Federation of Ontario Public Libraries

FOPL Members:

BIG (and good news) on the Development Charges / Community Benefit Charges front!

As you know, development charges (or DCs) have been a tool for public libraries to fund growth-related capital costs, including buildings, renovations, and collections. Previously, these public library costs were considered “soft services” by the Development Charges Act. Unlike essential or “hard” services, such as roads or fire services, these were eligible for up to 90% cost recovery through development charges, with libraries or municipalities required to cover the remainder.

In the spring of last year, the Ontario Government passed the More Homes, More Choices Act, which created a new structure. Going forward, a limited number of fully cost-recoverable services – primarily hard infrastructure like roads and watermains and essential services like fire, police and ambulance – would remain eligible for DCs. All other previously eligible services, including public libraries, would be shifted to a new Community Benefits Charge that would also include other previous types of development-related fees, like density bonusing and parkland dedication.

Informed by the expert input of our public library members, FOPL (and OLA) took part in important consultations with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing to educate and explain the impact of the proposed changes and the risk to Ontario’s public libraries. We provided a series of reasonable recommendations intended to ensure that public libraries would not be negatively impacted by a move to the Community Benefits Charges regime.

Today, we’re pleased to share with you that the provincial government has listened and is taking action.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing has posted for consultation its proposed next steps in launching the new Development Charge and Community Benefits Charge regime.

The Ontario Government is now proposing that capital costs for public libraries, including library materials for circulation, reference or information purposes, are to remain eligible to be funded under the Development Charges Act. Furthermore, these capital costs will now be eligible for full – rather than 90% – cost recovery through DCs.

I think that the following quote from Julia Merritt, FOPL Chair, says it best:

“As the collective voice of Ontario’s public libraries, the Federation of Ontario Public Libraries (FOPL) applauds the Ontario Government’s proposal to include public library capital costs as a fully cost-recoverable eligible service under the Development Charges Act. We welcome the Ontario Government’s unequivocal recognition of the role that public libraries perform as critical community infrastructure in municipalities of all sizes across the province, and the importance of ensuring that municipalities are able to collect the development charges needed to help maintain strong, sustainable public libraries for current and future residents alike.”

The full regulatory proposal can be found at the following link – https://ero.ontario.ca/notice/019-1406. I’ve included the most relevant section further below.

The consultation is open until March 30th. In addition to formal responses from FOPL and OLA, we will be seeking motions of support for your Public Library Boards to express support for this change.

2. Services Eligible to Be Funded Through Development Charges

The Development Charges Act provides authority for municipalities to impose development charges to pay for the increased capital costs of specific services that are needed as a result of new growth.

The services that are eligible to be funded through development charges are listed under subsection 2(4) of the Development Charges Act. The list includes a provision for other services that may be prescribed in regulation. The Planning Act stipulates that services funded by development charges may not be funded by community benefits charges.

When proclaimed, the More Homes, More Choices Act, 2019 will make waste diversion and ambulance services fully recoverable through development charges.

The government is proposing to prescribe additional services to be funded under the Development Charges Act, through regulation.

Proposal

It is proposed that the following services would be identified in regulation under subsection 2(4) of the Development Charges Act:

  1. Public libraries, including library materials for circulation, reference or information purposes;
  2. Long-term care;
  3. Parks development, such as playgrounds, splash pads, equipment and other park amenities (but not the acquisition of land for parks);
  4. Public health; and,
  5. Recreation, such as community recreation centres and arenas.

Development charges may be imposed to fully recover the capital costs related to the provision of these proposed services due to new growth.”

These proposed services would be ineligible to be funded through community benefits charges.

In any case, this Ministry listened to your feedback through the surveys we provided and our FOPL/OLA advocacy efforts on your behalf.

Cheers,

Stephen Abram, MLS, FSLA

Executive Director, Federation of Ontario Public Libraries

sabram@fopl.ca

FOPL: 416-395-0746

Blog: http://www.fopl.ca

Twitter: @foplnews

stephen.abram@gmail.com

Cel: 416-669-4855

Blog: http://www.StephensLighthouse.com

Twitter: @sabram

 

News Release

Ontario Helping Communities Build More Homes, Attract More Jobs

February 28, 2020

Province Updates Land Use Planning Rules

QUINTE WEST — Ontario is reducing red tape to help communities across the province build more homes for families and create a more competitive business environment. We are taking these steps to help fix the affordable housing crisis left by the previous government.

Today, Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, was in Quinte West to launch the new Provincial Policy Statement (PPS). The PPS sets the rules for land use planning in Ontario and guides decision-making to manage growth and development, while protecting the environment, public health and safety.

Changes to the PPS were informed by feedback from municipalities, stakeholders and the public. The changes will:

  • give municipalities greater flexibility and control over local decision-making to support new housing and economic development
  • encourage more and different types of housing
  • help ensure an adequate supply of land on which to build more housing.

These changes will not impact the Greenbelt, ensuring that it will continue to be protected for future generations.

“We are making it easier for families to find homes that meet their needs and their budgets in vibrant, thriving communities,” said Minister Clark. “Over the past 15 years, home ownership and housing that is affordable have become out of reach for far too many people and our government is taking decisive steps to change that.”

“This new Provincial Policy Statement will give municipalities in Bay of Quinte and across Ontario flexible land use planning tools that will allow them to find the right mix of housing development and business opportunities,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services and Member of Provincial Parliament for Bay of Quinte. “Our government has listened to our municipal partners. We will continue to work alongside them to develop an environment that fosters continued economic growth and prosperity.”

The Provincial Policy Statement was updated following a 90-day consultation with municipalities and stakeholders including development and business, aggregates and resources, agriculture, environment and planning sectors, as well as the public. The government also undertook direct engagement with Indigenous communities.

“I am thankful for Minister Clark and the provincial government’s continued engagement with municipalities.  It is evident that they are listening and giving us more flexibility and control over local decision-making to support new housing and economic development,” said Jim Harrison, Mayor of Quinte West.

In addition to updating the PPS, the government is continuing consultations on the new community benefits charge that will provide a new way for municipalities to fund community benefits, such as parks, daycares and affordable housing, making the costs of building homes more predictable and ensuring that growth continues to pay for growth. Feedback is due by March 30, 2020.

“As the collective voice of Ontario’s public libraries, the Federation of Ontario Public Libraries (FOPL) applauds the Ontario Government’s proposal to include public library capital costs as a fully cost-recoverable eligible service under the Development Charges Act,” said Julie Merritt, Chair of the Federation of Ontario Public Libraries. “We welcome the Ontario Government’s unequivocal recognition of the role that public libraries perform as critical community infrastructure in municipalities of all sizes across the province, and the importance of ensuring that municipalities are able to collect the development charges needed to help maintain strong, sustainable public libraries for current and future residents alike.”

QUICK FACTS

  • As a part of More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan, the government committed to reviewing the PPS and the way municipalities collect funds for community benefits, such as parks, daycares and affordable housing, in growing communities.
  • Updates to the PPS align with A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan and recommendations from the province’s Special Advisor on Flooding.
  • The Provincial Policy Statement, 2020 will come into effect on May 1, 2020.
  • In June 2019, Ontario launched over 140 days of consultation to gather input from municipalities, builders and the public on the new approach to funding community services. The first round of consultations on the community benefits charge also included technical working groups with municipalities and home builders.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

CONTACTS

Julie O’Driscoll
Minister’s Office
Julie.O’Driscoll@ontario.ca

Conrad Spezowka
Communications Branch
416-585-7066
mma.media@ontario.ca

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
http://www.ontario.ca/municipalaffairsandhousing

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