Code Red GTA - Breakout notes

On Saturday, March 11, 2017, the Code Red GTA Emergency Community Meeting invited community members to brainstorm how we can take action on housing affordability.

The following notes are compiled from the breakout sessions on the themes discussed: gentle densification, acc

Gentle Densification

Reasons to advocate for gentle densification:

  • Provincial growth plan
  • Promote mixed income housing regions
  • Promote laneway housing
  • Popular support vs NIMBYism
  • Shipping container homes (example, company in Austin named Kasita)
  • People wouldn’t be pushed out of city centre
  • Example of experimentation with micro apartments in New York City


  • Problem with only singly family dwellings in neighbourhoods - relax zoning rules near rapid transit stations
  • Councillor is already facing pushback, convince them to go farther
  • Remove restrictions for renting basements
  • Reduce resistance to socialized housing (introduce small incremental change)
  • Example of collective action: Parkdale project
  • Challenges with heritage association - campaign to educate people, more desirable to increase density
    • Promote success stories !
    • Studies against myth that property values will go down
  • Establish land trust model: buy land to remove incentive to sell out community to highest bidder
  • Go to neighbourhood association meetings, go to development meetings
  • Target province - ontario municipal board - ANTI OMG meeting
  • Letter writing campaign
  • Eglinton LRT line, scarborough, dundas west + bloor

Participants: Patrick, Liz, Ashti, Ian, Adam, Ryan

Get Data

  • Find out how BC managed to make MPAC data free (MPAC facilitates through UBC)
  • Find out why Ontario is charges for this data
  • Identify and apply pressure to key members of MPAC
  • What are the client demographics of MPAC ?
  • Prompt city / Ontario Hydro to contact MPAC to ask specific questions (how many hoes have used electricity in the last year?)
  • In regard to facilitating conversation between MPAC and a local university, potentially contact David Hulchanski (neighbourhood change partnership)
  • Call on the province to measure / track country to residence of whomever is purchasing a home
  • Find a representative to be the official who stores the data (lends credibility) (david hulchanski?)

Participants: James, Jay, Gregory, Steph 

Foreign Buyers Tax

  • Foreign investors have no need for more than one house
  • Discrepancy between anecdotal and fact based evidence
  • Limit to one house
  • Must be working and paying tax here
  • As long as foreign ownership accursed* any additional supply gets gobbled up
  • Using canadian children to purchase for them and renting to students with wealthy foreign parents
  • Housing must be homes not investment
  • Tax has to be high enough to be discouraging to ultra wealthy - exemptions for people that actually move here to work and pay taxes --- limitations one home per family
    • Side note - only two housed per family maximum regardles of where you are from. Tax on all speculators including canaidans
  • More regulation on real estate agent - transparency bids, cooling off periods after bidding wars
  • Focus on provincial government to implement and should be a length of time before another party can reserve it
  • This foreign buyers tax should happen immediately! Monitored as more hard evidence / data is collected
  • Look at measures to tax domestic speculators

Participants: Yared, Stepahnie, Elisabeth

Homes First


  • City council
  • Members of parliament (oveall policies)
  • MPP (funding levels/execution)
  • Voters
  • Other ministries - MOHLTC
  • Social assistance programs
  • Community targets (y

    outh, voters, street community, parents)
  • Note: creating a strategy that does not divide different stakeholders.


  • Broad education on housing solutions
  • Using “housing is a human right” language - rights based argument
  • sit-ins/squat
  • Resource centered community mobilization (offering legal support / housing education)
  • Centralize housing advocates + working in communitieis
  • Video documentaries
  • Amplifying experiences of street community
  • Organizing housing townhalls


  • Growth plan
  • 2018 provincial election
  • Homeless memorial anniversary - october 28

Participants: Rajean (notetaker), Miguel, Hercules, Rahim, Marisa, Lina, Sylvia, Ange

Rent Controls

  • Eviction allows landlords to inflate rent on change of tenant
    • Landlords claiming “repairs” or “family moving in” (in line with landlord tenant act) - too open, no accountability to prove reason for eviction
    • Solution - have landlords prove cause for eviction
  • Lack of regulation - rent on buildings post-1991
    • Current tenant ONLY - profitable to remove tenant and increase rent - no regulation that stops landlords who do this
    • Encourage rent control
    • Solution - rent control (post 1991); incentive to improve units with tax credit (see below)
  • Market making it increasingly difficult to rent at a reasonable rate
    • Foreign buyers tax would help curb owners who don’t live in toronto and try to maximize profits
    • Solutions: Foreign buyers tax, Vacancy tax
  • Counter argument - rent control; would dissuade owners/landlords from maintenance and updates (less money)
    • Solution - incentivize landlords to improve units with tax credits/funding
  • Alternate housing structures - co-ownerships to create affordable units.


  • Look at reinstating rent control post 1991 -- specific inclusion of rent-control for rooming houses.
  • Create rent control guidelines that transfer between tenants or implement reasonable restrictions (reduce eviction)
  • Implement a vacancy tax
  • System for transparent accountability and penalty for landlords taking advantage of renters (e.g. rooming houses)
  • Improve landlord-tenant act to improve system for tenants and landlords and increase accountability
    • Accessible reporting system
    • Change system of landlord references
    • Increase resources for forming tenant associations


  • Bring issues to forefront at provincial election time.

 Participants: Zen, Emily, Mark, Souzan, Matt, Bee, Shanthiya

Other ideas

  • Increasing MPACs tax assessments in subsequent years

    • Lack of affordability for homeowners who may be tempted to offer airbnb housing or forced to move + house sale contributes to even more escalation in cost of housing

  • Media take interest in the LIVES of people instead of dehumanizing them.

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Code Red GTA - Breakout notes
Code Red GTA - Breakout notes
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