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LETTER: Area MPP says 'heartbreaking reality' spawned Bill 23

More Homes Built Faster Act will 'ensure our communities can continue to grow, evolve and thrive,' says Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop
Jill Dunlop 4-21-22
Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop is shown in this file photo.

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Ontario is expected to grow by more than two million people by 2031.

That means that over the next 10 years, communities large and small across the province can expect an influx of new residents who are in search of jobs and opportunity — and a place to call home.

Unfortunately, it’s no secret that home prices are out of control in Simcoe North and throughout Ontario. According to the Simcoe and District Real Estate Board, the average home in the area now sells for over $550,000 — an amount that is simply out of reach for far too many people. As a result, we’re seeing more and more Ontarians — especially young people and families — give up on the dream of homeownership altogether. This is our heartbreaking reality.

There’s a simple explanation for the rise in home prices: There aren’t enough homes being built to meet demand. Yet the solution — to get more homes built quickly — will take hard work and commitment from all levels of government.

One estimate, from the University of Ottawa-affiliated Smart Prosperity Institute, found Ontario will need to build 1.5 million new homes in the next 10 years to meet existing demand and account for future growth. Yet even though annual housing starts have increased substantially since the government took office — surpassing 100,000 in 2021, for instance — Ontario has a lot more work to do.

That’s why we have passed the More Homes Built Faster Act (otherwise known as Bill 23). We’re taking bold action to ensure our communities can continue to grow, evolve and thrive. That’s what this plan is about: building up our communities, boosting local economies and increasing opportunities for young people and families to purchase homes.

Specifically, our plan will:

  • Help communities like ours grow by getting shovels in the ground faster on a mix of ownership and rental housing types that meet the needs of all Ontarians — from single family homes to townhomes and mid-rise apartments;
  • Lower the costs of housing by lowering municipal fees and making it cheaper and easier to build homes;
  • Create good jobs close to home for those who working in construction and the trades;
  • Support local businesses and spur economic growth in the region by growing our communities, creating more opportunities for more people to shop local; and,
  • Enrich our community and neighbourhoods by building housing near transit — which is critical in regions like ours — that will bring in more tourists and those looking for a place to live.

Part of our plan to build more homes involves helping existing communities grow in ways that make sense. That’s why the government has also moved forward with a proposal to revise the boundaries of the Greenbelt — adding approximately 9,400 acres to the Greenbelt across the Greater Golden Horseshoe, while targeting select areas near existing communities for removal to support the construction of new homes in the near future.

The government has been crystal clear about why it selected these lands for removal: They are close to existing settlement areas; they are on the edge of the Greenbelt; they are already serviced, or can be serviced easily and at the expense of the developer; and they can support the construction of new homes in the near future.

The lands that have been selected meet all these conditions — and what’s more, if new home construction has not begun by 2025, the government is prepared to put those lands straight back into the Greenbelt. This plan appropriately balances our commitment to protecting the environment with our promise to help Ontarians find homes they can afford.

I have been proud to call Simcoe North my home for my whole life, and I want my daughters to have the same chance I had to make a home here, or anywhere in Ontario. That is why I support the More Homes Built Faster Act, and the other bold decisions the government has made to increase housing supply.

It’s about more than just building homes. It’s about building up our communities and ensuring they continue to thrive now and into the future.

Jill Dunlop
Simcoe North MPP