Ontario misses the mark with housing plan

Nov 29, 2010 - Earlier today the Government of Ontario released their long awaited and much delayed long term affordable housing strategy.  There was much hope that after more that 6 months of consultations, over 1000 written submissions and a full year of writing that Premier McGuinty and his administration would provide a bold vision for affordable housing in Ontario.  

They did not. Instead they opted to package a handful of reforms as a comprehensive housing plan, while failing to act on key areas that ACORN members, tenants, housing experts and others had been advocating for.

Below are some of the key pieces of info from today's announcement:

  • There is no commitment to new provincial operating or capital dollars for housing.
  • No mention of inclusionary zoning enabling legislation even after key members of the provincial government voted in support of a NDP private members bill on the subject.
  • No ‘housing benefit’ to address the rising cost of housing among the working poor.

The announcement today wasn’t without some important advances for tenants and low income families; Below are a couple more promising pieces of the plan:

  • Simplification of the rent-geared-to-income calculation so that most tenants would only declare their income once a year allowing them to use the extra money to improve their standard of living.
  • A commitment to investigate a ‘housing benefit’.
  • Support for a national affordable housing strategy and a willingness to pressure the Federal Government to resume its role in providing affordable housing.