QUEEN'S PARK — With a Housing Summit planned for Wednesday, Ontario NDP Housing critic Jessica Bell (University—Rosedale) is calling for five specific proposals to be on the table — things she said the Doug Ford government can and should do right now to help people afford a home in Ontario.
"Housing prices have been rising out of control for years," Bell said. "It’s really impacting people’s lives. People are putting off having babies because they can’t afford the extra bedroom. Young people are moving hours away from everything they know and love to find an affordable place. People have to spend such a huge portion of their income on housing, they’ve got no breathing room in their budgets.
“Solutions are available, and we need Premier Doug Ford to agree to implement them right now.”
With the re-scheduled summit set to happen Wednesday, Bell said government after government have ignored proven solutions — and that’s got to stop.
“Steven Del Duca's Liberals had 15 years — instead of helping everyday buyers and renters, they opened massive loopholes for speculators to get richer while housing prices skyrocketed, and allowed unlimited rent hikes in between tenants,” said Bell. "Renters and buyers are even worse off with Ford, who scrapped rent control on more homes and drove up prices even higher.”
Bell said she hopes the Housing Summit, which includes Ontario’s big-city mayors, spurs actual action from Ford — not another task force, study or statements pointing fingers at other levels of government.
The five urgent actions the NDP says Ford can and must take now include:
- Stabilize rents by making it illegal for landlords to raise the rent in between tenants beyond provincial guideline increases.
- 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.
- 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.
- Allow municipalities to shift property taxes onto properties worth more than $2 million and shift the tax burden onto the most fortunate.
- Immediately commit to funding the building of at least 99,000 affordable housing and supportive housing units.