Ontario housing minister Steve Clark resigned from his position in the province’s cabinet after an ethics watchdog found he violated integrity rules as part of his department’s efforts to build homes on previously protected lands.
(Bloomberg) — Ontario housing minister Steve Clark resigned from his position in the province’s cabinet after an ethics watchdog found he violated integrity rules as part of his department’s efforts to build homes on previously protected lands.
Clark said in a statement posted on the social media platform X that he was resigning as minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing because his presence would distract from Ontario’s push to solve its housing crisis. He will continue to serve as a member of the Provincial Parliament for his district in southeastern Ontario.
The controversy over Ontario’s efforts to combat soaring housing prices and rents by developing portions of the greenbelt — a crescent of protected farmland, forests and natural areas ringing the Toronto metropolitan area — has dogged Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government for months. Last week, the province’s integrity commissioner found Clark failed to properly oversee the selection of 15 properties in the greenbelt to be developed in a haphazard process that came without a public call for submissions, consultations or assessments.
Read More: Ontario Housing Minister Found to Have Violated Integrity Act
During his first term in office, Ford repeatedly said his government wouldn’t touch the greenbelt, but he reversed course in late 2022. He has since defended the decision to allow development on the 2,700 acres of protected land as necessary to meet his government’s goal of building 1.5 million new homes by 2031.
The integrity commissioner’s findings follow a report by Ontario’s auditor general that highlighted similar faults with the greenbelt development process and spurred the resignation of the housing minister’s chief of staff, Ryan Amato. That report found that two developers, dealing directly with Amato, recommended 92% of the acreage removed from the greenbelt.
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