August 7, 2018

Bold Action on Housing Affordability


TORONTO -- August 7th 2018: Today, Toronto Mayoral Candidate and former Chief City Planner, Jennifer Keesmaat, committed to ending Toronto’s housing affordability problem within a generation -- beginning with tackling Toronto’s ongoing rental housing crunch.

“One of the greatest challenges to affordability in Toronto is housing. Too many young people are leaving Toronto, and young families are holding off on having kids because they can’t afford a place to call home. Our economy is also being hurt because highly skilled workers are being shut out by the high cost of housing,” said Keesmaat. “The problem has only gotten worse in the last four years and Mr. Tory has either ignored, or refused to use, the tools available to build high-quality rental housing. In a city as great as Toronto that just isn’t good enough anymore.”

Under John Tory, rents on purpose-built rentals have increased almost 20%, while vacancy rates have fallen to a 15-year low. Toronto consistently ranks alongside Vancouver as one of Canada’s most expensive cities in which to rent for the first time.

Keesmaat also noted that an estimated quarter of a million Torontonians can barely make their monthly rent. Almost half are spending more than 30% of their household income on rent.

“Toronto doesn’t have to settle for less,” said Keesmaat. “We need a bold vision and decisive leadership to create high-quality rentals in this city, to give the 90,000 families on the housing waitlist hope; to deal with our overcrowded shelters, and to create high-quality rental space in this city for young families to build a future for themselves.”

This is the first of a series of announcements on housing that she will make over the coming days and weeks of the campaign.

Keesmaat’s commitment to rental housing includes:  

  • Building, 100,000 units of truly affordable, high-quality housing in the next 10 years, for young people, families, seniors -- for people over their entire lifetime.
  • Unlocking city lands and making affordable housing the core of the mandate of CreateTO.
  • Working with the Federal government to ensure that CMHC’s rental housing construction financing program prioritizes affordable rental housing construction.
  • Use the federal National Housing Strategy funds to build new purpose-built rental and ensure that rents stay affordable permanently, not just for 25-30 years.

Taking these steps will provide a safe, stable, high-quality home to over two hundred thousand Torontonians.

Keesmaat will unveil more pillars of her housing commitments over the coming days and weeks, a bold vision for a Toronto where you can find a home you can afford.