TORONTO – Today’s Housing Protest highlights this city and this country’s frustration with our leaders’ lack of action in combating the housing crisis, which continues to worsen every single day. Skyrocketing rents and housing costs affect Canadians of all ages, ethnicities, walks of life, and political stripes.
When our city evicts people from encampments without a plan to house them, or chooses to keep rooming houses illegal to appease those fearful of their currently unprotected vulnerable neighbours, or chooses to leave neighbourhoods near transit untouched while others continue to commute from apartments far away, it makes a choice to perpetuate the housing crisis. We at More Neighbours agree with the people turning out to protest today when we say: Enough is enough.
This is a pan-Canadian problem, and this protest is joined by similar ones across the country. With a federal election looming on the horizon, and with provincial and municipal elections not far off, we at More Neighbours Toronto call on our leaders at all levels of government to commit to a strong, pragmatic, and effective housing plan. Much as climate change is bigger than any one (plastic) straw that broke Canada's back, this issue needs meaningful action across all levels of government.
Announcing incentives for first-time homeowners is a start, but if it it’s not matched with a great increase in housing supply of all kinds, it’s a narrow-minded band-aid that will leave behind today’s renters, public housing residents, and future homebuyers. When 95 percent of Canadian incomes are deemed in need of such a program, deemed to be set up to fail without it, it is the market that is in need of retooling, not the way we bell this lopsided curve.
As with the carbon backstop, the federal government should do all it can within its jurisdiction to push for proven solutions. They must tie infrastructure funding announcements to housing completion / density goals, or start programs like their Childcare agreements with 7 of 10 provinces, to ensure that lower levels of government can work towards housing solutions within their jurisdictions. The province of Ontario must update its growth plan targets to be in line with actual population growth and higher demand, and municipalities must build new housing like we are in a crisis, because, alongside climate change, our generation most definitely is in one.
The status quo is not an option.
More Neighbours Toronto is a network of pro-housing voices from across the political spectrum which believes that housing is a human right and is committed to counterbalancing the anti-housing agenda that dominates Toronto's politics and has created an affordability crisis.
For more information, please visit MoreNeighbours.ca or email firstname.lastname@example.org