Rallying against Bill 23!

Across Ontario, organizations and individuals committed to affordable housing, environmental protection and democracy have been rallying against Bill 23, now enacted as the More Houses, Built Faster Act. This complex legislation fundamentally undermines our democratic principles. You can read more here.

We continue to reject Bill 23 because it is a threat to democracy, the environment, and affordability and livability for Ontarians, including direct implications here in Ottawa.

The legislation passed despite staunch opposition from wide ranging groups including Conservation Authorities and Mayors in Eastern Ontario worried about environmental protection, Chiefs of Ontario and First Nations oppose Bill 23 due to “its clear violation of First Nations constitutionally protected, inherent and Treaty rights and its inevitable adverse environmental impacts on First Nations ancestral and traditional territories” and housing and homelessness advocates concerned about the attacks on affordable housing. Municipalities across the province have expressed their opposition to cutting funding from development charges, with Mayor of Mississauga Bonnie Crombie warning that property taxes in her city “will be funding developer profits” and average property tax bills will go up 5-10% for the next decade. The linked consultation on opening the Greenbelt around Toronto has also drawn criticism from many quarters, including Parks Canada

Bill 23 was still under consultation when the Auditor General’s annual report was issued, setting out her concerns that the Province isn’t making changes to reduce flood risks: “Wetlands are particularly important for reducing flood risk, due to their ability to provide shortterm water storage during heavy rains. Despite provincial policies to protect them, wetlands and other green spaces continue to be lost across the province. Over the past 20 years, the percentage of urban land area classified as green has declined in 94% of Ontario’s medium and large urban centres.” That problem only grows with Bill 23 now passed. Ontario’s Integrity Commissioner has now been asked to investigate whether ethics rules were broken. We have to ask, at what point will MPPs in Ontario’s Progressive Conservative party take note of this chorus of opposition? 

Here you can see photos from our rally with Peoples Official Plan coalition members on 15 November 2022 at City Hall where we stood in solidarity with our freshly inaugurated City Councillors in opposition to Bill 23.

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Courthouse rally and next steps

Ecology Ottawa made a written submission on the environmental threats posed by Bill 23 and as members of the Peoples Official Plan, we also made a collective submission addressing the affordability, livability and democratic threats posed by Bill 23. Further, you can see Ecology Ottawa's written submission on the anti-democratic "strong mayors" Bill 39 here.

We also co-hosted a rally with ACORN, Horizon Ottawa and others on 7 December 2022 at the Provincial Courthouse as public consultation on some aspects of the legislation is still open. You can see our Executive Director Alice Irene speaking here:

Ecology Ottawa speaks out against Bill 23

Ottawa Councillor Shawn Menard speaks out against Provincial Corruption

Here you can see the full speeches of Alice Irene and the Ottawa City Councillors.

Some of our friends in the Peoples Official Plan have made this rallying cry (based on My Favourite Things from the Sound of Music) it's sure to have you singing all day!

Local advocacy groups are also launching “Give A Bang!” campaign against Bills 23 and 39, with residents of Ottawa being asked to bang pots and pans at home, the office and in the streets in a time-honoured tradition of protest, starting on Thursdays at 6:00 pm, beginning December 15. The noise raised will demonstrate citizen opposition to two provincial pieces of legislation. The bills compromise municipal councils’ ability to make decisions for their communities on planning and development, affordable housing and environmental protection.

For Paul Johanis, chair of Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital, making a ruckus over the Ford government’s highhanded legislation is necessary. “Ontario Bill 23 is a disaster for environmental protections. It is using ‘building more homes faster’ as cover for a coordinated attack on wetlands and greenspaces. There is still time to submit comments but it's really time to make noise.”

We continue to urge you to contact your MPP - especially if they are Progressive Conservative and might hold sway in Queen’s Park. Write an email, call their office, arrange a visit. Every constituent they hear from on this matter might help stop this. 

Write to your MPP now to STOP Bill 23

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