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QUEEN’S PARK — MPP for Guelph Mike Schreiner released the following statement in response to warnings from the City of Toronto that its rental replacement policy is in danger of being weakened by Bill 97.

“Across Ontario, rental rates have been far too high for far too long.

Nearly half of all renters spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent.

More than 185,000 households in Ontario are on the household waitlist for social housing.

With no affordable options to be found, what are Ontarians supposed to do?

With Bill 97, the government has sent a message to municipalities that they intend to fundamentally alter current practices that enforce the replacement of demolished rental units, weakening tenant protections and putting more power in the hands of the housing minister.

We are already losing affordable rental units in large numbers as towers are purchased by investment trusts and replaced with luxury rentals – displacing residents along the way. We cannot afford to lose any more of our vital affordable rental stock.

Ontario needs a plan to urgently build more well-designed, affordable, purpose-built rental housing and to repair and maintain the supply we have.

I stand with municipalities who are sounding the alarm. I will continue calling on the government to implement real solutions to repair our province’s broken rental system:

  • Renew 260,000 community housing rental homes over the next decade, in partnership with the federal government, under the National Housing Strategy;
  • Build 182,000 new permanently affordable community housing rental homes over the next decade;
  • Mandate inclusionary zoning and require a minimum of 20% affordable units in all housing projects above a certain size;
  • Provide nonprofit housing providers with the support and access to capital needed to purchase rental buildings to maintain affordability in perpetuity;
  • Partner with nonprofits, co-ops, and community land trusts to use public land for permanently affordable rental housing and attainable home ownership options through low-cost long-term leases;
  • Reinstate rent controls on all units to regulate rental increases year-to-year and implement vacancy control to limit rent increases between tenancies;
  • Establish a clear system for above-guideline rent increases that governs which renovations are necessary and can qualify for an increase in rent;
  • And double social assistance rates so people with disabilities don’t have to choose between buying groceries and paying rent.”
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