WIN: Ontario delivers with Fair Housing Plan
On April 20 the Government of Ontario released its new Fair Housing Plan, a comprehensive document recognizing #CodeRed concerns that the economy fails younger generations so long as skyrocketing home prices leave our earnings behind.
Generation Squeeze wants to celebrate the thousands of supporters and allies who helped make this happen! We also want to congratulate Premier Wynne's team for boldly starting down this path, and for passing this legislation in the provincial budget today.
Guided by our “Homes First, Investments Second” principle, we called for new policy measures to level the playing field between renters and owners, tax housing wealth fairly, and encourage density to increase much needed supply, especially purpose-built rental.
In April Gen Squeeze participated in a roundtable discussion about the Fair Housing Plan announcement with Ontario Minister of Finance Charles Sousa. Photo by Peter Maragos.
Our specific asks
1. We launched a petition calling on the Ontario government to level the playing field between renters and owners, including by closing the 1991 rent loophole. Limitless rent increases are now illegal, and renters have predictability that their rents won’t increase more than 2.5~ per cent per year.
In addition, the Wynne government is adapting the Residential Tenancies Act to include a standard lease, and will limit the opportunities for landlord-initiated evictions. We’ll monitor what this means as the details become public.
2. We called for the Ontario government to encourage foreign and local investors to invest in purpose-built rental or innovative models of shared equity, rather than single-detached homes and condos.
- As we recommended, the Wynne government introduced a Non-Resident Speculation Tax of 15 per cent in the Golden Horseshoe region (from which investments in purpose built rental accommodation will be exempted)
- As we recommended, they have also given municipalities the authority to implement an Empty Homes Tax, which will incentivize people who own empty units as investment commodities to sell them or rent them out so they become homes
- As we recommended, the Wynne government has committed to combat the shady practice of “paper flipping”, by which some speculators evade taxation as they buy a unit and then assign it to another purchaser before the deal closes
3. We called on the Ontario government to encourage the supply of new homes. The Wynne government partially responded.
- The government will lower property taxes for developers who build purpose-built rental units
- It will rebate a portion of development charges that companies incur when they construct apartment buildings over the next five years
- It will establish a program to leverage the value of surplus provincial land assets across Ontario to develop a mix of market housing and new, permanent, sustainable and affordable housing supply
- The government will create a new Housing Supply Team with dedicated provincial employees to identify barriers to specific housing development projects, and work with developers and municipalities to find solutions to create new supply more efficiently
While there's more work that remains, today was a great day for younger generations. More information about the Ontario government’s new housing policy can be found here.
Are in order for our Toronto organizers, volunteers, Gen Squeeze letter-writers, and partners throughout Ontario (including ACORN and the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations) who kept the heat up on these critical issues! We achieved important policy victories that will start to help to ease the housing squeeze. We showed that politics responds to those who organize, and to those who show up.
Despite these important policy changes announced today, the evidence shows high home prices will remain for young renters and aspiring owners by comparison with the past. Further policy changes are required to support younger generations through #CodeRed affordability challenges that continue in Ontario.
See more wins
We’ve been on a roll lately. Learn about our recent campaign successes:
Let’s do more
We want to restore housing affordability for renters and owners — forever.
You can help by becoming a Gen Squeeze Member:
Code Red GTA campaigner Fatin Chowdhury was on hand to take this picture at the Fair Housing Plan announcement with Premier Wynne and members of her government.