Statement on Affordable Housing

June 6, 2016

Mr. Ernie Hardeman: Ontario is facing a housing crisis. I do want to commend the minister for at least recognizing that point, but thus far, his approach hasn’t worked.

Every year the wait-list for social housing hits a record high. There are now 171,000 Ontarian families waiting for affordable housing. Since the government released the Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy in 2010, the list has grown by approximately 20,000 families. There are units boarded up because they need so many repairs they are unlivable, and housing money has been diverted to pay for trips all over the world. Clearly, the plan isn’t working.

The government continues to create policies that increase the cost of living in Ontario, including the cost of housing. Families that were barely able to get by now can’t make ends meet without assistance, seniors are being forced out of their homes, and now the government has introduced a bill which proposes to put the cost of affordable housing on renters and new homeowners.

In other jurisdictions, inclusionary zoning has included government incentive programs to ensure that the increased cost isn’t just piled on to the neighbours, but this government still doesn’t know if there will be programs here or what they will look like. The government doesn’t know who will be eligible for the units or how the price will be determined.

This bill says inclusionary zoning will be mandatory for prescribed municipalities, but the government doesn’t think they will use that section and they can’t say who would be prescribed and who wouldn’t. They don’t know what the standards for these units will be or even whether they will be up to the municipalities or the province. In fact, the government started consulting on these major issues after they introduced the bill.

Mr. Speaker, as I said, Ontario is already facing an affordable housing crisis. We can’t afford to get this wrong. The 171,000 families waiting for social housing can’t afford it, and neither can those Ontario families who are barely making ends meet. Housing affordability is a complex problem, but we need to take the time to consult and get it right.