The Ontario general election date is quickly approaching and housing affordability is a key topic for Ontarians. There is widespread support for more concrete actions to deal with housing affordability, with an emphasis on cracking down on dirty money. To help voters make informed decisions, we’ve looked at each running political party and their promises with regards to housing.
The Conservatives are the only party that haven’t committed to implementing measures that crack down on dirty money, but are also the only party to fully promise to help tackle case backlogs. The Green party have not committed to building 1.5 million new homes over the next decade, while the other three have. Instead, the Green party has committed to “building 1.5B homes in a variety of innovative forms within urban boundaries over the next 10 years.”
Progressive Conservative Party Highlights:
- Set goals to build 1.5 million new homes over the next decade
- Promised to streamline approvals that regulate the use of land and location
- Extended the Brownfields Financial Tax Incentive Program to encourage redevelopment of sites and support new housing starts
- Working with local service managers and Indigenous program administrators to sustain, repair and grow the community housing system
- No statements on green initiative tax credits for housing, measures to stop dirt money in Ontario real estate or indexing the Land Transfer Tax rebate and doubling it
Some of the key, positive promises the Progressive Conservative Party (PC) has made include building 1.5 million new homes over the next decade and streamlining approvals for use of land and location. Although, unlike the other parties, the PCs are not promising tax credits for green housing initiatives or implementing measures to get dirty money out of Ontario which could help regulate the Ontario housing market.
Green Party Highlights:
- Promised to increase incentives and streamline the approvals process for homeowners to add affordable rental units to their main residence
- Stated that they will identify public lands that could be used for residential purposes and that they will revise the Ontario building Code to remove regulatory barriers to building missing middle infill development
- Promised they will put an end to exclusionary zoning and allow single-family home properties to be converted into up to four units
- Will build 182,000 affordable housing units and end speculation in the housing market, as well as including 60,000 permanent supportive homes
- Want to mandate inclusionary zoning and require a minimum of 20% affordable units in all housing projects above a certain size
- Promised to create more avenues to home ownership, including developing and supporting alternative pilot programs such as cohousing, tiny homes and rent-to-own to assist low and middle income first-time home buyers, and streamline the application process for first-time homeowners to add affordable rental units to their primary residence to pay down their mortgage.
- Pledged to create a seed fund for co-operative housing rental homes over the next decade, as well as renewing 260,000 community housing rental homes under the National Housing Strategy in partnership with the federal government.
Despite not committing to building 1.5 million homes, The Green Party has still promised to create other avenues towards home ownership, including developing and supporting alternative pilot programs, and making the application process for first-time homeowners more streamlined.
Liberal Party Highlights:
- Promised to build 1.5 million homes over the next 10 years including 138,000 “deeply affordable” houses
- Promised to repair existing affordable housing, but there is no dollar figure associated with that work currently
- Creation of an Ontario Homebuilding Corporation to work in partnership with not-for-profit organizations, developers and others to help expedite the building of affordable homes
- Work with municipalities to expand zoning options and help reward municipalities that meet or exceed higher housing targets
- Convert underutilized industrial and commercial sites into new homes
- Allow renters and owners to increase minimum housing permissions and expand and build new co-op housing
- Bring back rent control for all rental units in Ontario
The Liberals have made many promises around housing in Ontario, including promoting housing options near transit stations, establishing zoning and building code standards for low-rise residential developments, and reforming the blind bidding process. Like two of the other parties, they have only partially committed to helping tackle the case backlogs related to appeals and disputes the Ontario Land Tribunal and Landlord and Tenant board are facing.
NDP Party Highlights:
- Commitment to building 1.5 million new homes over the next decade
- Promised to build 100,000 units of social housing over the next decade, and update 260,000 social housing units to extend their lifespan
- Promised to reform the Ontario Land Tribunal
- Stated that they will bring down the cost of housing and end exclusionary zoning
- Pledged to bring back real rent control for all apartments and create a portable housing benefit to assist tenants who can not afford their rent in addition to basic necessities
- Pledged to create an adequate supply of safe, affordable, culturally appropriate urban and rural housing, working in partnership with Indigenous led housing providers and the federal government
- Their housing plan, Homes You Can Afford, includes a commitment to working with municipalities to build and upgrade tens of thousands of social housing units
The NDP have committed to the building of 1.5 million new homes over the next decade, as well as a big focus on upgrading and updating social housing. They also plan to end exclusionary zoning, increasing the supply of housing options that are affordable. Their promised reform to the Ontario Land Tribunal is designed to ensure greater fairness and increase efficiency in planning.
Polls open June 2nd. For more information or to register to vote visit Elections Ontario.