Ontario creating $1.2B housing incentive fund and giving more municipalities strong mayor powers

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Published August 21, 2023 at 1:03 pm

doug ford
Ontario Premier Doug Ford is giving so-called strong mayor powers to 21 more municipalities and is announcing $1.2 billion in incentives for cities and towns to meet housing targets. FordĀ speaks during a press conference in Mississauga, Ont., Friday, Aug. 11, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced $1.2 billion in incentives for cities and towns to meet housing targets.

Ford also announced Ontario is giving so-called strong mayor powers to 21 more municipalities, including Halton Hills and Welland.

In a speech today at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario’s conference, Ford said the moves are to help communities build at least 1.5 million homes by 2031 in order to meet the needs of the province’s fast-growing population.

Ford says the new Building Faster Fund will provide funding for municipalities that meet at least 80 per cent of their annual housing creation target assigned by the province, and money can be used to pay for housing-enabling infrastructure such as roads and water lines.

Municipalities have been raising concerns about a provincial law that cuts some of the fees developers pay, which the communities use to fund such infrastructure.

Strong mayor powers include allowing mayors to propose housing-related bylaws and pass them with the support of one-third of councillors, as well as override council approval of certain bylaws and prepare their city’s budget, instead of council.

The expansion involves municipalities with populations projected to exceed 50,000 by 2031, and puts the total number of strong mayors at 50. Mississauga, Brampton, Hamilton, Milton, Oakville, Burlington, St. Catharines and many other cities already have strong mayor powers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 21, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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