October 12th, 2005

Money-back guarantee needed for recycled housing promises. . .


The Ontario Speech from the Throne, delivered this afternoon, recycles the same old federal-provincial housing announcement (this adds up to the 12th time that the province has recycled this announcement). Here are the words from the Throne Speech:

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 "At the same time, your government continues to work with the federal government on Ontarians' priorities. For example, your government will be implementing a new housing agreement that will provide 15,000 affordable units and up to 5,000 housing allowances for low-income households,
including people recovering from mental illness, victims of domestic violence and people in remote communities."

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Reality check: At least 5,000 of those so-called affordable units are ownership (and the current proposal requires a household income of $60,000 to qualify).

These units just keep getting re-announced again and again, with very few actually being built.

There was no mention of the McGuinty government's promise to repeal the Harris government's Tenant Protection Act (which gutted rent regulation and tenant protection laws in Ontario) and replace it with effective tenant protection legislation.

The only guffaw during the Speech (and the government certainly didn't intend this) came when the government announced what it called "the first money back public service guarantee in North America. Later this year, Ontarians who fill out birth certificate applications online will get their certificate within 15 days -- or they will get their money back."

Homeless people, low-income tenants and housing advocates should pick up this theme: We want a money-back guarantee on the McGuinty government's much-repeated but much-delayed housing promises. Either give us the homes that have been promised time and time again, or give us the money and we'll get the work done.

 - Michael

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Michael Shapcott, Research Co-ordinator
One Percent Solution research, education and action project
Toronto Disaster Relief Committee
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