Canada News

Get the latest new in Candada


Ontario looking to add student accommodation to its definition of new housing

The Ford government is looking to expand its definition of housing further, with plans to explore how it can start counting student accommodation toward its goal of building 1.5 million homes.

Ontario Housing Minister Paul Calandra said in a recent letter that he was in the process of working out how to track student residents and retirement homes so they can be counted as housing starts.

In his letter sent to the City of Mississauga at the end of March, Calandra said his ministry was working out how to track student accommodation in its data for new homes, which already includes long-term care beds and basement units.

“We will continue to explore data sources for tracking the numbers of other institutional types of housing such as student residences and retirement homes for future program years and commit to engaging municipalities on the same,” Calandra wrote.

Story continues below advertisement

An explanation of how the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Association tracks housing start data posted by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario says the federal body doesn’t include student housing in its official count of new homes because each person doesn’t have a dedicated entrance.

The email you need for the day’s top news stories from Canada and around the world.

A presentation on the topic says nursing homes, student housing and hostels are all not included because they do not have their own entrance, kitchen or bathroom. Mobile homes and summer cottages that cannot be lived in year-round are also not included.

More on Politics

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing did not respond to questions from Global News about how much further it plans to expand its definition of a housing start beyond the industry standard.

The decision to consider adding student homes to its housing start data comes as the province works to hit an ambitious self-imposed goal of 1.5 million homes by 2031.

The Ford government is leaning on a substantial increase in supply to attempt to reduce house prices. Over its 10-year timeline, Ontario will need to record an average of 150,000 new housing starts every year to reach that goal.

In 2023, Ontario saw 89,297 housing starts, which it boosted to 109,011 by including long-term care beds and other alternative spaces like basement units in the numbers. The government has strongly defended its decision to include long-term care homes as housing starts.

Story continues below advertisement

“I challenge anyone to talk to these seniors and tell them they have a bed and not a home —  they have their own room, they eat in a dining room with everyone else,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford previously said of the move.

“These are homes.”

Several Ontario communities have seen a large percentage of their housing starts made up of long-term care beds.

In Markham, 320 (22 per cent) of its 1,472 were long-term care beds, 256 of Burlington’s 584 housing starts were long-term care beds and 192 of 797 housing starts in Ajax were long-term care beds.

While the NDP agreed with the government’s decision to count long-term care beds as homes, Ontario Liberal MPP John Fraser previously called it “deceptive.”

“The government’s fluffing their numbers,” said.

“I don’t know why they’re doing it. It’s deceptive, it’s misleading, it’s unreasonable to do that.”

A poll conducted in March found a majority of people in Ontario do not think long-term care beds are homes.

&© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

View original article here Source