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Calandra considers “Use it or Lose it” legislation

By Randy Thoms Sep 6, 2023 | 9:19 PM

Ontario’s new Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing is considering stronger measures that prevent developers from sitting on undeveloped land.

It is one of several things Paul Calandra says he will look at as he becomes tasked with the job of helping the province build 1.5 million new homes by 2030.

Paul Calandra says he has heard from municipalities who exhaust resources on planning and rezoning, only to see projects grind to a halt.

“We have heard far too often how really the extraordinary good work that our municipal partners do and their time and resources that they spend in moving forward on development proposals, only to have developers sit on those allocations of water and sewage,” says Calandra.

Calandra says the province is in a housing crisis and is relying on developers to get shovels in the ground faster.

He also wants to address the issue of housing speculation, where buyers purchase homes and then sell them for a considerably higher price in the near future, thus forecasting future pricing,

“I want to work with the Minister of Finance to potentially increase the non-Resident Speculation Tax. We obviously already have the highest tax in Canada, but we are looking to see if we can make that even fairer.”

He says he will also look at options for increased penalties for cancellation of purchase agreements and increased penalties for extortion of purchase agreements.

Calandra announced the proposed measures as he outlined a planned review of properties removed from the Greenbelt for development.

He is also reviewing between 700 to 800 other applications for Greenbelt lands.

“These are a whole suite of measures that we are bringing in place to ensure not only the highest level of accountability in the process to build public trust, but at the same time to be able to live up to our commitment of building 1.5 million homes across the province of Ontario, working with our municipal partners to respect the work that they are doing, and putting the development community on notice that bad actors will not be tolerated.”

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