Making Life More Affordable
For too many families in Ontario, it is getting harder and harder to pay the bills and make ends meet.
Over the last four years, the cost of buying a home in Ontario has doubled, rent has gone up by $200 a month, and prices keep climbing at the grocery store. Despite Doug Ford’s promises of lower gasoline and hydro prices, gasoline prices have climbed as much as 50 cents a litre and electricity rates continue to climb. Instead of helping families get ahead, Doug Ford has made life more difficult – whether it’s freezing the minimum wage, scrapping student aid, or cancelling Ontario’s drug program. We need a plan to really make life more affordable.
Homes you can afford, so you can finally get ahead.
Finding a decent place to live shouldn’t be an unattainable dream. But for decades, the housing crisis in Ontario has gotten worse.
Hardworking Ontarians are struggling to stay in their neighbourhoods, close to the communities they know. Folks are putting off starting a family because an affordable home is simply out of reach.
People across Ontario deserve a government that helps make housing affordable – whether that’s a decent affordable rental or help buying their first home.
The Liberals had 15 years to fix the affordable housing crisis, yet chose not to. They left big loopholes in the Non-Resident Speculation Tax (NRST), allowing foreign corporations and billionaires to buy up Ontario real estate at the expense of regular families.
Doug Ford keeps looking for ways to help his wealthy developer buddies and billionaire investors rake in profits. He cancelled rent control on new units, causing huge rent increases for tenants, with many living in fear of “renoviction.” He refused to give tenants direct relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. He abandoned Ontario’s target of ending homelessness by 2025.
HOMES YOU CAN AFFORD
The Ontario NDP has released its concrete, doable plan to fix the housing crisis. We’ll work hard to ensure every Ontarian has a decent, affordable place to live, wherever you live, whether you’re renting or buying.
Here are some key elements of that plan:
We’ll end exclusionary zoning, increasing the supply of housing options that are affordable, in complete communities where people want to live, while holding the line on costly sprawl:We will encourage responsible development within existing urban boundaries, while protecting farmland and natural heritage from wasteful sprawl. This includes aligning growth with transit investments and updating zoning rules to enable the construction of more affordable “missing middle” housing, like duplexes, triplexes and townhomes.
Build 250,000 affordable homes: We'll establish a new public agency – Housing Ontario – to build affordable homes that are operated by public, non-profit and co-op agencies, not greedy speculators.
Crack down on speculation: We’ll introduce an annual speculation and vacancy tax on residential property. Modeled off British Columbia’s tax, it will apply to all speculators who own houses they don’t live in. The rate will be two per cent of the assessed value and will be phased in over two years. We’ll also maintain the Non-Resident Speculation Tax (NRST) at 20 per cent and close loopholes that allow wealthy investors off the hook.
MAKE RENT AFFORDABLE
Pay what the last tenant paid: An NDP government will bring back real rent control for all apartments, eliminating the financial incentive for landlords to squeeze out tenants to raise the rent. We will also ensure that you pay what the last tenant paid by scrapping vacancy decontrol.
Help 311,000 households pay the rent:We will create a portable housing benefit, as recommended by the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA) and Co-Operative Housing Federation Of Canada, to assist tenants who can’t afford their rent in addition to basic necessities for themselves and their families.
We’ll fix the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) and restore the right to in-person hearings. We’ll end Doug Ford’s unfair “evictions blitz,” and make sure tenants and landlords can get prompt and fair hearings before the board.
CHEAPER AUTO INSURANCE
Ontario drivers pay some of the highest insurance premiums in Canada, and rates are climbing again. For many families this is a crushing cost.
For years, Liberal and Conservative governments have allowed auto insurance rates to climb and have ignored basic issues of fairness. In communities like Brampton, a driver will pay premiums nearly twice as high as a driver with the same driving record in other parts of the GTA. That’s not fair.
Ban postal code discrimination so nobody is gouged on auto insurance because of where they live.
Explore every avenue possible for bringing down auto insurance rates and improving service.
We’ll enforce transparencyand put drivers first at Ontario’s auto insurance regulator, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA).
AFFORDABLE CHILD CARE
Families in Ontario are draining their bank accounts to pay for child care. With fees so high, some are putting off starting or growing their family, and for many parents, particularly women, it is cheaper to stay at home than return to work.
Liberal and Conservative governments have allowed child care fees in Ontario to skyrocket to mortgage- level costs. For months, Doug Ford sat back as Ontario families paid crushing fees while every other province and territory signed a $10-a-day child care deal with the federal government.
New Democrats have always known the vital role that child care plays in our economy, in women’s equality, and in our children’s future success. That’s why we had a $12-a-day plan in 2018, and it’s why we will work with the federal government to achieve $10-a-day faster.
Andrea Horwath and the NDP team also understand that reducing fees alone isn’t enough – families need to actually have a space for their child. That’s why we need a workforce strategy to retain and recruit Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) and child care workers, one that pays them fairly. And we need to build enough child care spaces for every family who needs them. Without an investment in our child care workers and infrastructure, families are destined to languish on long waitlists for a child care space.
Get to $10-a-day, faster: We will explore ways to work with the federal government to speed up the implementation of $10-a-day child care.
Wages: We will immediately increase the standard wage for child care workers to $25 per hour for Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs), and $20 per hour for all other program staff.
Workforce Strategy:We will work with the child care sector to bring in a Workforce Strategy to make jobs in child care good careers. This will involve developing and implementing a wage grid and decent work standards, including benefits and a pension, daily on-site paid planning, paid professional development, and a strategy to help child care workers upgrade their qualifications.
Accessible, high-quality, comprehensive child care:We will ensure that all children, whether they have a disability, are racialized, or are a member of a northern, rural, or Indigenous community, are provided with high-quality inclusive child care options that fit their circumstances.
Licensed Home Child Care: We will begin to build a community-driven model of child care across the province, connecting and supporting licensed child care centres, licensed home child care, and Early ON centres. We will provide stable base funding for licensed home child care providers and offer them the option of contributing to a pension and a benefits plan. We will also provide stable base funding for licensed home child care agencies so they can offer more support and training.
Non-profit and public expansion:We will work with the federal government to build sufficient regulated child care services needed to accommodate families’ needs in all Ontario communities. We will put in place a province-wide strategy to guarantee expansion of public and non-profit child care – and ensure that any government-funded expansion will exclusively be public or non-profit.
Before and after school child care:We will immediately begin to reduce fees for before and after school child care.
START FIXING THE ELECTRICITY SECTOR
The cost of everything is going up, and people and businesses are struggling to pay ever-rising hydro bills.
The Liberals’ decision to privatize Hydro One drove up the cost of electricity for regular families. Doug Ford broke his promise to Ontarians to reduce hydro rates by 12 per cent. Now, Doug Ford’s plan is to spend $118 billion of taxpayers’ money to subsidize hydro while rates keep climbing. The system is broken.
The Ontario NDP has a robust plan to bring down the price of hydro for families and businesses while at the same time meeting our climate goals and creating thousands of good-paying jobs here in Ontario.
Expand clean renewable energy:We will expand our hydro capacity, increase affordable renewables – including wind and solar power – improve grid scale storage and make major grid interconnections with Québec and Manitoba to enable cost-effective electricity imports.
Conserve:The cheapest electricity is the electricity we don’t use. We’ll bring in an ambitious energy efficient building retrofit program to help families and businesses with the cost of retrofitting their homes and lowering electricity bills. We will also bring a conservation-first model to energy planning in Ontario, establishing a single-window of service for energy efficiency and conservation planning, program promotion, delivery and upfront financing. We will also work with businesses to establish lower industrial rates in exchange for conservation policy wins.
Stop privatization and expensive private power contracts: We will strike an expert panel drawing on expertise from jurisdictions across Canada that have kept electricity prices low by focusing on delivering power at cost instead of profit for private providers. The panel will include business and energy workers and it will focus on the best ways to restore public ownership, maintain reliability and affordability.
Stop waste: We’ll create measures to make better use of Ontario’s wasted off-peak surplus by making it available for the benefit of Ontarians, and we’ll take advantage of innovative new decentralized technologies to better align electricity demand and supply in real-time.
Everyone in Ontario deserves access to affordable groceries to feed their families and keep them healthy.
Create a Provincial Food Strategy that puts healthy, locally sourced food onto Ontario tables, supports agriculture jobs in food processing, transportation, biofuels, and retail, and helps young farm families and first-time farmers with mentorship, financial advice and loan guarantees. We’ll regulate the price of gas to lower the cost of shipping food.
Four years ago, Doug Ford promised to lower gasoline prices by 10 cents a litre. Since then, gas prices have only gone in one direction - up. The price of everything has skyrocketed under Doug Ford. The Ford government did not deliver on consumer protections. Ontarians are paying record-high gas prices - as high as $2 a litre in some parts of the province. Hefty gas prices are hitting Northern and rural Ontarians especially hard.
Regulate gas to stop gouging at the pump: We’ll direct the Ontario Energy Board to regulate the retail price and wholesale mark-up of gas to stop big oil companies from gouging Ontarians. We’ll ensure prices are fair, stable and competitive, regardless of where in the province you live.
Ban predatory payday loans: We’ll establish a Borrower’s Bill of Rights and Payday Loans Taskforce to recommend alternative financial products to our government, with the goal of replacing this predatory industry.
An Independent Consumer Watchdog: We’ll establish an independent Consumer Watchdog to handle consumer complaints and investigate businesses that violate consumer protection laws.