Toronto needs a champion at Queen’s Park to help fix what’s broken in our city

The affordability crisis has hit Toronto hard. Many are struggling. I have lived in Toronto all my life; I love this place. This city and the people here are vibrant, fun, energizing and diverse.

But it is too expensive. Too much traffic. Very little traffic. Too many people live on low income.

We need a champion of Toronto in the prime minister’s office if we’re going to fix what’s broken in this city and keep it livable. There is a clear plan of action, we just have to follow it.

Loopholes in rent control mean tenants face “renewal” by landlords who can raise the rent on an empty apartment, and tenants in apartments built after 2018 get no rent protection. The loopholes have caused Toronto rents to rise faster than inflation; a champion from Toronto would shut them down.

They would unload a barrage of policy tools to push more housing onto the market, ending skyrocketing prices and allowing wages to catch up.

That barrage would include:

  • Penalize land grabbing by GTA developers, pushing them to build faster.
  • Repeal rules that prevent cooperatives and non-profit organizations from accessing public financial support for development.

  • Change municipal rules to allow people to create more rental spaces.
  • Tax vacant speculation houses and bring them to market.
  • End hidden ownership to prevent Toronto homes from being diverted from residential use to money laundering.
  • Work with the city to free up public land.
  • Accelerate support for vocational training.

These measures would push Toronto’s housing and rental markets back into balance.

A Toronto Champion at Queen’s Park would also help the TTC connect all corners of our city and improve speed of service. More than 25 years ago, the province cut off all operating transfers to the TTC. The service was reduced and the fares went up. It was never fixed. We need to restore permanent, reliable, long-term support for the TTC.

And a champion would take on the owners of underutilized Highway 407, forcing them to accept free truck traffic and offload Toronto’s chronically clogged Highway 401. They would continue to expand our city’s subway network, allowing people to move from one system to another for a single fare. through GTA, and ensure our streets are safer for all users.

We need a Toronto champion who will help low-income people in this expensive city, one who will significantly raise the minimum wage, frozen for five of the last 12 years. Someone who would end Ontario’s nine-year Disability Support Program freeze and significantly increase support for people with severe disabilities. Today, ODSP forces people to survive on just $14,000 a year.

Life in Toronto could be so much more affordable — and healthier — if we had a champion who expanded OHIP to cover prescription, dental, and mental health, instead of eliminating services and reducing common prescriptions like birth control and prescription drugs. to control ADHD. Ontario’s private, two-tier mental health system makes it impossible for many low-income families to afford the medical help they need.

All of these plans are laid out on the Toronto platform of Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath.

We are all in this city together and together we can build a prosperous city where we can all enjoy a good life. A true champion can take us there.

Peggy Nash is a former NDP Member of Parliament and the author of “Women Winning Office: An Activists’ Guide to Getting Elected,” published by Between The Lines.

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