On February 2nd, 2022, Toronto City Council voted 19-5 in favour of the new Garden Suite zoning by-law amendment, effectively permitting homeowners across the city to construct detached secondary suites to the rear of their properties through a streamlined approvals process. Following the adoption of any motion by city council, there is a mandatory period where only the minister of municipal affairs may file an appeal prior to motions formal ratification into a by-law. The appeal period for garden suites was set to expire on Monday March 7th, 2022.
Our team received unfortunate news from the city yesterday that there was an appeal filed against the garden suite draft by-law.
The appellant, the “Alliance of Toronto Residents’ Associations” is a group of Residents’ Associations including:
- Cliffcrest Scarborough Village SQW Residents Association – Scarborough district
- Long Branch Neighbourhood Association – Etobicoke and York district
- Don Mills Residents Inc. – North York district
- South Armour Heights Residents’ Association – North York district
- Bedford-Wanless Ratepayers Association – North York district
- Swansea Area Ratepayers’ Association – Toronto and East York district
- Confederation of Resident and Ratepayer Associations in Toronto (CORRA) – all districts
Considering the appeal is not from the Minister of Municipal Affairs, it should be considered invalid and irrelevant, and will be thrown out by the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT).
While this may be the case, the OLT must still process the appeal and heat the item before it gets dismissed – a process that will take 6-8 months.
This is an unfortunate hiccup in what would be an incredibly progressive policy that is a major tool in combatting Toronto’s ongoing housing crisis. Our team again commends Toronto city council, planning staff and all stakeholders involved in the process of developing this framework while ensuring the regulations are sensitive to all contexts. This Garden Suite policy will be passed, but it is going to take more time and effort.
A self-interested minority of ill-informed NIMBYs are temporarily holding Toronto hostage and preventing families from housing loved ones, delaying new buyers from affording income-producing properties, and adding much-needed rental opportunities to combat Toronto’s essentially zero-vacancy rate.
Do not be discouraged. The garden suite permissions are imminent. In the meantime, we highly encourage making your voice heard by contacting your local councillor, MPP, and residents’ association. As always, our team will provide regular updates as they become available. Follow our socials for updates. Remember, making positive change comes with time, numbers, and diligence!