Inclusionary Zoning – What does it really Include?

On September 4, 2020, a staff report was released by the City of Toronto presenting draft inclusionary zoning Official Plan and Zoning By-law amendments for the purpose of public consultation.

Inclusionary zoning is a tool for municipalities to require new development or redevelopment to maintain a certain portion of residential units as affordable housing. As contemplated in Bill 108, the applicability of inclusionary zoning is limited to Protected Major Transit Station Areas (PMTSAs). These PMTSAs must be adopted by Council and approved by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Key components of the draft amendments include geographic application, the affordability period and the amount of units set aside. Geographically, inclusionary zoning will apply to areas defined as strong and moderate market areas within PMTSAs, as set out in this map.

The draft instruments require that 3-10% of the total residential gross floor area in a development be set aside as affordable housing for 99 years. The specific percentage is dependent on whether the development is in a strong or moderate market and the type of development. This range is currently being reviewed by City Planning to determine whether it can be increased. The City’s Planning and Housing Committee recommended increasing the range to 10-30% of the total residential gross floor area in a development. The matter will be considered by City Council on September 30, 2020 and final recommendations are targeted to be brought before the Committee in 2021. These requirements will be secured by agreements under subsection 35(2) of the Planning Act and will be registered on title.

Exemptions to Inclusionary Zoning

The Provincial Regulation 232/18 provides exemptions from inclusionary zoning, including where the proposed development contains fewer than 10 residential units. The draft Zoning By-law provides the following additional exemptions:

  1. Development or redevelopment within the Downtown Secondary Plan or Central Waterfront Secondary Plan containing:
    1. Less than 100 residential units; and
    2. Less than 8000 square metres of residential gross floor area
  2. Development or redevelopment outside the Downtown Secondary Plan or Central Waterfront Secondary Plan containing:
    1. Less than 140 residential units; and
    2. Less than 10,000 square metres of residential gross floor area
  3. Development or redevelopment owned and operated by certain “non-profit housing providers”; or
  4. Portions of development or redevelopment containing residential care homes or institutional student residences.

Transition Provisions

Notably, the proposed transition provisions in the draft Zoning By-law Amendment provide that it will not apply to a building or structure for which a complete application for a building permit, zoning by-law amendment, minor variance or site plan approval was filed prior to January 1, 2022. Minor variance applications are also excluded if based on a building permit application submitted before January 1, 2022.

See the City’s Draft OPA and ZBLA for more information.