FAQ

What is the Toronto Lands Corporation
What is the Toronto Lands Corporation (TLC)?+

TLC was incorporated in April 2008 as the exclusive and wholly owned subsidiary of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) responsible for the reality management of non-operating school properties. At the direction of the TDSB, TLC would either dispose of a surplus property or lease it, retaining ownership in the event of future TDSB pupil accommodation needs.

In June 2018, the TDSB expanded the mandate of TLC to include the management of all Board-wide real estate interests, including site redevelopment, land use planning, property disposition & acquisition, leasing, partnerships and the integration of community service facilities for all 600 TDSB sites.

Since our inception, TLC has capitalized on opportunities and has generated close to $1BM through disposition and leasing of sites, allowing for greater re-investment in TDSB schools. Our leasing operations alone have generated the net revenues needed to retain school properties and undertake major development projects on school sites at Lawrence & Midland, Bloor & Dufferin and Yonge & Davisville.

How is TLC funded?+

As a wholly owned subsidiary, TLC is funded 100% by the TDSB.

However, TLC generates sufficient revenue to offset its entire  operations as well as contributing  approximately  $1M annually  towards property management and capital needs of buildings under lease. Operationally in 2019/20, TLC is budgeted to return to TDSB net proceeds of $1.2M and capital in excess of $40M.

What is the reporting relationship between TLC and the TDSB?+

TLC is governed by a separate and independent Board of Directors, comprised of six citizen members and four appointed TDSB Trustees. The Executive Officer (EO), who oversees TLC staff, ultimately has responsibility for the operation of TLC and reports to the TLC Board. The TLC Board directs and provides leadership to the EO in accordance with the Shareholder’s Direction. The TLC Board will request authority, from the TDSB, to proceed on any matter that exceeds its authority.  TLC also provides quarterly management reports on all operational matters in order to communicate its ongoing progress towards its strategic goals.  TLC was incorporated as a separate corporation in accordance with the Ontario Business Corporation Act and operates on a Board to Board relationship.

Who is responsible for land use planning matters for TDSB?+

TLC’s Land Use Planning team oversees all land use planning matters on behalf of the TDSB. This work includes reviewing and responding to development applications, municipal and provincial land use studies, policies, and legislation, and other related matters that may impact TDSB sites and TDSB student accommodation decision making. TLC’s Land Use Planning team also provides land use planning support to the TDSB’s capital projects.

TLC is the first point of contact for all parties interested in inquiring about the availability of, or access to, any of TDSB’s 600 properties for the purposes of leasing, land use partnerships, public infrastructure projects or any other equity proposals.

TDSB’s Strategy and Planning Division is responsible for student accommodation planning, including the development of an annual ten-year Long-Term Program and Accommodation Strategy (LTPAS); managing enrolment data and determining enrolment projections; conducting accommodation reviews/studies; facility space management; and capital planning.

TDSB’s Strategy and Planning Division advises TLC’s Land Use Planning team on accommodation challenges and issues; and in turn, TLC’s land use planning work informs TDSB’s enrolment projections and accommodation planning.

Accomodation Pressures In Midtown Toronto
Why is Midtown experiencing accommodation pressures?+

Midtown is experiencing accommodation pressures due to a number of factors:

  • Significant and unprecedented residential growth in the area, supported by provincial and municipal planning policies encouraging high density in the area
  • An increase in the number of pupils generated from condominiums and apartments in the Midtown Area, compared with previously expected number of students per unit
  • Many schools in the Midtown Area are situated on small, constrained sites, with undersized play areas and aging facilities that lack the opportunity for expansion on site.

In addition:

  • TDSB does not have access to Education Development Charges to fund the purchase of land for new school sites
  • Limited grants available from the Province for capital projects to address accommodation pressures.
What accommodation tools has the TDSB been using to address student accommodation pressures in Midtown?+

Over the past ten years, the TDSB has undertaken boundary changes, grade changes, program relocations/augmentation, internal renovations and student redirections to address enrolment pressures in the Midtown Area.  Capital funding was also secured in 2015/16 for the construction of a larger facility at Davisville Jr. PS/Spectrum Alternative School and a large addition to Hodgson MS.  However, despite implementing changes and securing capital funding from the Ministry of Education, accommodation pressures continue to impact local elementary schools due to significant development growth in the Midtown Area.

In light of the additional residential growth, the TDSB will be undertaking a Yonge-Eglinton Program Area Review (PAR) to address accommodation pressures.  Additional information on the TDSB’s PAR process is available on the TDSB’s website: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/About-Us/Strategy-Planning/Accommodation-Reviews

Will students in Midtown be bussed to other schools or out of the area in the future?+

The TDSB is experiencing significant student accommodation pressures in the Midtown Area at the elementary school level. To control overcrowding at schools, TDSB Trustees may approve the redirection of students from specific schools or areas that are overcapacity to assigned schools outside of their home area that have available space.  Bussing is typically required as an interim solution to transport the students living in the over capacity areas to the assigned receiving school.

Currently, TDSB has approved the redirection of students from new developments in the Eglinton Jr PS attendance boundary to Whitney Jr. PS. Given the significant levels of growth expected in this part of the City, it is anticipated that students from new developments in the area will continue to be redirected to schools outside of the area.  As strategies from the PAR are implemented, students from redirected outside of their home area can begin to be brought back to their local schools.

Are there plans to build more schools in Midtown?+

The provision of a new elementary school will be sought, which will require a long term capital funding solution and the acquisition of a suitable site for a new school facility.  A future elementary school in the Yonge-Eglinton area is listed in the TDSB’s Long-Term Program & Accommodation Strategy as an Emerging Capital Priority project to be submitted to the Ministry of Education for provincial capital funding consideration.

TLC is exploring opportunities for a new school facility, satellite school or temporary school accommodation in Midtown.

Strategy to Address Growth and Intensification

To address the significant growth and intensification pressures in the Midtown Area, on June 10, 2019, the TLC Board approved the use of a holding provision or other planning tool(s) to phase development with respect to Midtown development applications at the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).  The report is available on the TLC website:

https://www.torontolandscorp.com/wp-content/themes/tlc/files/TLC%20Special%20Board%20Meeting,%20June%2010,%202019%20Package.pdf

What is a “Holding Provision”? Does a holding provision halt a development project? If so, how long does the holding provision last?+

A holding provision by-law (commonly referred to as an “H”), is a planning instrument under section 36 of the Planning Act that allows development to proceed only when specified conditions are met.

As set out in the City of Toronto Official Plan, these conditions may include the provision of community services and facilities (such as schools), professional studies to assess potential development impacts, phasing of development, and entering into agreements.

TLC’s proposed holding provision provides the TDSB with time to complete its complex accommodation review process, and begin implementation of strategies to mitigate local accommodation pressures. By specifying dates in TLC’s proposed holding provision for when the holding provision may be lifted, it provides the development industry with certainty of timing.  In the interim, prior to the lifting of a holding provision, a developer may proceed with a site plan application submission and review, and begin preparation of building permit application materials.

What is the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT)?+

The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) is an adjudicative tribunal that hears cases in relation to a range of land use matters, heritage conservation and municipal governance. Appeals that come before LPAT are identified through policies found in the Planning Act, Aggregate Act, Heritage Act, Municipal Act, Development Charges Act and Expropriations Act. These include matters such as official plans, zoning by-laws, subdivision plans, consents and minor variances, land compensations, development charges, electoral ward boundaries, municipal finances, aggregate resources and other issues assigned by numerous Ontario statutes.

LPAT was formerly known as the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

Will TLC be seeking a holding provision on development throughout the City where there are student accommodation pressures?+

TDSB/TLC staff are working closely with City staff to ensure that the timing of development throughout key growth areas of the City aligns with the provision of school accommodation.

TLC is exploring the use of a variety of planning tools on residential development applications in the Midtown and High Park Area in an attempt to phase in development to align with adequate student accommodation in local schools.

Planning tools to phase in development will not be required in areas where accommodation pressures can be managed using TDSB accommodation tools (e.g.  placing portables on site).

Will TLC be seeking party status and attending all LPAT hearings where there are student accommodation pressures?+

No, where the TDSB can manage enrollment pressures using TDSB accommodation tools, TLC will not need to attend LPAT hearings.  At this time, in key growth areas of the City, such as Midtown and High Park, TLC will continue to attend LPAT hearings where appropriate.

TLC anticipates that earlier involvement in the City planning approval process will allow the TDSB to identify and address student accommodation challenges and needs arising from residential development and growth, and therefore reduce or avoid the need to attend at the LPAT in the future.

What is TLC’s approach to align their strategic direction with the provincial government’s goal to increase the supply of housing and reduce development approval timelines?+

TLC supports the Provincial government’s goal to address a range of housing challenges faced by residents across the housing spectrum. We recognize the challenge of advancing the supply of affordable housing, while balancing the existing and planned capacity of public service facilities, including schools.

For example, TLC has successfully completed a land exchange with the City of Toronto, as part of the City’s Toronto’ Housing Now Plan, which it plans to build 10,000 new market and affordable rental units on 11 municipal sites. As part of this exchange, the TDSB will gain the right build a new elementary school on the lower floors of a planned housing complex near the Ontario Science Centre, while the City will get a surplus 12-acre school site in Scarborough’s Kingston-Galloway area, which offers significant opportunities for affordable housing and community services.

Other examples where TLC has worked with the development community include the redevelopment of North Toronto Collegiate on the lower floors of a midtown Tridel tower, and, more recently, a complex deal that involved an adjoining pair of Scarborough high schools on a sprawling parcel of land and the development of a 140 townhouses on a surplus corner of the site.

TLC is not against development; we are for building complete communities that serve and accommodate Toronto’s public school students in a responsible manner. TLC’s position is that the provision of accommodation for students in local public schools is a critical element of building and sustaining complete communities throughout the City.  The Province’s More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan recognizes that after price/rent, the top criteria for Ontarians when looking for a home is having transit, schools, and services nearby.

TLC’s strategy helps facilitate better coordination of public service facilities and land use planning.  It provides time for the TDSB to complete its PAR process and implement strategies that will ultimately bring students back to local schools. We trust our accelerated land redevelopment strategy will deliver significant change in terms of the number of schools that have been modernized and reductions in deferred maintenance, with no additional demand on the province to fund this.

Is this a fiscally responsible approach?+

We believe our accelerated land redevelopment strategy will deliver significant change in terms of the number of schools that have been modernized and reductions in deferred maintenance, with no additional demand on the province to fund this.  Our strategy calls for a re-purposing of a portion of the funding that is annually directed toward school maintenance and repair to be redirected towards redeveloping TDSB’s rapidly aging and under-utilized infrastructure, including Administration buildings.

Recent Changes to Planning and Policy Framework

In July 2018, City Council adopted the City-initiated Official Plan Amendment No. 405, the Yonge-Eglinton Secondary Plan (OPA 405), which sets out the planning framework for the Midtown Area.    OPA 405 was forwarded to the Province for approval, and on June 5, 2019, the Province approved a modified OPA 405.

On June 6, 2019, the Province’s Bill 108, the More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019 received Royal Assent.  Bill 108 amends 13 statutes, including but not limited to, the Planning Act and the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal Act, which impacts how municipal land use planning is conducted in the province.

How does the Province’s approval of a modified Yonge-Eglinton Secondary Plan (OPA 405) affect school accommodations in Midtown and TLC’s strategy? +

OPA 405 does not apply to the Midtown development applications at the LPAT, as OPA 405 was not in effect at the time the applications were submitted to the City.  OPA 405, along with provincial policies and other official plan policies, provide the policy framework for development applications submitted after June 5, 2019 and will affect the long term projections used by the TDSB.

How do the changes to the Planning Act introduced by Bill 108 affect TLC’s strategy?+

The changes to the Planning Act introduced by Bill 108 will not have a material impact on TLC’s position on the current matters at the LPAT.

Revenue Sources
Can TDSB’s proceeds of disposition (POD’s) generated by the sale of surplus property go towards the capital funding of new schools?+

The Province of Ontario has had a primary focus on addressing the deferred maintenance challenges created by aging school facilities. As such, the Ministry has been providing grants to support reinvestment in school facilities and also requires school boards to use proceeds from site dispositions. Any use of proceeds of disposition and capital funding for new schools must be approved by the Ministry of Education. Each year school boards across the Province submit their top capital priorities to the Ministry. If a project is selected to advance, school boards are expected to build to Ministry benchmark. Upon occasion, the Ministry of Education may approve costs over and above the benchmark to be funded out of the school board’s POD account. Without Ministry approval, POD’s cannot be accessed for alternate uses.