Ontario wants to create a task force to study a problem everyone already understands
Just released by the PC government, the 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review is packed full of pledges and promises, and could be read as sort of a campaign primer for the 43rd Ontario general election that will be held on or before June 2, 2022
Among these promises is a single line saying that the province will establish a housing affordability task force that will provide a list of recommendations to Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark.
Municipal Affairs and Housing director of communications Zoe Knowles told The Canadian Press, "We know there is still more to do, which is why we are creating a Housing Affordability Task Force to identify other opportunities to get shovels in the ground faster, remove duplication and barriers, and make housing more affordable for hardworking Ontarians."
"It will explore measures to support market housing supply and affordability, and provide the government with strategies and advice to continue to address Ontario's housing crisis."
And while curbing the housing crisis is something that every party is promising in the run-up to the upcoming provincial election, the frenzied housing game is actually leaving the province flush with cash, raking in $5 billion from land transfer taxes alone this fiscal year.
Like what was seen at the federal level this summer, provincial parties, including the Ontario PCs, have had much to say about the housing crisis in the last few months.
Municipalities like Toronto are approaching the problem head-on with policies like inclusionary zoning and the construction of affordable housing, and the Ford PCs are facing growing calls to take action at the provincial level.
Opposition parties seem to be painting the move to create a task force as little more than lip service, with an NDP spokesperson telling media, "It really is the oldest trick in the book to say, 'We are going to set up a task force to study a problem that we know already exists and we also already know the solutions to.'"
Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca said more or less the same thing, quoted as saying that "The last thing Ontario needs is another panel on housing to delay the solutions we already know are needed."
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