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Advocacy in Action: Toronto Adopts Inclusionary Zoning

November 29, 2021

On November 9, the City of Toronto became the first municipality in Ontario to adopt inclusionary zoning, which is a policy that requires large developments in certain areas to set aside a certain proportion of units as affordable.  

This is a policy that many organizations and community groups, including Daily Bread, have been advocating for decades.  In the past year, the Daily Bread team have attended public consultations, deputed at the Planning & Housing Committee, and mobilized 718 individuals to send letters directly to their City Councillors in support of the policy. 

We are thrilled that our collective advocacy efforts were successful. If there is one thing the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, it is the importance of safe and secure shelter.  

Housing affordability has been in a state of crisis in Toronto long before the pandemic. Among food bank clients  living in private market rentals, over 80% are spending more than half their income on housing, putting them at high risk of becoming homeless. Over half of food bank clients reported skipping meals to other expenses, with the top reason being to pay for rent.  

Inclusionary Zoning is an important tool in tackling the housing affordability crisis. The proposed policy includes a number of important features, including changing the City’s definition of affordability to reflect people’s income level rather than exclusively relating to average market rents, as well as securing a 99-year period of affordability for new units. 

Now that the policy has been approved at City Council, we will be turning our attention towards the implementation and evaluation of the new policy to identify opportunities to continue to strengthen and expand this policy to get the maximum benefit.  

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