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Bill 97: Helping Homebuyers and Protecting Tenants Act

April 08, 2023 10:00 AM | Durham Region Home Builders' Association (Administrator)

On Thursday, April 6, 2023, Steve Clark, Ontario's Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, introduced Bill 97, the Helping Homebuyers and Protecting Tenants Act.  

Key highlights from the legislation include:

Streamlining Provincial Land Use Policy

  • The province is proposing greater flexibility to build homes in rural areas, including allowing:
  1. More residential development in rural settlements and multi-lot residential housing on rural lands.
  2. More homes to be built on farms while minimizing the impacts on agriculture.
  3. Partnerships with the private sector to provide water and wastewater services.
  • 29 large and fast-growing municipalities would be required to plan for growth in major transit station areas, and they would be encouraged to plan for density levels that would support transit use on greenfield lands.
  1. Minimum density targets would apply to major transit station areas and strategic growth areas, and they would be encouraged to plan for density levels that would support transit use on greenfield lands.
  • A proposal to accelerate the conversion of additional lands zoned for employment uses to residential including updating the definition of employment lands.
  • Under the proposed changes, municipalities would need to ensure land is ready to meet their community's future housing and employment needs.
  • Municipalities would have more flexibility in when and where they expand their settlement area boundaries.  They would consider available infrastructure, avoid speciality crop areas and mitigate agricultural impacts and use consistent criteria when calculating how far livestock farms should be from homes.
  • Encouraging municipalities to adopt a watershed planning approach would protect water resources while facilitating more new home construction.

Freezing Provincial Housing Development Fees

  • The province is freezing 74 provincial fees at current levels including several related Tribunals Ontario, the Ontario Land Tribunals and the Building Code.

Municipal Changes and Exemptions

  • Delaying the enforcement date of municipalities having to refund zoning by-law and site plan application fees if they failed to make a decision within specified time periods from January 1 to July 1, 2023.
  • Permitting municipalities in the cases of particular projects (for example, housing near train tracks) to utilize site plan review where there are 10 or fewer units.

Creating More Opportunities for Building Officials

  • The province will be redesigning the building official qualification program and supporting municipalities who provide building official internships.

Landlord & Tenant Board (LTB)

  • Investment of an additional $6.5 million to appoint 40 full-time adjudicators and improve service standards and reduce decisions time frames.
  • Conducting a lean review of the current LTB processes are identifying areas for greater efficiency.
  • Modernizing the tribunals Ontario Case Management System.
  • Exploring ways to expand hearing hours and scheduling flexibility.
  • Providing adjudicators with enhanced training to support hearing management.

Building More Rental Housing

  • The provincial government continues to call on the federal government to defer the HST on all new large scale purpose-built rental housing projects to tackle the ongoing housing affordability crisis.
  • The provincial government indicated it would support this measure, as it would help spur the construction of more rental housing units while helping to create jobs, encourage economic development and support growth.

Rental Replacement

  • The provincial government is moving forward with the next steps in consulting on a framework for rental replacement bylaws including:
  1. Requiring replacement units to have the same core features as the original units (such as the same number of bedrooms), while permitting some flexibility when it comes to size.
  2. Giving existing tenants the right to move back into the new unit at a similar rent.

Consulting on a Cooling-Off Period for Purchases of Newly Built Freehold Homes

  • The provincial government will be consulting on introducing a cooling-off period when people buy a new freehold home from a builder.
  • Considerations as part of this proposal would include:
  1. Requiring home builders to tell their customers about the cooling-off period.
  2. Seek feedback on how long the cancellation period should last, disclosure requirements and whether to include a cancellation charge.
  3. Seeking input on requiring all new home purchase agreements to be reviewed by a lawyer.

Modular Construction for Attainable Housing

  • The province is looking at modular construction pathways and other innovative options to reduce the cost of building attainable housing.
  • As part of this proposal, the province will leverage crown lands and seek partnerships for development lands across Ontario.

Read OHBA's press release on Bill 97.



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Oshawa, Ontario

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Durham Region Home Builders' Association is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. 1-1255 Terwillegar Avenue Oshawa, Ontario L1J 7A4

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