QUEEN'S PARK — Ontario NDP Housing critic Jessica Bell (University—Rosedale) announced five specific actions the Ford government can and should do right now to tackle Ontario's housing affordability crisis, in advance of the government's Housing summit.
"For decades, it’s been getting harder and harder to afford the home we deserve," Bell said Wednesday. "Young adults are living with their parents for longer. Couples are putting off having a family or leaving the city where their support system lives. Renters live in fear their landlord will raise the rent or evict them to hike the rent for the next tenant. The crisis of homelessness is getting worse. Solutions are available, and we need Premier Doug Ford to agree to implement those solutions right now.”
On the eve of the summit, Bell said government after government have ignored proven solutions.
“Steven Del Duca's Liberals had 15 years to turn our housing crisis around. They chose not to, instead opening loopholes for speculators to get richer while housing prices skyrocketed, and letting landlords hike the rent in between tenants, which has encouraged bad apples to throw tenants out under the guise of renovation,” said Bell.
"But in nearly four years, Doug Ford has only made housing prices worse. He's not here for Ontarians, he’s here for big developers and investors.
"Striking up a task force is the oldest trick in the book for a government to avoid taking real action,” said Bell.
There are five urgent actions the NDP says Ford must take coming out of the Dec. 16 summit:
1. Stabilize rents by making it illegal for landlords to raise the rent in between tenants beyond provincial guideline increases.
2. Introduce a speculation and vacancy tax on those who don’t pay taxes in Ontario and who own houses they don’t live in, plus increase the Non-Resident Speculation Tax to 20 per cent, and apply it province-wide.
3. Change zoning rules so that developers in Toronto are forced to build more affordable housing in every major development, not just near major transit hubs, and so that multi-unit homes — like duplexes and townhouses — are allowed in all neighbourhoods.
4. Allow municipalities to shift property taxes onto properties worth more than $2 million and take the burden off middle-class families.
5. Immediately commit to funding the building of at least 99,000 affordable housing and supportive housing units.