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OSV responds to Bill 185, "Cutting Red Tape to Build More Homes Act, 2024"

On June 6, 2024 Bill 185, "Cutting Red Tape to Build More Homes Act, 2024" received royal assent. The bill's key objectives include simplifying approval processes by amending various statutes to shorten housing project timelines, reducing regulatory requirements by eliminating outdated regulations that delay construction and enhancing municipal powers to allow local decisions that support housing growth. 

Here are some of Bill 185’s key highlights:


  • Schedule 12, Section 1 (Upper-Tier Municipalities Planning Responsibilities): Bill 185 amends the Planning Act to change the status of some upper-tier municipalities "without planning responsibility," which was first introduced in Bill 23. The Regional Municipalities of Halton, Peel, and York will become upper-tier municipalities without planning responsibilities. The County of Simcoe, the Regional Municipalities of Durham, Niagara, and Waterloo will be granted this status later.

  • Schedule 12, Section 2 (Limitation on Parking Requirements): Through Bill 185, the Ontario government aims to reduce housing costs near transit areas by introducing new provisions to the Planning Act. These provisions limit the ability of official plans and zoning by-laws to mandate parking facilities in Protected Major Transit Station Areas, allowing developers to decide the number of parking spaces required near major transit stations. 

  • Schedule 12, Section 9 (Additional Residential Units): The bill will remove zoning barriers that discourage the construction of additional residential units. This would allow the Minister to remove zoning barriers for small multi-unit residential developments. 

  • “All colleges and universities would also be required to publish student housing policies to ensure students have access to and awareness of student housing options that are safe, affordable and within an easy commute to campus.”

OSV recognizes that Bill 185 aims to increase housing supply, reduce costs, lower rents, and promote diverse housing options. By speeding up the construction of new homes and removing red tape, the bill could alleviate housing shortages and result in more affordable housing options, ultimately benefiting students in the long run. In relation to direct impacts that students can feel right away, the bill targets student housing in a very limited way, so the immediate impact on student-specific accommodations might be minimal. Changes in planning responsibilities and regulatory processes might take time to implement, potentially delaying the benefits for current students. Additionally, housing market dynamics, including location, demand, and the type of housing being built, will ultimately determine whether students directly benefit from these changes, even with an increased housing supply.

Overall, while Bill 185 could create a more favourable housing environment that benefits students indirectly, its primary focus is on broader housing market improvements rather than targeting student specific needs directly and we will keep advocating to the provincial government for increased support for students housing needs.

About the Ontario Student Voices

Ontario Student Voices is a non-profit provincial student advocacy group representing students across Ontario. Our mission is to be the voice for College and Polytechnic students across Ontario, bringing awareness to the issues that impact them. Through collaborative advocacy efforts, we work with various stakeholders to create a better Ontario for the next generation of students.


Lynn Courville

Executive Director for the Ontario Student Voices


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