Ford says he has an “aggressive” housing plan and will focus on vacant properties | Rare Techy


Ontario Premier Doug Ford, whose previous government said local governments were holding it back from making further progress on housing, said Monday he has a very “aggressive” plan to move forward.

Ford said supply was one of the main causes of the housing crisis and he wanted to focus on finding land to build on, including vacant and redundant government properties.

“Land plays such a significant role in housing costs everywhere,” Ford said at a joint news conference with Toronto Mayor John Tory.

“You see the cost of housing and apartments and across the board, well, we have to use every stamp of land to build rental, affordable housing for Ontario residents.”

Home prices have tripled in the past 10 years: report

The prime minister has set a target of 1.5 million homes over 10 years, recommended by a government-commissioned housing taskforce report earlier this year.

House prices in Ontario have nearly tripled over the past 10 years, outpacing income growth, but the province has 1.2 million homes — both rented and owned — less than the G7 average, the report said.

Businesses and public services are struggling to recruit and retain workers as nearby housing is in short supply, hurting the economy, while long commutes cause air pollution, the report said.

Ford said looking at provincial and federal lands is his first step in the new government elected earlier this month.

“We should at least look at every available property and study it and make sure it can be built on,” he said. “But we have a very, very aggressive plan moving forward.”

Ford’s new cabinet will focus primarily on housing, leaving Steve Clark in place as Minister for Municipal Affairs and Housing, as well as creating a Housing Minister’s Association. He also gave Minister of Infrastructure Kinga Surma an additional mandate related to government real estate, the task of which was to find land on which to build housing.

Ford wants to standardize the approval process

Housing legislation passed by the government just before the election included measures to streamline approval processes, but lacked key measures such as zoning changes that advocates and experts have long called for, which Clark blamed on a lack of cooperation from municipalities.

Ford suggested that the approach is still one of consultation and collaboration with municipalities.

“There’s nothing worse than the provincial government going in there with a stick,” he said. “I believe there are more carrots to be given when working with them.”

Ford also said he wants to standardize approval processes and timelines across the province. Toronto is doing “very well,” Ford said, standing next to Tory.

“As far as Ottawa, Hamilton and I mentioned Durham, you know what, I have to tell people that everybody has to get on the field,” he said.

“You can’t put all the burden on Toronto and nothing on Ottawa — and the old ones not in my backyard (viewpoint) — when they have endless open land.”


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