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Ontario’s minister of municipal affairs and housing is looking at counting student residences and retirement homes toward the province’s goal of building 1.5 million homes in 10 years.

Paul Calandra wrote in a letter to Mississauga’s acting mayor last month that the ministry is tracking housing starts as defined by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, in addition to counting long-term care beds, but it is also now looking at “other institutional types of housing.”

Ontario’s spring budget shows the pace of new home construction is picking up in Ontario, with 88,000 housing starts projected in 2024, but is still far off the levels needed to get to 1.5 million homes by 2031.

A previous letter from Calandra said Ontario needed to be building at least 125,000 homes this year, ramping up to at least 175,000 per year in the near future.

By the Progressive Conservative government’s own count, it actually met 99 per cent of last year’s target of building 110,000 homes, but that is only because they started counting long-term care beds as homes and nearly 10,000 of those were created last year.

Calandra’s late March letter to Mississauga says that now the ministry is considering counting student residences and retirement homes for future years and will consult with municipalities on the issue.

Editor’s note: An earlier version had an incorrect figure for 2024 housing starts projections.

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