Your Input is Needed – Hamilton Chamber of Commerce: Open for Business Survey

The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce is preparing an Open for Business report for the City of Hamilton, which will focus on development red tape in Hamilton.

For the report, the Chamber has asked RAHB to provide feedback on the current development processes at the City. Ultimately, the Chamber is looking to accomplish the following:

  1. Review existing rules and processes for development in Hamilton
  2. Compare these processes to other cities
  3. Offer recommendations for city staff to improve

Members of the RAHB Government Relations Committee will be participating in a focus group to answer questions with the Chamber; however, we also want to extend the opportunity for all members to provide valuable feedback.

Please find below a link to an online survey to provide answers to questions posed by the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce for their report.

Hamilton Chamber – Open for Business Survey

This survey will be open until 4:30 on Thursday, May 30.

There are several questions, and so we ask that you only complete as many questions as you like. Any feedback you provide is greatly appreciated.

Your answers are anonymous.

Once the report is completed and submitted to the City of Hamilton, we will be sure to share it with RAHB members.

Thank you in advance for your participation.

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Update – City of Burlington Downtown Development Freeze

On March 5, the City of Burlington approved an Interim Control Bylaw (ICBL) for development within areas of downtown and around the Burlington GO station. To read the Bylaw passed on March 5, please click the below button:

Burlington Interim Control Bylaw

UPDATE – On April 25, the City of Burlington passed an amendment to the Control Bylaw that includes several exemptions.

Exemptions from the ICBL can be allowed in the study area (areas in the downtown and around the Burlington GO station) if your planned construction, alteration or expansion includes:

  • a zoning clearance certificate and/or building permit for a deck, pool, patio, fence, porch, accessory building or structure, temporary building or structure, or interior renovation to an existing building;
  • a site plan application that is currently in process or approved on the date of the passage of the ICBL (March 5) – those include:
    • 374-380 Martha St.;
    • 490-492 Brock Ave/1298 Ontario St;
    • 421 Brant St;
    • 442 Pearl St;
    • 471 Pearl St.;
    • 2030 Caroline St/510 Elizabeth St/2025 Maria St; and
    • 2092 Old Lakeshore Rd.
    • The Director of City of Building indicated during the April 2 P&D Committee Meeting that there were no other site plans in process or approved prior to March 5 that qualify for an exemption;
  • A Committee of Adjustment application under Sec. 45(1) of the Planning Act that includes any of the criteria identified in the first point.

The City of Burlington has confirmed with RAHB that the Interim Control Bylaw still applies to the construction of new homes and additions to existing homes.

To read the complete exemption report, please click the below button:

Interim Control Bylaw – Exemptions

We will continue to notify members of any changes to this bylaw, and will be advocating for the City of Burlington to lift the Interim Control Bylaw.

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New Hamilton Sign By-Law Fines

On April 30, the City of Hamilton proposed adding the Sign By-Law (10-197) to the Administrative Penalty System By-Law (17-225). This effectively means that real estate signs (open house, for sale lawn signs) that do not adhere to the current City of Hamilton Sign By-Law will receive fines of approximately $50-$100 per infraction.

This change will be going before Hamilton City Council on Wednesday, May 8 where we anticipate it will be approved.

Below are some of the proposed fines that will have a direct impact on REALTORS® conducting business in Hamilton:

 

Open House Directional Sign – Each has a related fine of $100

  • Permit/display open house directional sign before 10 a.m. of the day of the open house
  • Permit/display open house directional sign after 6 p.m. of the day of the open house
  • Permit/display open house directional sign with more than 0.5m² sign area
  • Permit/display open house directional sign on a traffic island
  • Permit/display open house directional sign on median
  • Permit/display open house directional sign attached to light standard
  • Permit/display open house directional sign attached to a utility pole
  • Permit/display open house directional sign less than 0.3m from the sidewalk

 

Real Property Sale/Lease/Rent Sign – Each has a related fine of $100

  • Permit/display real property sale/lease/rent sign for more than 14 days after a firm sale is reported to the local realtors
  • Permit/display real property sale/lease/rent sign for one dwelling more than 0.6m² sign area
  • Permit/display real property sale/lease/rent sign for other than one dwelling more than 4.0m² sign area
  • Permit/display real property sale/lease/rent sign with illumination
  • Permit/display real property sale/lease/rent sign on property not being sold/leased/rented

 

Penalties and Enforcement – Each has a related fine of $500

  • Person contravened a provision of the Sign By-Law
  • Person failed to comply with an order made under Sign By-Law

 

Please see below for links to previous blog posts regarding Sign By-Laws:

 

Please click the below button for the complete proposed Sign By-Law infraction fines:

 

Read Full Proposed Sign By-Law Fines

 

See pages 46 and 47 to see the direct impact on REALTORS® conducting business in Hamilton.

An e-mail will be sent out to RAHB members about the finalized information regarding the Sign By-Law once it is approved at Council.

 

 

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Province of Ontario Releases Housing Supply Action Plan

On May 2, the Ontario Government released their Housing Supply Action Plan (HSAP).

Read Full Supply Action Plan Here

In HSAP, the Ontario Government is working on cutting red tape and reducing regulations so the people of Ontario can build homes that will both meet their needs and budget. Additionally, the Ontario Government’s plan will, as a result, spur innovation while protecting tenants, health and safety, cultural heritage, and the environment.

Overall, the Ontario Government is working to address Ontario’s housing crisis by providing a plan that will make housing both affordable and effortless to build. The Ontario Government is planning to do so in five ways:

  1. Make the development approval process faster
  2. Make costs more predictable when building a new home
  3. Make a mix of different types of housing
  4. Make it easier to build rental housing
  5. Make the Ontario housing sector more innovative by encouraging creative housing designs and materials

In addition to previously-announced initiatives for housing, the HSAP specifically speaks to legislation and policy changes to increase housing supply, protection of historical and environmental resources, increasing rental resources, and consumer protection. These are outlined below.

 

Making it Easier to Build More Housing

The Ontario Government is attempting to make it easier to build new housing by proposing amendments to various legislation and regulatory processes:

Planning Act:

  • New planning decision timeline of 120 days for official plans, 90 days for zoning by-laws, and 120 days for plans of subdivisions
  • Make it easier to create residential units above garages for detached, semi-detached, and row houses in both the primary dwelling and ancillary building or structure
  • Build both housing and affordable housing near transit
  • Streamline the planning approval process to 45 days to help municipalities implement community planning permit systems
  • Create the new community benefits authority to make upfront development costs more predictable by replacing the existing density bonus provision
  • Create more clarity on what communities and developers can build and where to build

 

Local Planning Appeal Tribunal:

  • Hire more adjudicators to help address the backlog of legacy cases
  • Ensure the tribunal has the power and resources needed
  • Allow the tribunal to make planning decisions in place of Council

 

Provincial Policy Statement

  • Encourage the development of more and different types of housing
  • Reduce costs for developers and provide greater predictability
  • Update planning and development policies to reflect Ontario’s changing needs

 

Development Charges Act

  • Reduce the costs to build priority housing types, such as second units
  • Fully cover municipality waste diversion costs
  • Make the costs of development clear from the outset

 

Ontario Building Code

  • Remove the requirement that all new homes include the infrastructure for an electric vehicle charge station
  • Harmonize Ontario Code with National Codes to open new markets for manufacturing and bring building costs down

 

Protecting Natural and Historic Resources

The Ontario Government will aim to maintain national and historic resources protected by proposing amendments to various legislation:

Ontario Heritage Act

  • Maintain local control over heritage conservation decisions while providing clear direction and timelines for local decision makers
  • Ensuring municipal decisions on designation and alternations to heritage properties can be appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT), whose decisions are binding

 

Environmental Assessment Act & Environment Protection Act

  • Streamline processes for projects that pose little risk to the environment
  • Reduce the amount of soil sent to landfills from constructions sites by making it easier and safer to reuse soil
  • Clarify the rules and remove an unnecessary barrier to building on vacant land
  • Improve service standards to reduce the delays

 

Rental Resources

  • Create more rental units and work toward cutting red tape around development approvals so new homes will become available to renter sooner
  • Work with municipalities and businesses to find housing solutions to attract investment and jobs
  • Aid homeowners to create secondary legal suits by providing a user-friendly checklist
  • Clarify rules and help people understand how to take advantage of creative solutions, such as tiny homes, laneway housing, co-home ownership, etc.

 

Consumer Protection

  • Making it easier for new home buyers to check out a developer’s track record in the Ontario Builder Directory
  • Adding more proactive, risk-based inspections by Tarion during construction to make sure homes are built properly
  • When new home buyers have problems, creating an easy-to-use process to help them resolve disputes quickly and fairly
  • Transforming the Tarion Warranty Corporation, which protects new home buyers against shoddy construction and delays – so home builders aren’t regulating themselves
  • Strengthening protections for new home buyers and helping people who have bought condominiums, only to have the project cancelled

 

In summary, Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan aims to foster growth in the housing market across Ontario.

For more information on Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan, please click on the link here.

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2019 Provincial Budget

The 2019 Ontario Provincial Budget was released on April 11, 2019. Please click below to access the entire budget.

2019 Ontario Budget

 

Below are links several areas that specifically relate to Hamilton, housing and real estate.

The President of the Treasury Board, Peter Bethlenfalvy, was in Hamilton on April 12 to provide a brief overview of the budget and answer questions. RAHB asked, “How will the Ontario Government, through the 2019 Budget, help Ontarians to afford a home (both rent and own) comfortably?” Mr. Bethlenfalvy’s answer is in the below video.

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City of Hamilton Mayor’s Breakfast

On Wednesday, April 10 the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual Mayor’s Breakfast. A table of RAHB representatives attended and a question was asked on behalf of the association about affordable housing.

Mayor Eisenberger mentioned that they will be looking into secondary or accessory suites to increase rental stocks, as well as lane way housing.

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CIty of Hamilton Development Charges Update

On February 19 and March 25, the City of Hamilton Development Charges Stakeholder Sub-Committee met to review the proposal for exemptions and changes to the current development charges, and vote as to which changes/exemptions would be put forward for public consultation. RAHB participates within this sub-committee.

There will be a public meeting held on April 18 starting at 9:30 a.m., then recessed until 7 p.m. to ensure members of the public are able to attend and present their delegations.

If you have any objections to the below report or items carried, we encourage you to attend the meeting and provide a delegation with your argument. In order to present a delegation, please visit the City of Hamilton website at https://www.hamilton.ca/council-committee/council-committee-meetings/request-speak-committee-council and complete the required forms.

Below is the link to the full 630 page Development Charges Background Study:

2019 Development Charges Background Study – Full 630 pages

Below is the summary of the report that was presented to the sub-committee:

2019 Development Charges Background Study Summary

Below are the items voted upon and carried:

The Committee considered the staff recommendations and alternative recommendations for the following Development Charges exemption policies:

(i) Parking Structures
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law not provide an exemption for commercial parking.

(ii) Covered Sports Field
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law not provide an exemption for covered sports fields.

(iii) Small Industrial Rate
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law not provide a lower rate for small industrial developments.

(iv) Academic – Post Secondary / Not-for-Profit / Elementary/Secondary
That the 2019 Development Charge By-law continue to charge only the Transit component of the Development Charges for postsecondary academic space.

  1.  That the 2019 Development Charges By-law not provide an Academic Space exemption; and,
  2. That the 2019 Development Charges By-law require documentation from developers to support the mandatory exemption as a Crown agent.

(v) Affordable Housing
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law not provide an exemption for affordable housing.
(Note – the removal of the exemption was because the file was moved to another funding agent.)

(vi) Places of Worship
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law provide an exemption for Places of Worship, with clarification that revenue generating space is not exempt.

(vii) Public Hospitals
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law not provide exemptions for public hospitals.

(viii) Downtown Public Art Reserve Voluntary Contributions
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law maintain the current exemption for Downtown Public Art Reserve Voluntary Contributions, with an annual limit of $250,000 on the contributions that will be accepted by the City under this program.

(ix) Heritage Buildings
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law maintain the current exemption within the existing building envelope except for sections that are not covered by the Heritage designation.

(x) Redevelopment for Residential Facility
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law maintain the exemption for Redevelopment for Residential Facility.

(xi) Industrial Rate
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law maintain the current exemption, and continue with a 39% reduction, by charging 100% of the water and wastewater charges, and adjusting the percentage charged for services related to a highway component to achieve a combined reduction of 39%.

(xii) Expansion of an Existing Industrial Development
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law maintain the 50% Industrial expansion exemption as written in the 2014 Development Charges By-law, as amended.

(xiii) Transition Policy
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law maintain the Transition Policy tied to building permit applications.

(xiv) Student Residences
That the exemption for Student Residences be maintained in the 2019 Development Charges By-law until June 30, 2020.

(xv) Agriculture
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law redefine the agriculture definition to exclude cannabis growing and processing, and charge the industrial Development Charge rate.

  1. That the 2019 Development Charges By-law not provide an exemption for farm help houses; and
  2. That the 2019 Development Charges By-law require proof of a farm business registration number to receive the agriculture Development Charge exemption.

(xvi) New Non-Industrial (Commercial/Institutional) Stepped Rates
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law continue stepped rates for office, excluding medical office; continue stepped rates within the City’s CIPA (Community Improvement Plan Areas) and BIA’s (Business Improvement Areas); and, remove stepped rates for all other development.

(xvii) Expansion of Existing Non-Industrial (Commercial/Institutional)
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law only provide a 5,000 square feet exemption for office, excluding medical office; and, remove the exemption for all other non-industrial development.

(xviii) Downtown Hamilton CIPA

  1. That the 2019 Development Charges By-law continue to provide a 70% CIPA exemption for major office developments (Class A – greater than 20,000 square feet gross floor area), whether or not the development is a standalone office;
  2. That for other development within the Downtown Hamilton

 

CIPA:

July 6, 2019 – July 5, 2020 60% exemption
July 6, 2020 – July 5, 2021 50% exemption
July 6, 2021 – July 5, 2022 40% exemption
July 6, 2022 – July 5, 2023 40% exemption
July 6, 2023 – July 5, 2024 40% exemption

(iii) That the 2019 Development Charges By-law maintain the same height limits on exemption use; and,

(iv) That the 2019 Development Charges By-law add clarity that the Downtown Hamilton CIPA exemption cannot be combined/stacked with other Development Charge exemptions and that the Downtown Hamilton CIPA exemption will not be applied if other exemptions result in a lower amount payable.

(xix) Laneway Housing
That the 2019 Development Charges By-law exempt laneway housing.

(xx) Non-industrial Uses Charged Industrial Rate

  1. That the 2019 Development Charges By-law not provide the industrial rate for self-storage facilities or hotels; and,
  2. That the 2019 Development Charges By-law provide the industrial rate for film, production and artists’ studios.

(xxi) Other Development Charges Policies

  1. That the 2019 Development Charges By-law maintain the ability to offset Development Charges with an ERASE (Environmental Remediation and Site Enhancement Redevelopment Program) grant, and require security through a Development Charge Deferral Agreement; and,
  2. That the 2019 Development Charges By-law, respecting Deferral Agreements, maintain the existing policy and add:
    1. That staff be authorized to negotiate extensions of Development Charges Deferral Agreements of up to two years;
    2. That staff be authorized to enter into Development Charges Deferral Agreements related to Podium Developments to delay timing and applicable rate of Development Charge payment to the issuance of each structure permit (no time limit); and,
    3. That staff be authorized to enter into zero interest Development Charge Deferral Agreements where a developer is applying their ERASE grant to offset the Development Charges (no time limit).

If you have any questions, please contact Wendy in the RAHB office at wendys@rahb.ca or via phone at 905.529.8101 x295.

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Federal Budget 2019

On March 19, the Federal Government presented the 2019 Budget. Some highlights are below:

An Affordable Place to Call Home

The Canada Training Benefit

  • A new, non-taxable Canada Training Credit to help Canadians with the cost of training fees.
  • A new Employment Insurance Training Support Benefit to provide workers with up to four weeks of income support through the Employment Insurance (EI) system.
  • New leave provisions to protect workers’ ability to take time away from work to pursue training.
  • For more information on the above three items, please visit https://www.budget.gc.ca/2019/docs/themes/good-jobs-de-bons-emplois-en.html

A Secure and Dignified Retirement for Canadians

  • Improving the economic security of low-income seniors by enhancing the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) earning exemption.
  • Additional funding for the New Horizons for Seniors Program
  • Making sure eligible Canadians receive their pension benefits.
  • For information on the above three items, please visit https://www.budget.gc.ca/2019/docs/themes/seniors-aines-en.html

Moving Forward on Implementing National Pharmacare

For an overview of the entire 2019 Budget, please click below for more information:

More Information

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The Ontario Government is Consulting on REBBA Reform – and They Want to Hear From You!

The Ontario government launched a consultation on a broad range of possible changes to the Real Estate and Business Broker Act, 2002 (REBBA). The government is seeking feedback in many areas, including multiple representation, transparency in the offer process, and salesperson incorporation.

Feedback Survey

RECO encourages all brokers and salespeople to participate by reading the government’s consultation paper and submitting comments. Click here to read the paper.

Updating REBBA will ensure that the legislation keeps pace with the evolving real estate marketplace. To learn about RECO’s position on REBBA reform, check out Proposals for REBBA Reform.

The government will be accepting feedback until March 15, 2019.

For more information about the consultation process, please see the Ontario government’s news release.

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Directional and Open House Signs

According to RAHB Rules and Regulations, Section 10 – Advertising, Sub-section 10.03 which states:

10.03 Signs giving notice of sale, rent, lease, development, exchange or open house shall not be placed on any property by more than one Brokerage, unless authorized by the Seller. Signs may only be erected on locations that conform with Municipal and Provincial sign legislation, all applicable laws, regulations, codes and bylaws. A Member shall not interfere with another Brokerage’s sign, unless such property is subsequently listed by said Member.

City of Hamilton- Open House signs permitted only on the day of the Open House, no earlier than 10 a.m. and no later than 6 p.m. Only one Open House sign is permitted per intersection per property. Directional signs are not permitted any other time.

City of Burlington – Open House signs permitted three days prior to Open House and must come down one day later. Directional signs are not permitted any other time.

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Rental Licensing Update

At the City Council meeting on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 the Hamilton City Council directed City staff to draft a plan for a potential rental licensing pilot project in Wards 1 & 8. This includes education for landlords and tenants, considerations of financial offsets and a review for all affordable housing and potential displacement issues.
We thank the City of Hamilton Council for listening to our concerns.
The report will go to the Planning Committee for review and additional delegations in 2019.

On Tuesday, December 11, 2018, the City of Hamilton Planning Committee met to evaluate the rental licensing pilot project proposal. For information on the pilot project proposal, please visit https://blog.rahb.ca/?p=23462. The recommendation/motion for the pilot project insinuated that the pilot project would be voted on at the Planning Committee, then go to Hamilton Council on December 19 for final vote, and then be implemented within the first quarter of 2019.

 

We are happy to inform members that the decision on a rental licensing pilot project in Wards 1 and 8 was postponed until at least the next Hamilton Planning Committee meeting to take place in 2019.

 

During the meeting there were 17 delegates – 15 spoke in opposition of rental licensing and two (McMaster Student’s Union and ACORN) spoke in favour. The incoming RAHB Government Relations Chair, Margaret Reid, spoke to the issue reiterating RAHB’s concerns with the pilot project as proposed. RAHB also co-authored a letter with the Hamilton and District Apartment Association, that was sent to Hamilton City Council and media on December 10 highlighting the issues with rental licensing. The letter can be found at https://www.rahb.ca/RentalLicensingLetter_10Dec2018.pdf.

 

After the delegations and much discussion by the Planning Committee, it was decided that amendments would be made to the proposal. Hamilton City Staff are to develop a comprehensive plan for the potential rental licensing pilot project, that includes:

  • concrete metrics for success
  • education for both tenants and landlords
  • an analysis of staffing levels
  • an analysis of the financial offsets for such a project, and
  • a review of the affordable housing and potential displacement issues of such a project.

 

This draft plan will need to go to another Planning Committee meeting, where delegates will again be able to speak. We will be sure to keep members informed of any developments.

 

We thank Margaret Reid for speaking on behalf of RAHB, as well as other RAHB members, such as Paul Martindale and Donna Bacher, for voicing their concerns in an effort to postpone a decision on rental licensing. We also thank Bob Van de Vrande, Nic von Bredow, Lou Piriano, Andrew Robertson and other RAHB members who attended the meeting to support our efforts.

 

We will continue to work with our partners at the HDAA, Hamilton Councillors, Hamilton City Staff and other important stakeholders to ensure we are a part of the discussion and that our members are fully informed.

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Ontario REALTOR® Party Conference 2018

Earlier this week, RAHB President Jack Loft, CEO George O’Neill, Government Relations (GR) Chair Nic von Bredow, GR Vice-Chair Margaret Reid, and GR Staff Liaison Wendy Stewart attended the Ontario REALTOR® Party Conference in Toronto.

The delegates enjoyed talks/presentations from:

  • Nik Nanos, who spoke on a snapshot of the numbers for Ontario and Canadian Politics
  • David McNaughton, Ambassador of Canada to the United States
  • Three Doug Ford insiders: Melissa Lantsman (Hill & Knowlton), Michael Coates (Rubicon Strategies) and Mike Diamond (Upstream Strategies).
  • Queen’s Park Media Panel: Marieke Walsh (iPolitics), Robert Benzie (Toronto Star) and Alan Carter (Global News)
  • A political pundits panel: Warren Kinsella (Daisy Consulting Group), Kathleen Monk (Earnscliffe Strategy Group) and Char Rogers (Chestview Strategy)
  • The Honourable Doug Ford, Premier and Leader of the PC Party
  • Andrea Horwath, Leader of the NDP
  • John Fraser, Interim Leader of the Liberal Party
  • Mike Schreiner, Leader of the Green Party of Ontario
  • A panel of new MPPs: Stan Cho (Willowdale), Bhutila Karpoche (Parkdale- High Park) and Stephen Lecce (King-Vaughan)
  • The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Canada’s 22nd Prime Minister

 

The conference also included meetings with MPPs to talk about the issues:

Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 (REBBA) Reform for:

  • Enforcement
  • Better consumer protection
  • Cutting real estate red tape

 

Tax Fairness for real estate professionals because:

  • The current system is unfair to REALTORS®
  • There is a need to cut additional red tape
  • There will be minimal revenue implications
  • It strengthens consumer protection

Delegates from RAHB met with:

– Paul Miller, MPP for Hamilton East – Stoney Creek

– Effie Triantafilopoulos, MPP for Oakville North – Burlington

– Monique Taylor, MPP for Hamilton Mountain

– Jane McKenna, MPP for Burlington

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