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Ontario to introduce legislation that would boost affordable housing units

Ontario municipalities will be able to mandate affordable housing in new developments under planned legislation that cities, including the “scorching” housing market of Toronto, are closely eyeing.

The proposed legislation would allow communities to establish so-called inclusionary zoning policies, meaning new housing proposals would require developers to include a certain percentage of affordable units in order to be approved.

Vancouver and Montreal have similar policies, as do many major cities in the United States, advocates say.

It’s a step forward that helps Ontario catch up, said Greg Suttor, a housing researcher with the Wellesley Institute.

“It’s not a panacea for affordable housing, but it can help meet some of the needs,” he said.

“It will tend to create more of a social mix in development. For example, in downtown Toronto … if new development only serves the upper half of the income distribution, that’s not as healthy as if we build cities that house a bit more of everybody.”

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