Ontario Bill 23
I want to update you about proposed legislation in Ontario that threatens the uptake of Passive House standard by municipalities. Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act, was introduced by the Provincial Government late last month. There are many problems with this bill, but most important to us is that it would remove site plan control from the hands of municipalities and would abolish all green standards for building in Ontario, including the Toronto Green Standard, which is a landmark green standard in North America. We are concerned at the speed at which this bill is moving through to final vote, the oversight of floodplains and wetlands it will strip from Ontario conservation authorities, and the removal of green building standards – all in the name of the affordable housing crisis.
As I’ve written before, the 2020 National Building code and Ontario building code lacks ambition when it comes to targeting emissions in buildings. As a result, municipalities must use their own green building standards as a tool to reduce GHG emissions in new buildings. In cities like Toronto where buildings account for 55 per cent of GHG emissions (TransformTO), the Toronto Green Standard (TGS) is critical for the advancement of healthier, more sustainable communities.
This is a serious blow for improved building standards in Ontario. The 2020 Building Code will not adequately address climate concerns, health and equity concerns, or economic competitiveness for municipalities. Green standards push industry forward on these fronts and set municipalities and people up for long term success.
This bill will likely be passed in the coming weeks, if not sooner, but efforts are underway by stakeholders and PHC to attempt to remove the following text from the proposed legislation and empower municipalities to implement green standards.
“(2) Subparagraph 2 iv of subsection 114 (5) of the Act is repealed.” (City of Toronto Act)
“(2) Subparagraph 2 (d) of subsection 41 (4) of the Act is repealed.” (Planning Act)
Eliminating green building requirements will not fast track construction of homes in Ontario, it will just force Ontarian to live in unhealthy homes, perhaps located in floodplains and in former wetlands.
You can make a written or in-person submission to the Committee studying the Bill. Learn more by clicking here.
Passive House Canada recently submitted comments on proposed changes to the BC building code. Some of the new amendments represent a watering down of the code, a concerning development for a code intended to exceed the National Building Code. The proposed revisions include the use of the reference building approach, a peak cooling load requirement and an alternate compliance option for buildings targeting Steps 3 to 5, rather than the use of performance-based criteria. (You can read more about PHC’s position on these measures in a letter we wrote to the Canadian Commission of Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC) earlier this year here.)
There is currently a codes consultation open for the next edition of the Ontario Building Code (OBC). We encourage all our members to submit feedback and have your voice heard by December 9.
Lastly, the CCBFC has also opened consultation for proposed changes to the 2020 National Model Code and you can submit feedback by December 23.