NDP promises more affordable housing

Meeting with the Scarborough Midwives

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath says affordable housing will be a priority for her party, if it wins the provincial elections come June 2.

In an interview with The Caribbean Camera while on the campaign trail last week, Horwath noted that the NDP plans to partner with municipalities and other “providers” to build 100,000 housing units and to ensure that rents will be affordable.”

“Apart from that, we are going to be building 39,000 units for people who need support just to keep a roof over their heads,” she said. 

“And we are looking at bringing back rent control.”

Horwarth noted that the housing crisis in the province has gotten worse in the last few years.

“It was bad before the Liberal government left office but in the last four years things have gotten much worse and that is because we have not been building affordable housing units in Ontario and we have not been making sure that people can afford their rent,” she said.

Horwath charged that people are being forced out of their rented accommodation “by ‘bad apple’ landlords in order to raise the rents. 

“This is something that former Premier Mike Harris allowed and unfortunately, the Liberals decided that they were not going to change it.

“But we will make sure that renters get a fair shake and with the re-introduction of rent control, ‘bad apple’ landlords are not going to be allowed to squeeze them out of the market.

Andrea Horwath at the Brampton Hospital Announcement

Horwath also spoke of problems facing young people who want to buy their own home but are “walking away from their dreams of owning a home” because of the “speculators” in the real estate business.

“We plan to build more starter homes,” she said.

The Ontario NDP leader also promises to move ahead with the party’s plan to provide drug coverage for Ontarians, if her party is elected next month.

“Our plan would cover a number of prescription drugs. We have people in this province who are not filling their prescriptions because they cannot afford to do so.

“And that means that their health deteriorates and they end up in our emergency wards in hospitals in poor quality of life.”

“We are also going to make sure that our pharmacare plan meshes with the Federal Liberal plan but we are not going to wait for them, once we are in government,” she said.

Howarth also spoke of the NDP’s plan to hire 10,000 personal support workers and “to make it easier for foreign-trained nurses to work in Ontario.

“There are thousands of internationally trained healthcare workers who came to Ontario with their skills, diplomas and degrees, hoping to build a great life here and have been prevented from practicing in their fields because they have not been able to be accredited.

“You know these people have studied very hard and they have done all the things that they had to do to make sure that they have their accreditations. The least that we can do is to make it easier for them.

“I intend to fix this problem.”

Andrea Horwath

Horwarth also told The Caribbean Camera that an NDP government at Queen’s Park will review the province’s procurement practices.

“We need to bring a diversity lens to our procurement practices, especially for small and medium-sized businesses, to make sure that when Ontario is procuring goods and services, that we look to our own community,” she said.

“I know that Black-owned businesses and racialized folks who own their own businesses have barriers to such things as accessing capital.”

If there are policies that can create more stability and more success for small business, then we should be employing those policies,” she said.

Howarth has also promised that “middle and low income people in Ontario will not see any tax increases from the NDP.

“I intend to freeze taxes for people in the middle and low income bracket and we are going to ask the big corporations which made windfall profits during the pandemic to pay a little more,” Horwath said.

“There’s a lot of wealth in the province of Ontario but there are far too many people who are not having their basic needs met and that’s not good enough,” she added.