Background and updates on recent Development Charge changes and the new Community Benefits Charge Framework (Bill 108)

On June 6, 2019, the Ontario government passed Bill 108: the More Homes, More Choice Act, which changed the funding tools municipalities can use to pay for growth-related service and infrastructure needs.

In February 2020, the Province released proposed regulations under the Act that reflect the input of municipalities, including Guelph, about the tools they need to adequately fund growth-related needs.

Under the proposed regulations, community facilities and services such as public libraries, long-term care, park amenities and playgrounds, public health, and recreation centres and arenas will continue to be funded through Development Charges (DCs). DCs are paid to the City by developers to help fund growth-related costs. These services were initially proposed to be excluded from DC funding under Bill 108, and Guelph and other municipalities were concerned about potential funding shortfalls for services like recreation centres and libraries. In Guelph, there was particular concern about impacts on the planned Baker District library and South End recreation centre projects.

The proposed regulations also set out a new Community Benefits Charge framework, which municipalities could use to fund parkland acquisition, affordable housing, and other services.

The City is assessing the implications of the proposed regulations in detail and will be providing comments to the Province.

The Province has posted the regulations for public feedback, and anyone can comment until March 30, 2020 through the Environmental Registry of Ontario.

Background

The City of Guelph expressed its concerns about Bill 108 and its initial proposed regulations through a number of submissions to the Provincial government, listed below. It has also actively supported the advocacy efforts of organizations such as the Municipal Finance Officers’ Association, the Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario, and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. The new regulations posted in February 2020 reflect a number of changes in response to this feedback.