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Candidates Q and A: The problem of housing affordability

Candidates from the four major parties were asked to respond to questions about key issues in the upcoming provincial election
2021-10-16 For Sale sign stock image

EloraFergusToday asked the candidates running for the four major parties in the Wellington-Halton Hills riding a series of questions about the upcoming election. Their answers will run nightly over the next two weeks. Responses were limited to 250 words. 

Tonight's question: 'What should be done to tackle the housing affordability crisis, both short and long term?'

Ted Arnott, Progressive Conservative

The housing market in southern Ontario is overheated. Real estate prices have exploded in recent years forcing many young people to put their dream of owning their own home on hold. Affordability is also a huge issue for many tenants.

All orders of government - federal, provincial, and local - need to work together to develop an effective strategy to increase the housing supply for people at all income levels. The provincial government’s Housing Affordability Task Force provides a basis for action: including increasing housing density, removing exclusionary rules, and ending the abuse of the appeals process, among many other recommendations. Both Government and Opposition Parties should set aside partisanship and seek solutions together.

Diane Ballantyne, NDP

As a County Councillor I know more housing is desperately needed in our community. We must build, build and build some more. The NDP believes that housing is a human right and everyone deserves to have a place to call home. Our plan is to address the complex housing crisis by building 1.5 million new homes over the next decade. We will end exclusionary zoning to ensure thoughtful infill can be built (such as duplexes, triplexes, garden suites etc.), creating the “missing middle” of affordable dwellings. We will also create a provincial agency, Housing Ontario, to finance and build at least 250,000 units of rent-geared-to-income housing over 10 years. 

People across Ontario deserve a government that helps make housing affordable – whether that’s a decent affordable rental or help buying their first home. The Ontario NDP has released its concrete, doable plan to fix the housing crisis. We’ll work hard to ensure every Ontarian has a decent, affordable place to live, wherever you live, whether you’re renting or buying. Specifically we will:

  • Ensure there is thoughtful in-fill while also protecting our precious farmland from sprawl. 
  • Bring back real rent control for all apartments,
  • We’ll fix the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) and restore the right to in-person hearings.
  • We will create a portable housing benefit, as recommended by the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA) and Co-Operative Housing Federation Of Canada

Ryan Karho, Green Party

Ontario Greens believe in creating vibrant and healthy neighbourhoods where we can live, work and play through the establishment of Connected Communities.

Greens have a real plan, one that the Toronto Star called a “master class in housing policy."

Our plan to address the housing crisis both short and longterm focuses on build affordable housing and protect our existing affordable supply. We will:

  • Build 182,000 new permanently affordable community housing rental homes over the next decade, including 60,000 permanent supportive homes.
  • Mandate inclusionary zoning and require a minimum of 20 per cent affordable units in all housing projects above a certain size. 
  • Create a seed fund for co-operative housing through direct funding and mortgage support. 
  • Renew 260,000 community housing rental homes over the next decade, in partnership with the federal government, under the National Housing Strategy.
  • Provide nonprofit housing providers with the support and access to capital needed to purchase rental buildings to maintain affordability.
  • Partner with nonprofits, co-ops, and community land trusts to use public land for permanently affordable rental housing.

It’s about more than just building more houses and protecting the supply, we will focus on a long term strategy where we will:

  • Crack down on land speculators who are driving up housing prices. 
  • Support development of mixed use, dense communities which is great for housing and the best thing we can do for the environment.
  • Support significant Green Retrofits for home to save people money on energy bills and generate thousands of good paying jobs.

Tom Takacs, Liberal

The Liberal Party has a plan to 138,000 deeply affordable homes for those who need them. We also will build 1.5 million homes which will relieve the supply/demand issue which is driving up costs. We will ban non-residents home ownership and will tax homes currently sitting empty.

We will work with municipalities to change zoning rules that discourage multi-unit housing in certain areas.