City of Mississauga calls on province to revisit how it measures cities on housing progress

The City is responding to the province’s 2023 housing targets performance update

Mississauga is encouraging the province to revisit how it allocates important housing funding to local municipalities. In a letter to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the City outlined its key concerns after Mississauga was deemed ineligible for the Building Faster Fund primarily due to insufficient housing starts – a measure that is completely outside of the City’s control.

“As a City, we understand the urgency of this crisis and are using all of the tools we have to prioritize getting more homes built. We will continue to address these important issues with the industry experts on our Housing Panel to find innovative solutions that will help us continue to deliver on our housing commitments.”

Acting Mississauga Mayor Joe Horneck

Mississauga is committed to helping the province meet its goal of building 1.5 million new homes. The City was one of the first municipalities in Ontario to prepare a Housing Action Plan and submit a housing pledge to the province. However, Mississauga has been clear that cities must be measured on factors they can influence and is encouraging the government to re-think housing starts as a way to measure our progress.

“We’re disappointed that Mississauga residents are losing out on much-needed funding that can help our city deliver the kind of intensification the province is looking for,” said Shari Lichterman, Mississauga City Manager and Chief Administrative Officer. “The worst part is that we’re losing out on funding despite all of the work we’ve undertaken to grow our City including streamlining our development and building permit approval processes and expanding housing permissions.”

Lichterman added, “Right now we have 12,000 new residential units under construction, 4,000 units under building plan review and an incredible 33,000 new units under site plan review – which is the final stage of our development application review process. We can’t put shovels in the ground, but we’re doing everything we can to make our City a great place to build.”

Mississauga has taken a leadership role in convening housing experts and city leaders across Ontario to collaborate on a common ‘reporting data set’ that will help advance housing metrics in the province. Given the government’s decision to deem Mississauga ineligible for the Building Faster Fund, the City is encouraging the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to prioritize consultations on appropriate ways to measure municipalities on our progress.

Some of the City’s key concerns outlined in the letter include:

  • Housing starts are counted when the building’s foundation is finished. In a high-rise, this could be many months, often years, after the City issues a building permit.
  • Despite having 3,470 housing starts in 2023, the City has:
    • Approved over 31,000 residential units in the last three years through our development process.
    • More than 12,000 units under construction.
    • More than 33,000 residential units undergoing site plan review.
  • The City has limited control over market forces and the business and financial decisions of the development and building industry – who determine when to start construction.
  • Development and construction activity is slowing due to a wide variety of factors outside of the City’s control such as interest rates, labour shortages, cost of materials, market/investor demand, etc.
  • Cities in Ontario are at different stages of growth and development which makes comparing housing starts problematic. Mississauga is no longer building low-rise subdivisions like other GTA cities which are much faster and simpler to build than complex high-rise towers.

Read the City’s full response to the province’s 2023 Housing Targets and Performance update.

Background

Housing is a top priority for Mississauga. The City’s housing action plan – Growing Mississauga – includes five goals and 23 actions to help address supply and affordability. It builds on the success of the City’s innovative strategy Making Room for the Middle. When adopted in 2017, it was one of the first municipal housing plans focused on middle-income earners. Today more than 90 per cent of the strategy’s 40 actions are complete or underway.

To learn more about the City’s housing action plan – and read all 23 actions – visit mississauga.ca/housing.

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