In a press conference today, Montreal mayor Valérie Plante announced a major new initiative to maintain affordable living in a city where, despite a lower cost of living than other Canadian cities, rent continues to creep up.
"At a time when Montréal is facing a growing housing challenge, the City of Montreal is proposing a new tool to improve the supply of social, affordable and family housing: the By-law for a mixed metropolis," a press release states.
The new by-law is established with a goal to "preserve the mixed and affordable character of Montreal, [...] support the quality of our living environments," and "promote access to adequate housing for all."
The new regulation requires developers to include "social, affordable and family housing" in all projects that include 5 residential units (450m2) or more. This will theoretically ensure that the city maintains its supply of affordable housing despite a boom in high-end and luxury development.
In addition, the city has increased its target for affordable and social housing from 15% to 20% of the total housing stock. The city council has yet to approve the new measure, but the mayor is hoping it will come into force in 2021, according to the CBC.
"I am proud to unveil our new By-Law for a mixed metropolis, a major gesture of the [Ville de Montréal] en habitation, which aims to ensure that our metropolis remains affordable and welcoming for all Montrealers," the mayor wrote on Twitter.
"For Montreal to remain a welcoming and affordable metropolis where business can thrive, we must innovate and act now. I am confident that our new By-law for a Diverse Metropolis will help us maintain the right social, economic and cultural balance," she continued.
The new rules, if passed, will at the very least anchor the housing market, conserve and expand the supply of "affordable" rental apartments in the city. Though it is unclear whether the initiative will have an effect on the median cost of living in the city.
But Montrealers may be able to more easily find an affordable apartment after 2021 — if the regulation becomes law.