Understanding provincial government financial and legislative decisions

About Bill 108 – More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019

On May 2, 2019, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing released the More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan and introduced a related bill titled Bill 108: More Homes, More Choices Act.

Bill 108 made changes to the Development Charges Act and the Planning Act. It added community benefit charges, made amendments to how the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal (LPAT) would function, and lastly also included changes to the Heritage Act.

About Bill 109 – More Homes for Everyone Act, 2022

Bill 109, the More Homes for Everyone Act, 2022 amended the Planning Act to require municipalities to refund development application fees if a decision is not made within legislative timelines and require complete applications for site plan control applications. These changes came into effect January 1, 2023.

As a result of Bill 109, the City has made significant changes to existing work processes and resources available for reviewing planning and development applications and Ontario Land Tribunal appeals. The changes were required to mitigate future fee refunds under Bill 109 and avoid any tax levy impacts.

On November 22, 2022, Guelph Council approved a new schedule of planning and development fees, and directed staff to undertake a planning and development fee review in 2023 with the intent of supporting full cost recovery. You can read the report online.

About Bill 23 – More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022

The provincial government introduced Bill 23 as a measure intended to advance its plan to address the housing crisis in Ontario by building 1.5 million homes over the next 10 years. The City has been assigned a housing target of 18,000 units by 2032 as part of the provincial goal. Bill 23 makes changes to development charges, community benefits charges, and reduces parkland dedication fees.

These changes by the Province have created a funding gap that requires the City to consider increasing property taxes to help pay for growth-related infrastructure like roads and underground utilities.

This legislation will reshape our community and change Guelph’s unique features. Housing alone does not create community. Bill 23 does not consider infrastructure funding, asset management, environmental systems, public realm, and quality of space. Instead, this legislation will have substantial impacts to good, thoughtful and deliberate planning that makes Guelph the great city that it is – our environment, our trees, our natural heritage system, our built heritage resources, our parks and open spaces, and our general urban environment.

We have been preparing for a future-ready Guelph, and housing supply has been our priority for years. We agree with the Province’s goal of increasing housing supply across Ontario, however the pace at which we’re mandated to comply, without much-needed financial support and corresponding commitments from other partners in the building process, is unreasonable.

We will continue to update the community as we navigate these legislated changes.

Audit and Accountability Fund (AAF)

On May 21, 2019, the Province of Ontario announced an Audit and Accountability Fund in the amount of $7.5 million to support municipalities in finding efficiencies within their organization.The funding is an incentive for municipalities to conduct line-by-line reviews of their service delivery. The concept behind the funding is to have an independent third-party review completed to find internal efficiencies that would mitigate an increase in tax rate/user fees.

To comply with the Audit and Accountability Fund requirements, a final third-party independent consultant’s report was completed, and the 2021 Service Rationalization report is now available.

The City of Guelph has submitted an Expression of Interest with the Province of Ontario to leverage the available funding for completing a review of the City’s Time, Attendance and Scheduling (TAS) processes and system use.

Once a review is completed, it is expected to provide the City with a road map for implementing key deliverables that will result in organizational improvement(s) to the City’s TAS service delivery and realize both cost savings and enhanced capacity to deliver municipal service.

The review will also serve as an input into a broader review that the Human Resources department is initiating which is specific to the business processes and technology of our people systems, e.g., payroll and benefits with an objective to identify an appropriate service delivery model that can both enhance and modernize the City’s current system which has remained relatively unchanged for the past 19 years.

Review of Time, Attendance and Scheduling