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Housing affordability information session

On Wednesday, April 6, Mayor Bonnie Crombie, Members of Council and City staff hosted a live, virtual information session on housing affordability in Mississauga.

The facts

Mississauga is in the midst of an unprecedented housing crisis. Housing affordability has become a top issue for many in our community.

Safe, affordable housing is the foundation for our economy and the quality of life we enjoy. People should be able to afford to live and work in Mississauga.

But housing and rental prices continue to skyrocket:

  • The average sale price of a single detached home in 2021 was $1.805 million in Mississauga.
  • The average cost of a condominium apartment in 2021 was $657,000.
  • These prices are out of reach for 80% of the households in Mississauga.
  • The average rental price is $1,569 per month, far out of reach for many.

We have a problem. But the City of Mississauga has a host of solutions.

Growth is coming

Mississauga will continue to grow. The province estimates through their Growth Plan that Mississauga will grow by 250,000 residents over the next thirty years. We will be a city of almost 1 million people by 2050.

To accommodate this growth, we need to build more housing, but it needs to be the right type in the right location.

A one-size-fits-all solution will not work. All three levels of government and the private sector have to work together.

Taking action to increase access to affordable housing

Here are some of the ways the City is working to make housing more affordable:

Mississauga is approving more housing units than required to meet the annual demand and we’re approving them in a reasonable time frame:

  • Approved zoning for over 20,000 units that could be built today, but have not yet been
  • Pre-zoned another 40,000 units in the Downtown Core that could be built expeditiously
  • Meeting approval targets for building permit approval 95%+ of the time
  • Processed development applications on average within 18 months, quicker than other surrounding municipalities
  • Issued $2.1 billion worth of building permits in 2021

The City has taken a number of actions to remove barriers to new housing supply to ensure it is not the source of delays in building housing:

  • Removed height and density limits in the Downtown City Centre, permitting tens of thousands of units to be built as of right now
  • Introduced conditional permits to speed up the building of new housing
  • Introduced process improvements including online planning applications system and pre-application meetings to make it easier to get new housing developments approved
  • Implementing new “Minor Development Zoning By-Law Application” which will save at least three months of development application time and will lower application fees

In 2017, the City created the Housing Strategy designed to focus on middle income earners. We were one of the first municipalities to develop this type of strategy.

Over the last five years, the City has completed many of the 40 action items in the strategy, including:

  • Securing affordable units in new developments
  • Simplifying the process for second units
  • Demolition Control By-law
  • Rental Replacement By-law
  • Condominium Conversion Control By-law
  • Establishing the Affordable Housing Reserve Fund
  • Recommending reduced parking requirements for affordable housing
  • Investigating the opportunity to increase housing options through gentle intensification
  • Creating a development charges grant program to support eligible affordable rental housing developments

But we’re not done yet!

The City continues to investigate and implement new and innovative ways to make housing in Mississauga more affordable by:

  • Implementing inclusionary zoning to achieve affordable units in new construction
  • Investigating incentives for affordable rental housing
  • Examining ways to develop housing cooperatives and community land trusts
  • Supporting the vacant home tax being proposed by the Region of Peel
  • Implementing affordable housing objectives through Community Benefit Charges (CBC)

Ontario More Homes for Everyone Act and Housing Affordability Task Force

The Government of Ontario has passed new legislation titled the More Homes for Everyone Act in an attempt to address the housing affordability crisis. While the City of Mississauga agrees that we must take action to solve this crisis, it must be the right action.

We have concerns that the province’s plan to build more housing quickly will impact the quality of life in Mississauga without making housing more affordable. Here’s why:

  • Building more housing units doesn’t guarantee they will be more affordable. We have seen this in Mississauga. We have made every effort to make it easier for developers to build. We even removed height and density restrictions in our downtown but it still hasn’t made housing more affordable. In fact, smaller units for more money continue to be built.
  • Giving developers a break on the amount of parkland they have to contribute means fewer parks for more residents. We are planning for dynamic new communities around transit stations that include parks, public spaces and recreational facilities. This legislation “caps” the amount of parkland developers need to contribute when they build. We estimate that could mean $600 million less for parks over 30 years. If developers don’t pay, the City and our existing residents and taxpayers will have to make up the difference which could result in a 5% annual property tax increase. This isn’t fair.
  • Limiting public engagement won’t work – it’s an important part of planning great cities. Mississauga is working to bring new types of homes through gentle density to our existing neighbourhoods. But a one-size-fits-all approach to planning across the province won’t work. As we add more housing, each community has different considerations that have to take into account when we build.

The province has also stated that the recommendations in their Housing Affordability Task Force report, received in February 2022, will act as the roadmap for housing policy and legislation for the next four years. The report has 55 recommendations aimed at increasing housing supply in Ontario.

The City prepared a detailed response to this report which was shared with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing for consideration.

While our response outlined areas of support for some of the Task Force recommendations, as a City, we are concerned with recommendations that:

  • Limit all public consultation on future developments
  • Lower design standards and erase heritage
  • Remove neighbourhood character considerations
  • Reduce our ability to plan our city in our own way
  • Create a financial risk for the development of new infrastructure and parkland in our city and put the burden for growth on existing taxpayers
  • Fail to build any affordable housing, but create more supply for investors to buy and hold
  • Remove the ability for residents to appeal to the Ontario Land Tribunal

Mississauga supports infill development and greater density in our neighbourhoods, but where it makes sense and with proper consultation through the local planning process. We want to plan our communities together.

More information:

Tell your MPP to take the right actions on housing

If you share our concerns about the province’s long-term plans and want to make sure the government takes the right actions to build more housing and make it more affordable, please let your MPP know.

Send an original email or housing affordability form letter to your MPP:

Proposed solutions

Council has told the Ontario government how we can make housing more affordable, and build more of it.

  • Introduce funding for affordable housing developers
  • Permit inclusionary zoning or cash-in-lieu everywhere the market can support
  • Make revenue tools available to municipalities to raise funds for affordable housing; offer direct funding
  • Discourage investor-owned residential real estate through capital gains tax and other mechanisms
  • Provide support for first-time homebuyers, such as assistance with closing costs
  • Provide direct funding; reinstate the Provincial Brownfield Remediation Fund and create a Complete Communities Fund
  • Give municipalities the power to zone for residential rental buildings
  • Offer incentives to promote new purpose-built rental housing
  • Require a minimum number of affordable units when selling surplus land to developers
  • Offer surplus land to non-profit housing providers for a below market price
  • Explore co-development of provincially-owned lands with affordable housing uses
  • Provide direct incentives for rental housing producers
  • HST rebates and other incentive tax-related policies
  • Use additional housing-related tax revenue to fund housing incentive programs

Learn more