For immediate release: May 31, 2019

New analysis shows that Bill 108, Ontario’s More Homes, More Choice Act, fulfils most of the dream list from the development industry

Toronto, Ont. – New analysis from Environmental Defence shows that Ontario Bill 108, More Homes, More Choice Act, fulfils most of the demands submitted to government by the Ontario Home Builders Association (OHBA) that roll back protection for the environment and enable sprawl. The recommendations include weakening the Endangered Species Act, bringing back the Ontario Municipal Board and expanding urban boundaries at the request of developers. The government’s catering to the regressive elements of the development industry ignores the needs, concerns and recommendations of citizens, community groups, municipal leaders and planning experts.

“Catering only to requests from the development industry means a bleak future for Ontarians. Bill 108 will mean less community control over planning their towns and cities, threatened forests, streams and wetlands and more gridlock and sprawl. Ontario appears ‘open for business’ for only a few friends of the government,” says Tim Gray, Executive Director, Environmental Defence.

Some of the key demands from the development industry that are contained in Bill 108 include:

  • Repeal Bill 139 and bring back the OMB – Bill 108 will restore OMB rules which allow override of planning decisions made by democratically elected municipal governments
  • Urban Boundary Expansions – Bill 108 removes previous restrictions on urban boundary expansions meaning sprawl will again dominate new development
  • Recalibrate and cap development charges – Bill 108 proposes to amalgamate and cap development charges, depriving municipalities of needed funds for parks, community centres and libraries
  • Gutting the Endangered Species Act – Bill 108 includes a new mechanism that will allow developers to pay a fee to avoid protecting the habitat of species-at-risk, and will allow for reduced protection if the species exists somewhere else in the world
  • Limit the role of Conservation Authorities – Bill 108 will reduce the scope of Conservation Authority activities and allow the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks to decide areas in watersheds that can be developed, which will enable sprawl development in natural areas

More details can be found in this backgrounder.

“Ontario’s More Homes, More Choice Bill will do little to increase housing affordability. What it will do is set back the progress on building smart sustainable communities while increasing urban sprawl and developer profits. The Bill does a lot for developers and too little for Ontarians looking to live in walkable communities, with local services and green space. Instead, we will get more gridlock, lost farmland and houses people can’t afford,” adds Tim Gray.

About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Allen Braude, Environmental Defence, abraude@environmentaldefence.ca