The Ontario Liberal Party says that, if elected, it would create a single rent control system for the province.
Currently, most landlords can only increase rent by 1.2 percent per year, however, that increase can be older in rental units in buildings first occupied after November 15, 2018.
“We will end the two-tier rental market, regaining rent control on all rental housing in Ontario and providing much-needed stability to renters who can prepare for smaller, more predictable rent increases,” the platform states.
In addition, the party says it would create a legal framework that would establish rent-to-own programs, so renters could buy their home from the landlord. Meanwhile, it would punish homeowners who vacate homes in urban areas with taxes (international homeowners would pay a five percent tax, while domestic homeowners would pay a two percent tax).
The housing promises are included in the party’s election campaign platform, which leader Steven Del Duca officially launched in Toronto on Monday morning. You can read the full budget document at the end of this story.
The party also promises to address Ontario’s housing crisis by creating more supply. These are their goals:
- Build 1.5 million new homes over the next decade (Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives and NDP have committed to the same goal, which was set by a government task force).
- Some 138,000 of them will be “highly affordable,” including 78,000 new social or community housing units and 38,000 supportive housing units.
- It also commits to building 22,000 new homes for indigenous people.
The Liberals estimate that the construction works will employ about 150,000 people a year.
The platform also suggests that it would repair existing affordable housing, but there is no dollar figure associated with that work in the platform document.
How would the Liberals pay for the promises?
A Liberal government in Ontario would count on a renegotiated child care agreement and procurement “efficiencies” to pay for housing construction and other promises such as ending for-profit long-term care (an earlier promise the party said which would cost $50 million this fiscal year, $150 million in 2023-24, and $200 million in each of the next two years).
The party said it would also draw money from contingency funds that the province’s auditor general described as “too cautious.”
The Liberals hope to balance the budget for 2026-2027, with Del Duca telling reporters: “I think we are definitely on the way to be able to balance … before the next election.”
But it was not immediately clear how the Liberals would reopen the child care deal, which the provincial and federal governments signed earlier this year and only allows for renegotiation in the third year.
Here are some other highlights of the platform.
Liberals also pledged to scrap proposed Highway 413 and use the savings to build new schools and repair existing ones.
In health care, the party has pledged to spend $1 billion to eliminate surgical delays and reduce hospital waiting times.
The party is also proposing the creation of a universal workplace benefits package, which would be available to temporary and contract workers, including 10 paid sick days and medication, vision and dental care.
The party says it would raise the minimum wage to $16 an hour and increase disability payments by 20 percent.
The platform includes a number of previously announced policies, such as transit fees of $1 per trip through 2024 and an optional grade 13. The Liberals also want to bring back the canceled basic income pilot project and explore establishing a four-day work week.
Here is the full liberal platform released by the party on Monday: