City of Toronto Abandons Minimum Parking Standards to Advance Environmental Sustainability and Residents’ Health

  • March 03, 2022
  • Kailey Sutton, associate at McMillan LLP, with thanks to C. Scott (student-at-law)

On February 3, 2022, Toronto City Council enacted and passed By-law 89-2022 (the “Amendment”),[1] being an amendment to Zoning By-law 569-2013 to update parking standards across the City.[2] Amongst other things, the Amendment introduces new electric vehicle (or “EV”) standards, removes most minimum parking requirements for new developments (except accessible parking standards) and introduces new maximum parking standards.[3]  

According to the November 10, 2021 Report for Action to the Planning and Housing Committee[4], the Amendment is a response to a number of findings by City staff, and is motivated by various factors including housing affordability and the City’s target for net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Such change in policy direction directly reflects guidance from higher-order documents which encourage sustainability and environmental considerations. For example, s.2 of the Planning Act requires City Council, in carrying out its responsibilities thereunder, to have regard to matters of provincial interest including the protection of ecological systems, the promotion of development that is designed to be sustainable, and the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to a changing climate.[5] Indeed, as stated in the Report for Action, the Amendment intends to “more aggressively implement Official Plan policies,” and also “support the City’s climate action strategy, ...the Provincial Policy Statement and the Growth Plan (2019) as amended.” In its News Release for the matter, the City emphasized that this Amendment will help the City meet targets that address environmental sustainability as well as encourage residents of the City to use other modes of transportation, ultimately creating an improved transit experience for pedestrians, cyclists and public transit users.[6]