Glossary: Toronto Housing

New to the housing advocacy scene? Here are some concepts and terms you need to know. 

This list was compiled by James, a friend of Generation Squeeze who attended the Toronto Code Red campaign launch in March 2017. The campaign launch was James' first experience with the housing advocacy scene. As he listened to the panel discussion, he jotted down the terms he wasn't familiar with so he could look them up later. He has shared this glossary to help bring others up to speed!  

Section 37

A:

The provision in the Ontario Planning Act that allows municipalities to extract benefits from developers in return for allowing development that exceeds height and/ or density restrictions - a practice more broadly known as ‘density bonusing’.

Empty Homes Tax

A:

Taxing a portion of a given property’s value, applied when the home is deemed to be empty through varied means.

Municipal Property Assessment Corporation

A:

An independent, not-for-profit corporation funded by all Ontario municipalities accountable to the Province, municipalities, and property taxpayers through a 15-member Board of Directors. Their stated role is to accurately assess and classify all properties in Ontario in compliance with the Assessment Act and regulations set by the Government of Ontario.

Gentle Densification

A:

The term that the Urban Institute of Development (UDI) (Vancouver institute) uses to describe one set of solutions to the lack of housing in the city. Offers alternatives to towers by rezoning already-developed land to accommodate multi-family dwellings or subdividing existing lots to accommodate multiple smaller homes.

 

Lanescape (Toronto/ Ontario)

A:

A group of planning, design, and development professionals who consider laneway development to be a potential resource and opportunity for the city. They have expertise in architecture, planning, community relations, and real estate development. They are working to establish thoughtful, positive, and sustainable laneway-building initiatives.

Mid-rise guidelines (Toronto/ Ontario)

A:

Buildings that are 4-8 stories tall. May be single-use (exclusively retail, office, community service, or residential), or a mix of any of those parts within a single building. The guidelines are the building codes that specifically apply to buildings of this category.

Sherbourne Rooming Houses

A:

A specific case in Toronto that is indicative of a concerning larger trend; absentee homeowners who partition their owned buildings and rent them out purely as expensive short-term housing. Takes residential houses off the market in the middle of a housing supply crisis.

Gentrification

A:

A process of renovation of deteriorated urban neighborhoods by means of the influx of more affluent residents.

Residential Tenancies Act

A:

An act put in place to create a rental housing system that protects tenants, helps landlords, and promotes investment in Ontario’s rental housing market (investigate both the act itself, and its critiques).

FairBNB

A:

A coalition that calls for a robust, nationally-consistent policy framework to ensure homesharing complies with fair, safe, and respectful legislation in regards to AirBnB, and short-term rentals in the city.

Inclusionary Zoning

A:

On December 8, 2016, Bill 7, the Promoting Affordable Housing Act, 2016 was given Royal Assent in Ontario. The resulting changes to the Planning Act gives municipalities the option of requiring affordable housing units as part of residential developments. See: http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page13790.aspx 

Laneway Housing

A:

Small structures, detached from the primary residence and built on top of garages or parking pads at the rear of a residential property adjacent to a laneway.

Bill 7

A:

An act to amend the Employment Standards Act (2000). Focuses mainly on the establishment and clarification of a minimum wage.

Foreign Buyers Tax

A:

A tax imposed upon foreign nationals, corporations, and trusts that are buying within a designated zone or area. Intended to curb purchase for investment rather than housing.

CMHC

A:

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Helps Canadians meet their housing needs through different methods including mortgage loan insurance, promotion of affordable housing, First Nations housing programs, promoting policy and research, securitization (helping financial institutions ensure they have funds for mortgage lending), and providing information to Canadian consumers.

Social Housing

A:

Social housing is affordable housing. A key function of social housing is to provide accommodation to people on low incomes. Limits to rent increases set by law mean that rents are kept affordable.

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New to the housing advocacy scene? Here are some concepts and terms you need to know.
Glossary: Toronto Housing
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