FAQs About Bill 23
- Completing an on-going comprehensive review and update of the Town’s zoning by-laws, including permissive policies to support accessory units in ground related housing forms and contemporary regulations to accommodate a wide range of housing types as-of-right;
- Continuing to implement Official Plan policy adjustments to increase the proportionate share of medium and high-density residential units in strategic areas of the Town, such as designated centers, corridors and the Whitby GO Station and Port Whitby areas;
- Initiating an update to the Town of Whitby Official Plan to comply with recent changes to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and a pending new Official Plan for the Region of Durham;
- Initiating an update to strengthen the policy basis for medium and high-density residential units within the Whitby GO Major Transit Station Area;
- Developing a Housing Acceleration Strategy; and
- Capitalizing on funding sources, such as the Streamline Development Fund, to further advance online portal development for Planning Act and Ontario Building Code Act related applications.
What is Bill 23?
Bill 23 is the Province of Ontario's 'More Homes Built Faster Act'.
The Province says Bill 23 will increase affordable housing in Ontario by building 1.5 million new homes by 2032 – 18,000 of which are mandated to Whitby. Bill 23 actually means higher property taxes, a reduction in existing services for Whitby residents, and more.
Will Bill 23 increase my taxes?
Initial analysis shows Bill 23 will cost Whitby taxpayers $34 million per year; shifting costs of growth for things like parks, new roads, and recreational facilities directly from developers to you. This means at least a 30 per cent overall property tax increase; about a $600 property tax increase for an average Whitby home due to the impacts of Bill 23 alone.
Will Bill 23 create more affordable housing in Whitby?
Bill 23 will create less affordable housing, not more. The Bill does not dictate that developers reduce housing prices by the “savings” created by Bill 23 – the market dictates the price of homes. Any “savings” will go directly to developers, with no guarantee that homes will be built or that they will be affordable. In Whitby, we have about 8,000 homes approved to be built today, but developers aren’t building due to labour shortages, supply issues, and more. Bill 23 does not fix this issue.
Aren't the Town's fees charged to developers making new homes less affordable?
There’s a misconception that the Town's development charges and parkland fees are making new homes more expensive. In reality, developers set the price of new homes at the highest amount the market will pay. It’s the market – not the fees – that determine the price. Bill 23 does not dictate that developers reduce housing prices by the “savings” created by the Bill. Any “savings” will go directly to developers, with no guarantee that homes will be built or that they will be affordable.
In Whitby, we have about 8,000 homes approved to be built today, but developers aren’t building due to labour shortages, supply issues, and more. Bill 23 does not fix this issue. Whitby is ready to work with the Province and developers to get houses built, but not at your expense.
What does Bill 23 mean for the protection of environmentally sensitive areas in the Ontario?
Bill 23 makes radical changes to the important role Conservation Authorities have in the planning process, putting the protection of environmentally sensitive areas at risk.
How does Bill 23 impact municipal management of growth?
Bill 23 changes municipal governance and planning approvals by removing the tools we need to manage growth responsibly. The Bill eliminates things like public meetings for approval of planned subdivisions. These checks and balances ensure we grow in a manageable way.
What impact does Bill 23 have on funding for municipal infrastructure like parks, libraries, and fire halls?
Initial analysis shows Bill 23 will cost Whitby taxpayers $34 million per year; shifting costs of growth for things like parks, new roads, and recreational facilities directly from developers to you. Unless offset with a new source of funding, Bill 23 will significantly impact our ability to fund growth and the infrastructure needed to support our growing community.
What is the Town doing to address housing supply in Whitby?
On March 20 (2023), Whitby Council pledged to facilitate the development of 18,000 new homes by 2031.
In October 2022, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark issued a letter to the Town of Whitby highlighting the Province’s commitment to build 1.5 million homes by 2031 and assigning Whitby a municipal housing target of 18,000 homes.
The Town of Whitby was asked to demonstrate its commitment by developing a municipal housing pledge and delivering it Minster Clark by March 22, 2023.
Whitby’s current inventory of housing units approved or in the approval process includes 4,123 low density units, 4,925 medium density units and 9,070 high density units.
The pledge endorsed by council on March 20 lays out several strategies for accelerating Whitby’s housing supply including:
Whitby Council has also requested further dialogue with the Province on Bill 23 and the impacts that development change shortfalls could have on future Town budgets.