• Mayor Iain Lovatt has tabled a motion for tomorrow’s 1 p.m. Council meeting, asking Council to support, in principle, “permission for four residential dwelling units…on fully serviced residential lots.”
  • Allowing fourplexes on existing residential properties is intended to increase housing supply, deliver a greater variety of housing options, and expand the stock of less-costly units.
  • Fourplexes can come in a variety of built forms and do not require four-storey heights.
  • With Council’s adoption, Staff would be directed to assess areas of Stouffville where such permissions should be implemented.
  • Those Staff recommendations would then come to Council in the form of proposed Official Plan and Zoning By-Law amendments, which would also require Council approval.
  • Like his parking requirements reductions motion, the use of Strong Mayor Powers could be on the table should Council oppose the change.


Lovatt’s motion follows a series of planning initiatives at the Provincial and Federal levels aimed at increasing housing supply. Earlier this month, the Federal government announced the $6 billion Canada Housing Infrastructure Fund, which will be distributed among provinces willing to enact more aggressive housing measures—including four-unit as-of-right policies.

While the Ontario government has decided against permitting fourplexes province-wide at this time, resulting in a row with the Federal government over access to the new infrastructure dollars, they have mandated threeplex permissions through Ontario’s Bill 23.

The Town is currently conducting public consultation to inform zoning by-laws related to its three-unit as-of-right planning policies, which are needed to conform to the Bill. A related Public Meeting is also being held on May 1 at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers to further consider the issue. While Staff will be equipped with insights gained through that process, Lovatt’s newest push appears to skip over requiring such consultation over fourplexes.

The Mayor’s move also follows Stouffville’s recent failed attempt at accessing the Federal Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF). The program offered municipalities an opportunity to submit action plans aimed at quickly increasing housing supply and promised millions in supportive dollars to approved applicants.

Demand for HAF exceeded the program’s budget, with 179 municipalities securing funding and 365 applications being declined. Many awarded applications committed to both fourplex permissions and reduced parking minimums; however, Stouffville did not explicitly include them in its Housing Action Plan.

This begs the question: could Stouffville have successfully accessed HAF had these initiatives been included in the Town’s application last year? Bullet Point News reached out to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), a Canadian Crown Corporation tasked with administering the HAF program, and was told they would not comment on specific applications.

“In assessing applications, the Government balanced prioritizing the most ambitious proposals with ensuring that we were able to reach agreements with communities…[and] discussions with unsuccessful applicants are ongoing,” a CMHC spokesperson told us. “Although we are unable to speak to specific applications, CMHC is committed to working with all applicants, including Stouffville, to seek positive housing solutions for their communities through collaboration with the CMHC Municipal Relations team and through other National Housing Strategy programs.”

Lovatt’s motion seems to reference this, noting that CMHC’s “10 best practices from successful Housing Accelerator Fund applications include eliminating restrictions to allow a greater variety in housing types.”

In announcing the Canada Housing Infrastructure Fund, the Federal government also promised an additional $400 million in HAF funding “so more municipalities can cut red tape, fast-track home construction, and invest in affordable housing.” Should Lovatt’s fourplex and parking minimums reductions motions pass, the Town should be better situated to access Federal funds.

“We are steadfast in our commitment to creating housing options of all types and price points for all people,” Lovatt stated in a release following the Town’s declined HAF application. “No opportunity will be left on the table for the development of affordable, equitable, and climate-resilient communities.”