Ontario's Fair Housing Plan would also expand rent control to all private rental units, including those built after 1991, strengthening protections for tenants against sudden, dramatic rent increases. In addition, it would empower Toronto and potentially other interested municipalities to introduce a tax on vacant homes to encourage owners to sell or rent unoccupied units.
The province will also work with municipalities and other partners to identify provincially owned surplus lands that could be used for affordable and rental housing development.
Housing is essential for families across Ontario, yet too many people are being affected by the growing pressures of trying to buy a home or afford their rent. In particular, the GGH has experienced dramatic price increases in recent months. While rising prices reflect the economic strength of the region and have benefited current homeowners, the cost of buying or renting is creating a massive burden for too many people and families.
Ontario's Fair Housing Plan includes an additional 12 measures, such as introducing a targeted $125-million, five-year program to encourage the construction of new purpose-built rental apartment buildings by rebating a portion of development charges. The government will also work to better understand and tackle practices that may be contributing to tax avoidance and excessive speculation in the housing market, such as "paper flipping" -- a practice that includes entering into a contractual agreement to buy a residential unit and assigning it to another person prior to closing. The Fair Housing Plan will also include a new Housing Supply Team of dedicated provincial employees to identify barriers to specific housing development projects and work with developers and municipalities to find solutions.
People work hard to provide for their families. They should be able to rent or enter the real estate market without making great sacrifices or taking on a huge amount of risk. At the same time, we recognize the need to protect the significant investment homeowners have made. This plan balances those needs to stabilize the market and prevent a sharp correction that would be harmful to everyone.