What is Inclusionary Zoning? Inclusionary zoning (IZ) is a municipal planning policy that requires “affordable” housing units be built in new residential construction. The authority to implement IZ is granted to municipalities through the provincial Planning Act. Toronto adopted IZ late last year, and Mississauga is in the process of drafting the policy framework.
How is Mississauga applying the IZ policy? As of early 2022, Mississauga is currently proposing the following:
- The policy will only apply in specific parts of the city (specifically, transit hub zones).
- The policy will only apply to new condo developments with 50 or more units.
- Between 5% to 10% of condo developments will be set-aside as “affordable” housing. For example, if a developer proposes to build 50 units and the set-aside rate is 10% of units, only 5 units must be set-aside as affordable.
- The focus will be on “affordable” condo unit ownership (i.e., not rental units).
- The definition of “affordable” is income based. The policy targets “middle income” earners who earn $58,000 to $109,000 annually. According to the City, “affordable” means a purchase price of $294,000 for a 1-bedroom, $350,000 for a 2-bedroom, and $432,000 for a three-bedroom.
- Set-aside units will be protected for a 25-year term.
- Mississauga plans to approve and implement the policy in Fall/Winter 2022.
Why does the IZ policy matter? Too many Mississaugans do not have access to safe, secure, and deeply affordable housing. According to a 2020 report by the Region of Peel, owning or renting is unaffordable for 80% of residents.
- The City’s IZ definition of “affordable” – as well as its sole focus on “middle income” earners – fails to maximize the policy’s potential to meaningfully address the City’s housing affordability and homelessness crisis.
- While a step in the right direction, the City can and should do more.
What can I do?
- Stay informed of the City’s IZ progress, attend stakeholder meetings, and speak up. A link to the City’s IZ website, with a list of upcoming events, is here.
- Raise housing affordability issues with your provincial candidates in advance of the June provincial election.
- Send a letter to the Mississauga Council and Mayor Bonnie Crombie requesting higher set-aside rates, a priority on affordable rental over affordable ownership, and a more inclusive definition of “affordable” applicable to low- and no-income households.