Time to learn about Development Charges

Most people wouldn’t know a Development Charge if it jumped off their credit card statement and sat down beside them.

But these days, with countless discussion and billions of dollars being spent on transit and highway infrastructure, park land, bike lanes and just about everything in between, you can count on this: You are helping pay for it all, one way or another.

And when it comes to buying a newly built home, invariably, part of the price includes – but does not spell out – the costs for such essentials.

Welcome to the mysterious world of Development Charges.

If you’re totally unfamiliar with the term, it’s long been a contentious issue facing home builders – and therefore buyers – not just in the Greater Golden Horseshoe but across the country.

In short, Development Charges are the fees applied by various levels of government when new homes are built, to pay for new infrastructure such as roads, transit, water and sewers, community centres and fire and police facilities. DCs are collected from developers at the time a building permit is issued.

Simple enough, right? But what’s a little more complex is that these fees are rising exponentially, have been for years, and they’re occupying an increasingly high portion of new-home costs.

And they’re passed right on to you, the homebuyer.

The City of Toronto is doing its part to help educate residents and businesses by inviting them to learn more about and provide input on the City’s DC bylaw review, including the proposed rates and related bylaw policies. The City is hosting two public consultation sessions this month, as well as a statutory public meeting at Executive Committee on Jan. 24.

Most municipalities in Ontario use Development Charges to recover the cost of providing infrastructure to service new development, rather than recovering the costs from existing residents and businesses in the form of higher property taxes.

Toronto is reviewing its Development Charges bylaw, and has released a background study and the proposed bylaw for consultation. The background study determines the maximum DC rates the City can levy under the provincial Development Charges Act.

If, as a prospective new-home buyer or even just a concerned resident, you’re interested in better understanding this complex subject, now’s your chance.

You can visit toronto.ca/devcharges or register to speak at Executive Committee at exc@toronto.ca

Or, like your reaction when you see a mysterious line item appear on your credit card statement, you can wait until after the fact, when it might be too late.

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