Policy Brief

Policy Brief: Realizing the Full Potential of Inclusionary Zoning for Toronto

By Jeremy Withers
PhD Candidate | Department of Geography & Planning, University of Toronto
Outreach Coordinator | School of Cities Affordable Housing Challenge Project

This analysis provides an overview of the City of Toronto’s current Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) proposal, which will be voted on by Councilors at the Oct 28th Planning and Housing Committee.

It also outlines 3 recommendations for how to strengthen the City’s proposal.

A broad coalition of housing advocacy organizations (including Progress Toronto, ACORN, Parkdale People’s Economy, Build a Better Bloor Dufferin, Power in Community, Jane Finch Housing Coalition) and research organizations (including Social Planning Toronto, Maytree, and the Affordable Housing Challenge Project at the University of Toronto’s School of Cities) are united in calling on the City to implement a strong Inclusionary Zoning policy, based on the evidence provided by successive IZ feasibility studies commissioned by the City.

These studies found that, in 2021, typical new condo developments in most high growth areas of Toronto could be required to include 20% to 30% affordable rental housing, while still leaving developers with a motivating 15% profit margin and land vendors with 10% above the current value of their land. But the City’s IZ proposal falls far short of realizing this full potential. Even by 2030, when affordable housing requirements are fully “phased in”, the City would likely be producing around half the amount of affordable units it could feasibly require. 

This analysis provides specific recommendations for how the City can strengthen their proposed IZ policy, based on evidence from their own feasibility studies.

It is organized into 3 sections, each of which advances a recommendation for how the proposed IZ policy could be strengthened, outlining:

  1. the potential to increase affordable housing requirements
  2. the potential for a faster phase-in of affordable housing requirements
  3. the potential to ensure this policy creates mostly affordable rental units, as opposed to affordable ownership units.