Provincial goal of building 1.5 million homes will not be realized without adequate land supply

By Pepper Parr

December 11, 2023



A report released last week said: the Provincial goal of building 1.5 million homes will not be realized without adequate land supply

That doesn’t come as a surprise.  How the province is going to react and what can, in reality, be done is the very pressing issue.

Is this where new housing should be built?

The study by Malone Given Parsons Ltd. (MGP), commissioned for the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and the Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA) and supported by the West End Home Builders’ Association (WE HBA), identifies that there is insufficient land within municipal official plans in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) and Greater Toronto Area to meet mid- and long-term population growth. This will jeopardize the provincial objective of building 1.5 million new homes and undermine efforts to address housing supply and affordability.

“The need for additional land supply has been clearly identified by planning experts as necessary to accommodate population growth and limit the continued displacement of residents,” said Mike Collins-Williams, WE HBA CEO. “Local political opposition and disruptions in our planning system make it increasingly difficult to bring new ground-oriented housing online.”

In what way is the WE HBA using the phrase “new ground-oriented housing”?  Are they talking about just single or semi- detached homes? Because that is not the kind of development the policy people seem to be talking about.

WE HBA represents the interests of the home building community that has a lot of land that housing can be built on.  There financial interests are best served through the construction of ground-oriented housing where the return on their land investments is significant.

The  Malone Given Parsons report adds that there are “challenges in adding supply within cities, meaning we are nearly 80,000 housing units short (2006-2021) of where we should be in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). Without an aggressive approach to building, we can anticipate this shortfall to increase.”

This is the kind of housing that is being built – a different kind of community and we need to get it right the first time – not something planners have a lot of experience with.

The report identifies that even before the province reversed the approval of municipal official plans, the housing shortfall would increase to an estimated 97,000 grade-related housing units (including singles, semis and all forms of townhouses). Following the reduction of land supply by the 2023 provincial “reversal” of local official plans, the housing shortfall could increase to 206,800 grade-related homes (10,400 ha) plus any shortfall in apartment growth.

MGP’s study further identifies that in absence of expanding municipal boundaries to add land for grade-related homes, the redevelopment of vast quantities of existing neighbourhoods would be required to accommodate growth. Based on the municipally adopted official plans, to be “reset” by the province that include little to no additional land for new settlement area boundary expansion areas, the shortfall in grade-related housing units would require 10 per cent of all existing low-density neighbourhoods to be redeveloped to accommodate growth to the year 2051.

“Given that the GTHA accommodates over 30 per cent of Canada’s immigration each year, because immigration is the primary driver of population growth in Canada, a shortfall of housing has national implications,” said Neil Rodgers, OHBA Interim Chief Executive Officer. “The province has a policy statement to guide development for future growth. It commissioned extensive growth and housing requirement projections to help plan to 2051. This study demonstrates that by ignoring its own policies and projections, decisions made today are going to have far-reaching implications and show that we will be in a demand/supply imbalance for decades to come – continuously pushing prices up. If we’re to address the affordability crisis now, we need solutions that increase supply, support transit-supported infrastructure and housing choices on shorter timelines.”

“WE HBA along with our partners at BILD and the OHBA are calling on the Ontario Government and municipal governments across the province to ensure that housing affordability and supply are addressed by making sufficient lands available for a market-based supply of housing to meet forecasted growth needs to the planning horizon of 2051. In addition, they are calling on the government to establish a transparent, modern and stable planning system, which is required to realize the forecasted growth in the GGH.”

It was the need for additional land that led to the Greenbelt fiasco that is now under investigation by the RCMP.  Besides the possibility that some people might be charged criminally, the really stupid decisions made, and the even stupider way Cabinet handled the matter has spoiled the trust that was necessary between a government and the people who vote.




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4 comments to Provincial goal of building 1.5 million homes will not be realized without adequate land supply

  • greglaw55

    Why do all of the homes needto be built in the GTHA?. Just build them anywhere in southern Onrario that’s not in the green belt. Retirees and work from home people can live anywhere. Once you get outside of the golden horseshoe land is relatively cheap.

    Townsend for example is zoned and ready to go for a couple hundred thousand people right now.

    • David

      Checked out Townsend on ‘google maps’ also Jarvis, you really forget sometimes how big this country really is. Maybe money should be spent on highways and rail connections and then housing would follow.

  • David

    Just looking at google maps, looks like everything below the 407 in Burlington is pretty much full, above the 407 is the Greenbelt, what happens now? The town of Oakville seems to have room in the North. Purchase offsets?

  • Grahame

    One more reason that those of us who own free standing homes will continue to get richer thanks to Dalton McGuinty.