Questions to Ministers Rasheed and Tangri on Electronic Service Delivery and Housing

I asked Minister Rasheed what our government is doing to streamline and modernize the marriage licence process. I also asked Associate Minister Tangri what our government is doing to build more affordable housing.

April 18, 2023

Mr. Ernie Hardeman: My question is for the Minister of Public and Business Service Delivery.

As the representative of a growing rural community, I hear from my constituents about the challenges they encounter when accessing government services, including those relating to marriage licences. In rural areas, barriers such as travel and lineups at municipal offices can often be a more prevalent occurrence than in other parts of the province.

It is essential that our government continues to modernize processes and make it easier to access government services, including obtaining a marriage licence.

Can the minister please explain how our government is working to ensure that services are convenient and accessible for every Ontarian, regardless of where they live?

Hon. Kaleed Rasheed: Thanks to the member from Oxford for his question.

Speaker, our government understands that there are many Ontarians who face barriers when it comes to accessing government services. That is why we are hard at work to modernize how Ontarians access our many new and updated services, including obtaining a marriage licence, by making it more accessible for new and young couples to apply quickly and conveniently online, regardless of where they live. Offering online applications in six municipalities, as part of this new pilot project, is just the beginning, as we are quickly seeing the benefits of this change. Couples are now being able to enjoy a faster, more convenient application process that lets them focus more on what matters most to them. My ministry is committed to expanding this service province-wide, and I’m looking forward to my colleague—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you very much. The supplementary question.

Mr. Ernie Hardeman: Thank you to the minister for the response.

My supplementary question is to the Associate Minister of Housing.

There is still much more work to be done when it comes to making life better for people across our province. Whether it is a newly married couple who want to buy a home or individuals and families at different stages in their lives, people are experiencing challenges in finding affordable housing. Our government must continue to deliver on our promise to address the housing crisis that is affecting both rural and urban regions.

Can the associate minister please explain how our government is working to address the serious housing shortage situation facing our province?

Hon. Nina Tangri: I really want to thank the great member for Oxford for his question.

Our government is working to make sure all Ontarians have access to the dream of owning a home. We had close to 100,000 new housing construction starts in 2021, which is the highest in over 30 years. Last year, we also surpassed 96,000, which is 30% higher than the annual 65,000 home average over the past 20 years—pure neglect by the previous Liberal government.

In 2022, we saw the most purpose-built rentals on record, with almost 15,000 units. This represents a 7.5% increase from 2021.

Through our More Homes for Everyone plan, which the opposition NDP voted against, we’ve already made changes that will accelerate approval timelines for new housing and protect homeowners from unethical practices.

As the Premier said yesterday, it’s all hands on deck to solve the housing supply crisis. We’re working—