On October 28, 2021, the Planning & Housing Committee will consider the updated Inclusionary Zoning framework proposed for the City of Toronto.

Updated Inclusionary Zoning Framework

City of Toronto staff have recently released updates to the proposed Inclusionary Zoning (“IZ”) framework proposed for the city. IZ is a regulatory tool that allows municipalities to require affordable housing units to be provided in new residential developments.

The updated framework consists of revised drafts of the proposed Official Plan Amendment, Zoning By-law Amendment and Implementation Guidelines for IZ.

More information about the updated framework will be provided at the City’s public open house, scheduled for October 21, 2021 from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. EST.

These updated documents will then be considered by the Planning & Housing Committee at its meeting scheduled for October 28, 2021.

The proposed Inclusionary Zoning framework is presently anticipated to be before City Council at its meeting scheduled for November 9-10, 2021.

As a follow-up to our previous blog post, we have prepared a high level summary of some of the key changes included in this recent update.

Revised Market Areas

Previously, City staff proposed Inclusionary Zoning to apply only in Protected Major Transit Station Areas (“PMTSAs”) within Strong and Moderate Market Areas.

City staff are now proposing that Inclusionary Zoning apply to PMTSAs within three types of market areas with revised mapping, each at distinct affordable set-aside rates. These set-aside rates will be increased annually beginning from January 1, 2025 until January 1, 2030, as shown in the linked summary tables.

Revised Transition Provisions

The updated draft Inclusionary Zoning By-law introduces transition provisions that go beyond the grandfathering provisions contained in the Province’s regulations (O. Reg. 232/18).

Under the City’s proposed transition provisions, Inclusionary Zoning does not apply to development for which:

  • Complete applications for Zoning By-law Amendment (“ZBA”) and Site Plan Approval (“SPA”) were filed on or prior to September 18, 2022;
  • A complete application for ZBA was filed and came into force prior to the passing of a Community Benefits Charge By-law and a Section 37 bonusing agreement was executed on or prior to the later of September 18, 2022 or notice of approval of a PMTSA by the Minister of Municipal Affairs;
  • A complete application for SPA was filed on or prior to September 18, 2022;
  • A complete application for Minor Variance (“MV”) was filed on or prior to September 18, 2022;
  • A complete application for MV was filed after September 18, 2022 in respect of a Building Permit described below;
  • An application for a Building Permit was filed on or prior to September 18, 2022; or
  • An application for a Building Permit was filed after September 18, 2022, in respect of a ZBA, SPA or MV described above.

Implementation Guidelines

City staff have introduced draft Implementation Guidelines to deal with certain matters not addressed in the IZ Official Plan policies and the IZ zoning regulations. According to the City, these Implementation Guidelines are to address the “more specific but highly important details concerning the delivery of IZ affordable housing, including: unit mix and size; accessibility; access to building amenities and parking; household eligibility; and marketing of affordable housing units”.

The draft Implementation Guidelines include certain matters that may not be securable through zoning regulation or site plan control, but which the City intends to secure through an IZ agreement.

Some aspects of the draft Implementation Guidelines are highlighted below:

Full integration of IZ affordable units

  • IZ affordable housing units (“IZ affordable units”) should be fully integrated into a building, with separate entrances generally discouraged except where the IZ affordable units are provided in a stand-alone building.
  • Building amenities such as bicycle and visitor parking, storage lockers and indoor and outdoor amenity space must be made available to residents of IZ affordable units on the same terms and conditions as residents of market units.
  • If a building includes both condominium units and IZ affordable units, the owner of the building must, at the time of registering a description under the Condominium Act, 1998, convey easements of an indefinite term as may be necessary to secure access by residents of the IZ affordable units to all building amenities, utility areas, entrances, parking areas, etc.

Locating affordable housing offsite generally discouraged

  • IZ affordable units can be located offsite in “exceptional circumstances” only. This will generally require a demonstration of the impossibility of locating them onsite (or of a public benefit to locating them offsite) in addition to the provision of more or larger units than mandated under the IZ set-aside requirements.

IZ affordable units must be “net new” housing

  • IZ affordable units cannot include replacement rental units or dwelling rooms otherwise required by the City, nor can they include affordable housing units subsidized by any of the three levels of government.

Accessibility requirements

  • IZ affordable units must include “as many universal design features as possible” in order to ensure their suitability for all types of residents.
  • Reasonable efforts must be made to ensure that at least 20% of the IZ affordable units are fully accessible.

Unit mix and sizes

  • Reasonable efforts must be made to satisfy the unit mix requirements specified in the Growing Up Urban Design Guidelines—in particular:
    • 25% of the IZ affordable units are to be comprised of 2- or 3-bedroom units, and at least 10% of the IZ affordable units in a development are to be 3-bedroom units;
    • the average IZ affordable unit size is 90 square metres for 2-bedroom units and 106 square metres for 3-bedroom units; and
    • the minimum IZ affordable unit size is 87 square metres for 2-bedroom units and 100 square metres for 3-bedroom units.
  • The unit mix of IZ affordable units shall, at a minimum, be proportional to the unit mix of the market units in the development, except that studio units in the market portion can be replaced by 1 bedroom units in the IZ affordable portion.
  • The minimum and average sizes of the IZ affordable units, by number of bedrooms, shall be proportional to, or larger than, the corresponding sizes of the market units, although in any event they must meet the recommended minimum and average unit sizes set out in the city’s Affordable Rental Housing Design Guidelines.

Unit design

  • IZ affordable units must be indistinguishable from market units with respect to appearance, access, quality and functionality.
  • IZ affordable units must have air conditioning and central heating, with individualized controls.
  • The number of IZ affordable units with balconies, patios or terraces must be proportional to the number of market units with those amenities.
  • Laundry facilities for residents of IZ affordable units, whether communal or ensuite, must be the same, and available for the same fee as, the facilities enjoyed by residents of market units.
  • IZ affordable units must have “equivalent finishes, fixtures and features” as those included with market units. These finishes, fixtures and features do not need to be identical (e.g. appliance brands may vary) provided that those provided in the IZ affordable units are “new and of good quality”.

Next Steps

While these draft Inclusionary Zoning documents provide a general sense of the City’s direction, these documents are subject to change prior to the final adoption and passage of the Official Plan Amendment and Inclusionary Zoning Bylaw by Council.

Once adopted and passed by Council, the Inclusionary Zoning policies and regulations are not appealable to the Ontario Land Tribunal except by the Minister.