farm lot severing a hot topic in Ontario

Ontario provincial Housing Minister Steve Clark Initially proposed Ontario Bill 97.  Bill-97 is the latest legislative amendment to the Housing Supply Action Plan, and contained ways to increase housing supply in the province—all part of Ontario’s targeted goal to construct 1.5 million new homes by 2031.

The main area of concern regarding Bill-97 was that if passed, it would allow a farm owner to sever their farm into three lots for children or workers to build homes upon—helping Ontario meet that housing target.

However, the ag community felt that if Bill-97 was to pass, and it allowed the severing of farm property into lots, it would fragment the farmland and make it more difficult for farmers to do their jobs.

It was also feared that it would limit the growth of farms, drive the price of farmland up, lead to conflict between farmers and neighbours such as over noise and smells, and permanently take valuable land out of food production.

And so, on May 31, 2023, Bill-97 as it was written, was halted in its process to create more housing.

It was not, however, killed. The ERO period was extended, but the government hasn’t actually abandoned Bill-97. At this time, Bill-97 is being looked at to see how it can be amended. It’s still alive, but the next time it is presented, it will look different—more than likely without the hot-button topic of farm lot severing involved

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