Proposed Regulatory Matters Pertaining to Community Benefits Authority under the Provincial Acts

Hon. Stephen Clark
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
17th Floor, 777 Bay St.
Toronto, ON, M5G 2E5

RE: ERO Number 019-1406: Proposed regulatory matters pertaining to community benefits authority under the Planning Act, the Development Charges Act, and the Building Code Act

Dear Minister Clark,

This is to provide a response that can only be consideredas preliminary, regarding the above noted draft Regulation, for which comments were required to be submitted by April 20, 2020.

We have already made an official request by letter of April 15, asking that the end date for this consultation be extended to a date to be determined, as the Declaration of Emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act foresees a return to normality on May 12th, 2020 at the earliest. We believe that ending the consultation during the pandemic emergency is entirely inappropriate.

Municipalities need the opportunity to consider the impacts of the legislation that will have substantial impacts on their ability to deliver needed services to growing populations. The cancellation of regular business, and meetings of all kinds including council and committee meetings, makes it impossible for municipalities, and other stakeholders to understand, assess, and address carefully the draft regulation. The nature of the proposed regulation, its critical importance to municipalities, is such that the new structure needs to be carefully analyzed in regard to the future expected financial impact, compared to that of past and current legislation, as well with regard to the services funded. In order to provide informed comments on the draft regulation requires information from the municipality, in our case, the City of Toronto. Because of the pandemic there is no opportunity for municipal councils to review a staff report, to discuss the impacts, to receive public input, and to decide on a position.

Further, given that the pandemic is profoundly impacting the economic and social fabric of municipalities, this is not a good time to introduce significant changes to legislation that relies on stable land values which will, instead, be in a state of upheaval for an unknown period of time.

In addition, the special needs of Toronto must be considered, given its share of the population (20%) and rate of growth (5.2% 2016 to 2020) Toronto’s growth is among the highest in North America. Given the high densities being built, it is critical to ensure the services needed to support this growth are made available.

Finally, City staff have indicated to us that they have several concerns, including the worry that the proposed use of 15% of land value will produce less revenue than currently under Section 37, Park Levy, and Development Charges, and that this loss will reduce Toronto’s ability to provide the new services needed to support the rate of growth.

We trust you will agree with us that that this is not an appropriate time to continue on a path to implement this legislation, and the province should re-think and have a pause.

Geoff Kettel
Co-Chair, FoNTRA

Cathie Macdonald
Co-Chair, FoNTRA

cc: Premier Rob Ford
Members of Provincial Parliament
Mayor John Tory and City Councillors
Chris Murray, City Manager
Gregg Lintern, Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning
Federation of Urban Neighbourhoods (Ontario)
Association of Municipalities of Ontario
FoNTRA Resident Associations