund should be based on how many building permits they approve, rather than being based on housing starts.

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, who is the chair of the Ontario Big City Mayors group, says once a city issues a permit, so many factors are out of its control, such as financing for a project in an era of high interest rates, supply chain issues and labour shortages.

The fund is set to be used for housing-enabling infrastructure and other projects that support community growth, such as roads and water lines.

Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Paul Calandra did not immediately reply to a request for comment. 

Banner image: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Spencer Colby

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 25, 2023.