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Ontario Expands Use of Mass Timber Construction, Aims to Accelerate Home Building and Boost Economy

Toronto, ON – Ontario’s housing sector is set to undergo a significant transformation as the provincial government announces plans to expand the use of advanced wood construction, particularly mass timber, to facilitate faster home building and reduce costs. The move, which aims to support economic growth and create job opportunities across various sectors, was unveiled by Paul Calandra, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, during a press conference earlier today.

Under the proposed amendments to the Building Code, encapsulated mass timber construction buildings will be permitted to reach heights of up to 18 storeys, a significant increase from the current limit of 12 storeys. This expansion presents an opportunity for the construction industry to embrace innovative building techniques while adhering to stringent safety and environmental standards.

Encapsulated Mass Timber Construction offers numerous benefits, including faster construction timelines, quieter building processes, and comparable fire and structural protection to traditional building materials. By promoting the use of wood sourced from Ontario’s forests, the initiative also aims to bolster the province’s forestry sector, which generates billions in revenue annually and supports thousands of jobs.

In a statement, Minister Calandra emphasized the importance of embracing modern building techniques to address housing supply challenges and stimulate economic growth. “The use of mass timber can help the sector build more homes faster, keep the cost of construction down, and boost our northern economy,” said Minister Calandra. “As we work to cut red tape in order to increase housing supply, we’re taking an innovative approach to help our partners get shovels in the ground.”

The announcement has garnered support from industry stakeholders, including the Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA). Ian Dunn, President and CEO of OFIA, praised the government’s decision, noting its alignment with Ontario’s Forest Sector Strategy and its potential to benefit the economy, environment, and communities across the province.

As part of its comprehensive approach to housing, the government has also committed to investing in housing-enabling infrastructure, including the Building Faster Fund and the Municipal Housing Infrastructure Program, to facilitate more efficient housing construction.

Commentary:

The expansion of mass timber construction in Ontario marks a significant step forward in addressing the province’s housing challenges. By embracing innovative building techniques and leveraging the abundance of natural resources, Ontario is poised to accelerate home building, create job opportunities, and promote sustainable development. The move underscores the government’s commitment to fostering economic growth and enhancing the quality of life for residents across the Greater Toronto Area and beyond.

As a resident of the GTA, I believe that initiatives like these are crucial for addressing the housing needs of our growing population while also promoting environmental sustainability. The expansion of mass timber construction not only offers practical solutions for faster and more cost-effective home building but also underscores Ontario’s leadership in embracing innovative technologies. It’s encouraging to see the government taking proactive steps to support industries like forestry and construction while prioritizing the well-being of communities across the province.

Samantha Deschamps

Samantha Deschamps serves as the Queens Park Reporter, offering insightful coverage of provincial politics with depth and accuracy. With a keen understanding of legislative intricacies, Deschamps provides invaluable perspectives on matters affecting Ontario. For inquiries or feedback, contact Samantha at samantha.deschamps@gtaweekly.ca.

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