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The Municipal Role in Addressing the Housing Crisis in York Region

Learning from Evidence and Best Practice - Presentation by Carolyn Whitzman, Expert Advisor, Housing Assessment Resource Tools (HART)

Presented to the York Region Housing Affordability Task Force on March 23, 2023

The Housing Assessment Resource Tools (HART) project is working with governments, housing providers, and advocates across Canada to improve how we measure and address housing need, towards the national goal of “progressively realizing the right to adequate housing”.

This article at summarizes the presentation and Dr. Whitzman's comments at the meeting.

  • The region will be participating in the HART project, including mapping out the region’s available land inventory. The project aims to work with governments and housing providers to improve how they measure and address housing needs.

  • The core housing need figure is based on 2016 data and leaves out several key categories, like the homeless.

  • Current measures of housing needs are flawed, with “affordable housing” lacking clear and consistent definitions across different organizations.

  • Whitzman offered policy proposals like banning or restricting the size of new single-family homes, eliminating minimum parking restrictions and promoting more density for affordable housing.

  • Planning policies, utilizing land inventory and pooling community resources are all ways local municipalities can drive more effective housing.

  • Whitzman also suggested that with municipalities unfairly burdened with costs, they should focus less on development charges that can shift prices to renters and homeowners and more on property tax, which she said is a form of wealth tax that does not currently recognize “windfall gains in home values.”

  • "There’s progressive income tax, we should be looking at luxury home taxes.”

  • "Property taxes on low-income households should continue to be deferred, she added and recaptured when a home is sold."

Below are some key slides from the presentation:



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