The Government of Ontario just announced on November 28th a new action plan to tackle housing. Their goal is to make it more affordable and increase choice for the hardworking people of the province.
The action plan recognizes that people in Ontario are struggling. Housing demand has increased thanks to strong population growth and low interest rates (before the Bank of Canada raised them). But supply didn’t seem to be enough. It didn’t meet the demand, and so, higher prices and rents are the end result.
“In communities all across Ontario, people are struggling to find housing they can afford,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “We’re taking action to help create more housing faster, give people more choice and bring down housing costs.”
The government’s plans to “knock down barriers” for people to meet their housing needs. To achieve this, they will take three courses of action:
New rental units will be exempt from rent control after November 15th, 2018. However, the rent increase limits will continue to be in place for existing tenants. The rent will not go up more than 1.8% in 2019.
The previous government’s Development Charges Rebate Program will end. According to the current government, the plan is “expensive and ineffective.” The program reduced construction costs of rental units in some communities. But it also ensured municipalities tax new rental properties at a similar rate than those already in place, which acted as a form of rent control. The current government wants to exempt new units from this type of rent control to incentivize developers to build more rental housing without using taxpayers’ money.
A public consultation to inform the broader plan. The government is seeking the people’s input about the housing supply action plan. Community groups can host local roundtables to share their thoughts and individuals can share their feedback on reducing housing costs. See how you can participate.
The plan also aims to put Ontario’s economy back on its feet by encouraging business investment. “High housing costs are a barrier to job creators, large and small, because employees need affordable places to live,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “Making housing more affordable will encourage people to start and grow businesses, right here at home.” Construction jobs is one of the main goals, as they state that adding 10,000 housing projects per year will create about 15,000 new jobs over three years - and grow the real GDP.
The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) has come in favour of the government’s action plan. Since Toronto, has had challenges caused by the insufficient housing supply, TREB said that they “applaud the provincial government for taking action to ensure that our City, region and Province have an adequate supply and an appropriate mix of housing.”