Press release

4 May 2020 Toronto, CA

Canada could see 30% growth in sustainable communities in the next five years

Press contact
Dina Elshurafa

EY Canada Specialist, Public Relations

Constantly asking questions, generating new ideas and creating innovative solutions to achieve measurable results. Always caffeinated and on the look out for hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Toronto.

Developments are building connected communities and improving access to public transit
  • Survey finds private and public sectors are actively engaged in Transit Oriented Development
  • Land assembly, unclear zoning and navigating policies are top barriers to development
  • Real estate and public sector entities are enhancing their Transit Oriented Development capabilities

(Toronto, May 4, 2020) An EY Canada survey on Transit Oriented Development (TOD) finds that 100% of public and private respondents are actively exploring, planning or are already fully engaged in projects to create sustainable communities across major Canadian municipalities.

TODs connect communities by seamlessly integrating transit hubs into densely populated locations — inclusive of real estate, retail, places of work and play — instead of just standalone stations.

“Organizations in both public and private sectors are looking at how to work together to build out their construction capabilities to develop residential, business and recreational amenities within walking distance from transit hubs,” says Julia Stefanishina, Associate Partner, Infrastructure Advisory at EY Canada. “Supporting walkability and reducing vehicle traffic is helping to build more environmentally-friendly communities for Canadians.”

Despite a 30% projected growth in TODs over the next five years, survey respondents face challenges when it comes to construction, including navigating the time-consuming land assembly process, unclear zoning, approval timelines and requirements, and complex government policies and legislation. Physical distancing requirements are also shifting work culture and consumer behaviours — and possibly policy — adding a new layer of complexity that players must navigate and overcome in the near future.

“The journey to unlocking full TOD market potential will likely experience bumps along the way,” adds Stefanishina. “Market players will need to navigate a new normal, and map a path forward that allows them to bring developments to life, including sealing key hybrid real estate and infrastructure deals.”

As real estate and infrastructure become more integrated, survey respondents agree that either the private sector or municipalities should lead TOD initiatives, rather than provincial governments or infrastructure players. But changes to liquidity and risk appetite due to COVID-19 may prompt traditional private players to scale back their role in TOD development, opening up opportunities for public players.

“Although the TOD market is rapidly changing in Canada, players in the game have an opportunity to come together to accommodate new distancing preferences into their fundamental designs to create communities with an optimal mix of uses,” says Josh Colle, Associate Partner, Infrastructure Advisory at EY Canada. “Not only are TODs lessening our dependency on driving and reducing traffic congestion in cities across Canada, they’re also creating a more sustainable world — and better quality of life.”

Access the full EY Transit Oriented Development report here.

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