by Tina Molinari, Associate Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Urban
The Tenant Protection Act is working, and I am glad that I have had a role in its success.
By bringing in the TPA, the Ernie Eves government aimed to strike a balance in protecting sitting tenants and allowing the marketplace to work. Millions in capital repairs have been invested by the industry, vacancy rates are up and new rental housing is being built. This is exactly what the Act was meant to do.
The opposition parties have indicated they will move backwards in terms of rental housing policy. Our government supports the principles of the TPA and will continue to listen and work with stakeholders like yourself in ensuring that we continue to move forward.
Our goal as a government is to promote and maintain a healthy rental housing industry throughout the province.
The Ernie Eves government believes the key to a robust rental housing market is to bring the private sector back into rental housing.
To this end, we have undertaken a number of reforms.
Last June, we passed Bill 124, "An Act to Improve Public Safety and to Increase Efficiency in Building Code Enforcement." This is the biggest reform of the Building Code since the Building Code Act was introduced in 1976.
Bill 124 cuts a lot of red tape for builders and paves the way for speedier approval of plans and inspections.
In another initiative to spur affordable housing in Ontario, we have given municipalities the authority to tax new rental housing at rates as low as those
on single-family housing for a period of 35 years. I am expecting municipalities to use this authority to encourage new affordable rental developments.
A third reform we have made is vacancy decontrol through the TPA.
This is a key feature in allowing rents to reach market levels while continuing to protect tenants. The government recognizes that increasing the supply of rental housing is an important component of a healthy rental market. Our reforms are working and we will continue to remove financial and regulatory barriers.
And I will say again, that our reforms are working - the current high vacancy rate is your proof. What's more, this leads to benefits for your tenants as well as investors: tenants now have more choice; new units are under construction; and there has been a surge of investment in existing rental housing stock-balconies are being repaired, underground parking lots are being upgraded.
In short, the marketplace is working...
But we have to do more.
Last May, our government signed an agreement with the federal government to build up to 10,500 affordable rental housing units in Ontario. In the longer term, the government recognizes that improvements in the business and investment climate are key if the private sector is to once again start building sufficient rental housing to meet the bulk of market demand without government subsidies.
The Ernie Eves government recognizes the challenges facing the builders, the owners and the managers of Ontario's rental housing stock and we are working to improve the environment in which you operate.
A vital rental housing industry is crucial in the GTA and our government wants to work closely with you to make sure an unencumbered, market-driven industry thrives across Greater Toronto.
Your help in working with the government to ensure that we can continue to move forward with improvements to the rental housing sector is much appreciated.