May 09, 2022
TORONTO - The Ontario Liberal Party (OLP) has released their platform for the 2022 Ontario provincial election. Included among the platform’s housing proposals are a pledge to build 1.5 million homes, end exclusionary zoning in the province, re-institute rent-control and create a public builder to finance and construct both affordable and market rate housing in the province.
A cornerstone of the bid to create 1.5 million homes is the creation of a public builder. The builder would work to develop surplus lands into a mixture of market-rate and affordable housing. This has been a policy long advocated by More Neighbours Toronto as areas with a public builder have been shown to deliver more housing. “This proposal is exciting because sometimes it’s best to just do it yourself building new housing,” commented MNTO volunteer Julia Gregoire.
The inclusion of “Street Votes” is also a welcome addition to the Liberal platform. While light on details, a successful implementation of street votes would allow a neighbourhood to vote to upzone themselves, allowing for a more diverse neighbourhood, and possible financial benefits for owners allowing more neighbours. Importantly, only upzoning is allowed, not downzoning. "I was excited to see the Liberals adopt this idea as it empowers local residents to welcome more neighbours and maximize the value of their property," said volunteer Sam Wong.
The platform also promises an end to exclusionary zoning. Here, the OLP joins both the NDP and the Greens in promising to end this discriminatory practice. “A year ago, it was unthinkable that three of four parties would be calling out this practice by name,” said Colleen Bailey, “but, by only committing to legalising two-storey triplexes as-of-right, I question if the plan is bold enough to reduce exclusion and have the impact on affordability that the party claims it will in these times of crisis.”
This is not the only issue with the party’s promise to end exclusionary zoning. A Liberal government would also seek to collaborate with municipalities on this front. “I have doubts on this approach. These are the same municipalities that have resisted even modest efforts at intensification, who wrote long policy papers arguing against the proposals in the Housing Affordability Task Force Report,” lamented volunteer Rocky Petkov. “What will the Liberals change to ensure a different outcome?”
The absence of an explicit call to legalize rooming houses was also a disappointing omission from the OLP platform. “Rooming houses are the cheapest form of market-rate housing in most parts of Toronto; legalising them is the bare minimum governments should be expected to do on housing affordability and tenant safety, as long sought by the Ontario Human Rights Commission, to end discrimination against protected groups,” said volunteer Jacob Dawang.
“With this platform, the Liberals have made some important steps forward on the housing issue but success will be contingent on getting reluctant municipalities to act,” said More Neighbours volunteer Pirawin Namasivayam. “If elected, it will be essential that Del Duca and the Grits show strong leadership and be willing to shepherd a sometimes reluctant flock.”
- More Neighbours Toronto
Media contact: Eric Lombardi, email@example.com
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.