Toronto’s Planning staff has released a report indicating that “there are approximately 148,000 units which are approved but not yet built in the Development Pipeline.”

Some journalists, planners, and politicians on Twitter have been using this figure as evidence that regulatory supply constraints are a myth, that the City approves more than enough housing, and that the cause of our housing deficit (for lack of a better term) is speculative landbanking by developers. Or something like that.


Reading the report carefully, it’s clear, again, that the quoted number refers to all units in projects that have received “one Planning approval and have not yet been build.”

That is, units in projects that have received their Zoning By-law Amendment but are working through Site Plan Approval are included. As are units in projects that have received their Site Plan Approval but are under construction. As are all units in projects just working their way through the system– or “Development pipeline”.

The longer it takes for the City to issue, say, a Zoning By-law Amendment or Site Plan Approval, the larger that number should be expected to grow.

More than anything else, we might want to use this report as evidence that it takes far too long for a project to get from its first planning approval to occupancy. And then maybe do something about that.