NAIOP Greater Toronto has established itself as a leader in public policy issues at the municipal and provincial levels. With nearly 1300 members, our collective voice is strong and we are recognized as an important voice of the commercial real estate industry, working on our own and in collaboration with a coalition of real estate industry organizations. In 2018, NAIOP continued to speak on issues of importance to our membership, including:
City of Toronto major planning exercise: “TOcore”
The City of Toronto completed a major planning exercise (“TOcore”) to establish a 25-year vision for the downtown. The proposals had significant implications for the commercial development industry. NAIOP Greater Toronto worked with City of Toronto Planning Staff over many months to ensure that the plan was more balanced and better accommodated commercial realities. Ultimately the plan included increased flexibility for mixed use and less stringent requirements for commercial developments. TOcore is being reviewed by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and NAIOP remains involved in the provincial consultation process.
Commerical-to-Residential Property Tax Ratio
Commercial properties in Toronto pay approximately 2.8 times residential property tax rate. NAIOP Greater Toronto is part of an industry coalition seeking to reduce the commercial-to-residential tax ratio to no greater than 2:1, something closer to the ratio in surrounding jurisdictions. As a result of our combined efforts, City staff and the Mayor are committed to an ongoing ratio reduction program that keeps Toronto competitive.
Toronto’s Development Charges Review
NAIOP Greater Toronto worked closely with the City on the five-year review of the Development Charges (DC) by-law. Our efforts along with BILD and REALPAC resulted in the continued inclusion of the commercial development exemption, reductions to the proposed rate, a two-year phase in process, and, an agreement for DCs to be payable upon first permit once the rates have been fully phased in by November 1, 2020.
TCDSB Education Development Charges
Alongside our colleagues, NAIOP Greater Toronto participated in the Toronto Catholic District School Board’s Education Development Charges (EDC) review. The Board had proposed dramatic increases to the EDC rates. We raised numerous concerns about the proposed increase and flaws with the report on which the increase was based. The Minister of Education froze rates until the Ministry completes a review of Education Development Charge policy framework.
MPAC’S ‘Highest and Best Use’ Assessment Methodology
Commercial properties across the GTA have seen dramatic increases to their assessments, largely due to MPAC’s increased use of ‘highest and best use’ methodology. Working with other industry groups, NAIOP Greater Toronto has recommended that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs require that MPAC base assessments on current use until a development permit is issued. We are continuing this work.