April 25, 2022
TORONTO - The Ontario NDP (ONDP) has released their platform for the 2022 Ontario provincial election. In doing so, they became the second mainstream party committed to ending exclusionary zoning, a policy that More Neighbours Toronto has advocated for since inception. Despite this important commitment, the plan is too thin on details. We’d like to challenge the ONDP, and its competitors, to think bigger: to offer bolder commitments that rise up to the crisis facing our province.
"We’ve reached a tipping point: ending exclusionary zoning is now an expectation for serious political parties. But without more information, we cannot assume it is sufficient. We hope they’ll elaborate," said Emily Bain, a volunteer with More Neighbours Toronto.
Affordable housing is also a key focus of the platform - with the ONDP’s earlier promise to build 69,000 affordable housing units in ten years now increased to 100,000 units.
"Building and maintaining social housing while unlocking public land for affordable housing will make a difference. However, these targets remain inadequate to address the scale of the housing crisis," said Jacob Dawang, an advocate with More Neighbours Toronto.
The ONDP’s platform also commits to rent and vacancy control, which we agree with in principle to prevent displacement. We would like to see the ONDP acknowledge that these policies create incentives against long term upkeep and construction of purpose built rental, raising prices while deteriorating quality in the long term. We’d like to see further commitments to offset these negative outcomes directly.
Furthermore, the ONDP plans to reduce the power of the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) while giving some municipalities even more power with charter cities. In an environment where our cities universally fail to do right on housing, we are skeptical that empowering them further is good policy. There are reasons why advocates are demanding provincial actions.
“From our experience, the OLT plays a major role in pushing back against anti-housing elements and municipal leaders who pander to NIMBYs. A blanket empowerment of municipalities without recognizing the fundamental conflict between hyper-local and broader interests when it comes to land use will slow housing construction and let future generations down,” said Bilal Akhtar, a volunteer with More Neighbours.
"While the ONDP's housing platform is an improvement on their previous plans, it does not yet meet the moment.", said Rocky Petkov, a volunteer with More Neighbours Toronto, “This is a good foundation; we’d encourage the ONDP to build on it.”
- More Neighbours Toronto
Media contact: Eric Lombardi, firstname.lastname@example.org
More Neighbours Toronto is a volunteer-only organization of housing advocates that believe in building more multi-family homes of all kinds for those who dream of building their lives in Toronto. We advocate for reforms to increase our city’s ability to build more homes in every neighbourhood. We are a big-tent organization with members across the political spectrum who are nevertheless committed to counterbalancing the anti-housing agenda that dominates Toronto's politics, created an affordability crisis, and has cost burdened a new generation of aspiring residents. We are firmly committed to the principle that housing is a human right and believe Toronto should be inclusive and welcoming to all.