There were 35 names on the ballot in the race for the mayor’s chair, but John Tory has been elected as Toronto’s mayor for his second term.
Tory captured about 63 per cent of the vote, while his main rival, Jennifer Keesmaat, took about 23 per cent. And while Tory is a constant on our political scene, so too is the issue of affordable housing.
Affordable housing has reached crisis levels in Toronto.
The average GTA home price hit $796,786 in September and mortgage rates on the rise. Torontonians are seeing their affordability squeezed tighter than ever before.
During the Toronto municipal election campaign, Tory unveiled plans to improve housing affordability as part of his platform.
Let’s take a look back at what he pledged to do as mayor for another to help the City of Toronto:
Where John Tory Stands On Affordable Housing Supply
Tory created the Open Door Program, in efforts to address this during his mayoral term. This leverages city land, and offers developers incentives via property tax deferrals and development charge waivers. Tory counts the processing of 18 city sites among his list of accomplishments.
Looking forward, he pledges to continue to earmark city lands, especially those close to TTC stations for high-density infrastructure, as well as “attract social impact investors” to support the creation of more affordable housing.
Where John Tory Stands On Fixing Toronto’s Rental Market
Skyrocketing rents and lack of supply have reached crisis levels in Toronto – with a vacancy rate below one per cent, it is one of the most keenly-felt issues for city residents.
Tory campaigned on a promise to create 40,000 affordable rental units over a 12-year time frame, averaging 3,300 per year. This is in addition to the 3,700 affordable rental units approved for development during his tenure.
He also highlighted ongoing advocacy efforts in partnership with other Canadian mayors to leverage the federal $40-billion National Housing Strategy to create more affordable housing.
Where John Tory Stands On Repealing Property And Land Transfer Tax
While Tory pledged to keep Toronto property tax rates – which are among the lowest in Canada– capped at inflation or lower, he is not prepared to reduce the amount new home buyers must pay via the Municipal Land Transfer Tax.
That’s the main affordability hurdle for Toronto’s home buyers, says TREB, as they are the only ones in Canada to be charged this closing cost both at a municipal and provincial level, paying $25,162 in levies for the average home transaction.
However, there’s no end in sight for the MLTT – it’s just too much of a cash cow, generating $640 million for city coffers last year alone.
“We’re just not in a position at the moment when it comes to meeting the needs of the city of Toronto to build transit and to help with affordable housing, to help with childcare and things like that – to talk about a tax reduction,” said Tory to an audience of TREB realtors on October 3rd.