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REGULATORY RANT: New report encourages Doug Ford government to streamline development approvals process
July 9th, 2018 11:24 am     A+ | a-

Michael de Lint / RESCON

RESCON’s latest report focuses on one factor contributing to the supply shortage: the development approvals process is too slow.

A blue ribbon advisory team of industry professionals and regulatory agency experts provided very thoughtful input over the many months spent on discussing the concepts and recommendations in RESCON’s new report on streamlining the development approvals process. Respected urban planner Bryan Tuckey, former president and CEO of BILD, served as the steering group chair.

Most would agree that we are not producing enough housing of all forms (detached, townhouses and other “missing middle,” mid-rise and high-rise) to meet demand.


“This lack of housing supply relative to demand results in artificially high prices and affordability problems,” RESCON president Richard Lyall says. “And that means that the GTA is less attractive to job-creating investors and their employees – quite apart from the problem of getting timely approvals for factories or office buildings themselves.”

Richard Lyall, RESCON president

Factors limiting new housing supply include insufficient transit capacity resulting from many years of under-investment, as well as a bureaucratic and very lengthy development approvals process which is the focus of this report. Long delays in development approvals result in more uncertainty and costs for builders, resulting in fewer projects undertaken causing an artificial reduction in new supply.

RESCON’s report outlines some back to basics ideas on how we can speed up the approval process machinery. These include the need for better compliance with timeframes and revising some existing timeframes that are too long. We also need more transparency on regulatory requirements, criteria and procedures. More transparency allows for more complete professional submissions, which allow regulatory agencies, embracing efficient state-of-the-art e-permitting and BIM technology, to focus more on expert auditing so that they can issue approvals more quickly. 

Bryan Tuckey, former president and CEO of BILD

The ideas in this report support the objectives of the Province’s Development Approvals Roundtable Action Plan. There is much to be done to streamline Ontario’s development approval in the face of strong demand for housing. This report outlines some ideas for provincial action and includes suggestions for further research. I also plan to post more information related to approvals streamlining, including material on e-permitting and best practices, here at

The report’s recommendations can help Ontario achieve high levels of sustained housing supply, more building innovation, while maintaining the GTA’s high standard of urban design and liveability.

Click here to read the press release.

Click here to read the report.

Thanks for reading! Please let us know your thoughts.

Michael de Lint is RESCON’s director of building regulatory reform and technical standards. Email him at

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