With the election day coming up fast in Ontario, we will soon learn who Ontarians will choose to lead us through the next four years. With the state of things now, it’s more clear than ever that decisive action will need to be taken to correct course on the many issues that challenge Ontarians today. Unsurprisingly, if you are a reader of CREW, you’ll know that one of these issues is housing.
Proposed housing policies make up a significant amount of parties’ platforms, each with its own unique way of approaching the problem. In this article, we will go over some of the proposed policies from each party so you can decide whose vision of Ontario aligns best with your ideals.
Progressive Conservative Party
As the party currently in power, it comes to the PCs to convince Canadians to, once again, put their trust in their leadership. Be it through confidence or complacency, the Ontario PCs have seemingly not released a party platform for this election, though their 2022 budget proposal from before the election has served as the party’s de facto strategy. Besides mere promises, the PCs can also uniquely point to recent policy decisions such as recently increasing and widening the non-resident speculation tax.
Here is what the PCs would propose to do to combat housing issues in Ontario if elected:
- Introduce new plans to help accelerate municipal planning processes
- Streamline the development approval process to help get more homes built faster
- Support municipalities in creating vacant home taxes
- Crackdown on unethical developer practices to protect homebuyers
New Democratic Party
After winning the second-highest number of seats in the 2018 election, the NDP currently stands as the official opposition party in the provincial parliament. Their challenge in this election is to maintain that momentum or risk being subjugated once again under the historically dominant PCs and Liberals. The NDP positions its housing policy as a ”concrete, doable” plan designed to “ensure every Ontarian has a decent, affordable place to live, wherever you live, whether you’re renting or buying.”
The party’s proposals take a starkly more progressive stance than the leading PCs, as would be expected. Here is what the NDP proposes on housing:
- End exclusionary zoning laws to enable the construction of more high-density housing like duplexes, triplexes, and townhomes
- Introduce both speculation and vacancy taxes modelled on those in British Columbia
- Reinstate rent control for all residential rental units and create vacancy control to limit rent increases between tenants of the same property
- Create a portable housing benefit to help up to 311,000 renters who struggle to pay rent
Ontario Liberal Party
After an impressive fall from grace in the last election, the Liberals seem to be doing much better this time around, if early polls can be any indication. Given the continued success of the Liberals in recent elections, there is a clear precedent for their appeal to Canadians with policies that sit somewhere in the middle of their more left and right-leaning competitors. However, on the provincial level, the party still has much to do if they want to win over the people of Ontario.
Here is what the Ontario Liberals are promising they would do about housing issues if they were in power:
- Build 1.5 million new homes over the next 10 years, including affordable housing, social and community housing, and housing for Indigenous people
- Instate a tax on both vacant properties as well as on corporate-owned vacant land that is not being developed
- Ban new ownership by non-residents
- Reform the home buying process including a ban on blind bidding, transparency of home sale prices, the right to a home inspection, etc.
- Bring back provincial rent controls
Green Party of Ontario
Despite being notably smaller than its major competitors, the Green Party was, nonetheless, successful in securing a single seat in the last election (their first in Ontario). The question now is if the Green Party can leverage their minor win into something bigger or if it was merely a one-time occurrence. In general, the party’s policies are most closely aligned to the NDP, though they do differ on some key points.
Here are the Green Party’s housing proposals for the 2022 Ontario election:
- Build up to 182,000 new affordable community housing rentals over 10 years
- Mandate inclusionary zoning and require at least 20% affordable units in large developments
- End blind bidding, ensure transparency in home sales, and make home inspections mandatory at the seller’s expense
- Reinstate rent control to all rental units and implement vacant control to limit rent increases between tenants
- Implement a tax on people and corporations who own more than two homes, beginning at 20% for a third home and increasing with additional units