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‘Massive mistake’: Premier Ford rules out Ontario-wide fourplex policy

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is shutting down efforts to introduce fourplexes in neighbourhoods across the province, calling the policy a “massive mistake” that would raise the ire of residents living in traditional single-family suburbs.

At a housing-related announcement in Richmond Hill, Ford said the policy is “off the table” for his government after weeks of active discussions at Queen’s Park over whether to allow developers to build up to four units on a single property without municipal approval.

“I can assure you 1,000 per cent, you go into communities and start putting up four-storey, six-storey, eight-storey buildings right deep into communities, there’s going to be a lot of shouting and screaming,” Ford said.

“We are not going to go into communities and build four-storey or six-storey buildings beside residents.”

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The premier’s comments immediately led to criticism from political opponents who are accusing Ford of siding with NIMBYs (not in my backyard) who are often decried as a stumbling block to housing construction.

“This is a NIMBY government that only cares about looking out for their rich friends and well-connected insiders,” said Ontario Liberal Leader Bonnie Crombie.

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The fourplex policy comes directly from the province’s 2022 Housing Affordability Taskforce report, commissioned by the Ford government in the run-up to the last election.

The report found greenlighting four-unit buildings on a single residential lot as of right would “allow more kinds of housing that are accessible” to a wider range of people.

“It will get more housing built in existing neighbourhoods more quickly than any other measure,” the report said.

The policy is one the Ford government has not implemented, even as it struggles to meet its goal of 1.5 million new homes by 2031.

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Ford is also facing criticism for outlining specific types of housing his government is looking to build.

“We’re going to build homes, single-dwelling homes townhomes, that’s what we’re going to focus on,” Ford said on Thursday.

Mike Moffatt, senior director of policy and innovation at the Smart Prosperity Institute, called the premier’s comments “exceptionally disappointing.”

“Why did the province set a unit target (which inexplicably counts a long-term care bed as a house), if they’re focused on these two housing types (which we’re building very few of?),” Moffatt said on social media.

“Ontario is not serious about the housing crisis,” Moffatt added.

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