What’s not right with Bill 23?

Environmental, community and social justice organizations from across Ottawa are joining with the City of Ottawa in rejecting Bill 23.

The groups reject Bill 23 on the basis that it will not meaningfully increase affordable housing nor take into account environmental and food security impacts while also contributing to costly expanding sprawl.

  • The proposal will lead to environmental destruction during our declared climate emergency when we need to be protecting the green space, watersheds and the foodlands we have left.
  • Its host of policies are detrimental to legitimate and pressing concerns, including homelessness and core housing needs, housing affordability, climate risk, urban trees and parks as well as public engagement in the planning process.

Bill 23 raises a number of environmental concerns, including jeopardizing the protection of habitats, ecosystems, wetlands, urban parklands, and other greenspaces.

Bill 23  misses the mark in fostering smart development.  Ottawa is facing frequent extreme heat and more intense storms; unless buildings are designed to handle these, threats to life, health, building structures and insurance costs will multiply rapidly and Ottawa’s urban developments will become unsafe, costly and uncomfortable places to live.

  • Bill 23 effectively scraps Ottawa’s green building standard, missing climate targets while ultimately costing homeowners and renters future climate resilience
  • To the contrary, Bill 23 needs to foster smart development that takes these “new normal” conditions into account.

The bill also raises critical social concerns, with significant impacts on housing for residents experiencing housing stress or homelessness, while also penalizing renters and cutting regulations to protect tenants from renovictions. It threatens to lead to fewer municipal services, parks, neighbourhood liveability, and community benefits while also raising the likelihood of significant increases in property taxes and user fees, all at a time of high inflation and economic uncertainty, when household costs are rising and food security programs are stretched.

Densification of urban areas and an increase in housing need to be considered as an alternative to costly and unaffordable urban sprawl.  However, in realizing densification and housing, we need to do so in a smart and sustainable way that does not cause undue environmental, health, social and municipal fiscal damage.

Finally, the Bill is a real threat to democracy, as the public has not been reasonably consulted. At the very least, the Province must extend the public comment period by three months, during which time hearings need to be held in additional locations – including Ottawa.