“Wartime-Scale Effort” Needed As Several Ontario Cities Already Behind On Housing Goals - Burlington is one of them

By Staff
July 24th, 2023

In early 2022, the Government of Ontario very publicly pledged to build 1.5M new homes across the province by 2031.

Roughly a year-and-a-half in, many municipalities are already falling far behind the monthly targets that would indicate they’re keeping pace with overall housing goals.

Mike Moffatt

Economist and Assistant Professor at Ivey Business School Dr. Mike Moffatt has compiled recently-released data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation that shows a dozen cities already well off the necessary rate of production required to meet their provincially-imposed housing targets.

Moffatt’s data presents housing completions and units under construction in 29 Ontario cities between January 2022 and May 2023, as well as each figure as a percentage of the municipality’s 10-year goal.

And, while the 17-month timeframe puts Ontario 14% of the way through its 10-year target, 12 cities within the province are currently sitting under that 14% mark of progress toward their goal.

Based on the number of completions and units under construction, Burlington is just 4.4% of the way towards its goal of building some 29,000 new homes by 2031. Between January 2022 and May 2023, the city built just 333 new homes, and has fewer than 1,000 more currently under constriction.

Brampton is only slightly further along, at 5.4% of its goal, but it also has a higher overall target of 113,000 total homes. Ajax, meanwhile, is a meagre 6.3% of the way towards its goal of building 17,000 homes by 2031.

A Molinaro development in the west end of the city will eventually be completed.

Of the 12 Ontario cities that are falling behind the province’s overall pace — which also include Newmarket (8.0%), Guelph (8.7%), and St. Catharines (11.0%) — Mississauga has the highest housing target, at 120,000. As of May, it has completed just over 2,000 homes and has another 11,000 under construction, putting it 10.9% of the way towards its goal.

“We’re frustrated at the lack of progress across the province,” Moffatt, who is also the Founding Director of the PLACE Centre, told STOREYS. “The data really isn’t moving in the right direction.”

“It is certainly possible that the cities catch up — we are only 14% of the way through this 10-year period, so there is still time — but it’s going to take a wartime-scale effort. We need to start making pretty drastic changes in the province, especially in the 905 areas that are particularly lagging.”

In contrast to their suburban neighbours, some Ontario cities are making notable progress towards their goals.

Kingston is leading the way, having progressed 34.6% of the way towards its 8,000 housing target. Toronto, with its 285,000 housing goal, follows, at 29.9%. As of May, Toronto has completed more than 25,500 units, and has another 85,000 under construction. Vaughan (26.6%), Pickering (26.3%), and Brantford (25.0%) are also making good headway.

The best mid-sized Canadian city to live in may not have room for those who would like to move to Burlington.

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3 comments to “Wartime-Scale Effort” Needed As Several Ontario Cities Already Behind On Housing Goals – Burlington is one of them

  • Stephen White

    In Doug Ford’s simplistic universe building more housing automatically translates into more affordability. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work that way.

    We have a housing crisis because: 1) the federal government has set unrealistically high immigration targets; 2) there is no inter-governmental cooperation to facilitate the successful and orderly transition and integration of immigrants into the country, and no long-term strategy either; 3) generational wealth transfer has not taken place because Boomers are living longer, and staying put in their homes rather than downsizing; 4) developers aren’t building the type of homes young families want and need; 5) Doug Ford’s government insists on shoe-horning hundreds of thousands of people into the GTA that is already built out, and where the law of supply and demand has rendered housing unaffordable.

    If you want to reduce the housing crisis then promote regional economic development, and shift population growth to outlying communities in economic decline where they would welcome the influx of more residents (e.g. Sudbury; Sault Ste. Marie; Timmins). Provide tax incentives for immigrants to move there. Provide financial incentives for developers to build there. Let established communities in southern Ontario grow organically rather than according to some grandiose plan that looks like it was lifted from a Stalinist era planning model in the old Soviet Union.

  • Blair Smith

    “Wartime-Scale Effort” – well, all the social policy driven clichés about the war on poverty aside, how many of the units built or planned to date are “affordable”. With all due respect to Dr. Moffat, his “frustration” seems to get displayed in silly hyperbole. The Ford housing targets are a developer’s wet dream and smack of the previous intensification targets of the Provincial Policy Statement. And what precisely will happen six years from now to the municipalities with failed pledges? We all know about the “Strong Mayor” carrot – where’s the stick and how is it going to be applied. Those will be interesting times.

  • Ted Gamble

    Finally a good news story! Keep up the good work Burlington…..