Bill 23: Durham expects to lose $281mn over five years

The Region of Durham yesterday said it expects to lose $281 million over five years as a result of Ontario More Homes Built Faster Act 2022 (Bill 23).

It has not yet been revealed how much would each of the eight individual municipal regions that comprise Durham, lose.

Durham Region said existing property taxpayers and ratepayers of Durham Region—as with most other municipalities in Ontario—will be asked to fund future infrastructure to support new homes in our community. “Higher property taxes—at both the local and regional levels—are now likely.”

It also pointed out that finding ways to fund larger projects could also mean reducing the level of services that communities have come to expect.

In a series of awareness campaigns, the Region of Durham pointed out that the average development charge (DC) in Durham Region is well below the provincial average.

Impacts of Bill 23

In November last year, the Province of Ontario passed the More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022 (Bill 23). The Bill introduced sweeping impacts to development charges (DCs), regional planning activities, and other items relevant to both regional and local municipalities in Durham Region.

While local government does not build housing, they do help plan for it. The region makes sure that services and infrastructure (such as drinking water and sewer pipes) are planned, paid for and in place to support new housing, said a Durham Region statement.

Bill 23 removes Regional Council’s role in approving land-use planning decisions and reduces DC funding to municipalities for infrastructure. The changes introduced in Bill 23 could make this process longer, more expensive and limit our ability to support truly affordable housing, said the statement.

It pointed out that Durham Regional Council, local area municipalities and indigenous communities were not consulted on these changes.

“The region is asking the province to engage with municipalities, in a meaningful way, to help increase the supply of different types of housing for all residents and income levels,” said the statement.

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