Bill Kelly: Government policy is hurting, not helping the housing problem

A construction crane sits atop a highrise building in Toronto on Saturday, February 4, 2012.
A construction crane sits atop a highrise building in Toronto on Saturday, February 4, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Pawel Dwulit

A report issued early this week indicates that Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan could actually be hurting, not helping, Ontario residents who are seeking affordable rental units.

The report was commissioned by the Federation of Rental-Housing Providers of Ontario, and it states that at least 1,000  planned rental units have either been cancelled or will be converted into condo units, which seriously impacts the province’s rental housing supply.

READ MORE: At least 1,000 planned rental units cancelled following new Ontario rent control rules: report

Frankly, we shouldn’t be surprised by these numbers; we were warned that when the government imposed expanded rent controls and slapped a 15 per cent non-resident real estate tax in the Golden Horseshoe region, that developers and builders would simply walk away from housing projects and that’s exactly what seems to be happening.

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The simple truth is, to address the affordable housing problem for owners and renters, we need more supply, but when government intervention makes it more difficult for builders and developers to do business, those needed housing projects  grind to a halt.

READ MORE: Ontario landlords able to increase rent up to 1.8 per cent next year

The only way to solve our housing affordability problem is to offer incentives for developers to build more units, not to impose restrictions to stifle that needed growth.

The sad reality is,  because of government policies, it’s more difficult to buy a house and it’s more difficult to find a rental property in Ontario, these days and that’s not the way it’s supposed to be.

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