Mayor John Tory unveils 3-point plan for building affordable housing

Mayor John Tory vowed he will not waver on a campaign promise to build 40,000 new affordable housing units over the next 12 years, and highlighted some of the next steps the city will take.

Fresh off election win, Tory says goal of developing 40,000 units is ‘realistic’

Mayor John Tory says the affordable housing target he set during his campaign is 'realistic.' (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Mayor John Tory is vowing he will not waver on a campaign promise to build 40,000 new affordable housing units over the next 12 years, and on Wednesday he highlighted some of the next steps the city will take.

Tory made housing the focus of his first news conference since winning Monday's election with 63 per cent of the vote, saying he's determined to do more and do it quickly.

"It is time to get on with building," he told reporters on Wednesday.

A number of factors, including but not limited to an expensive real estate market and record-low vacancy rates, have made it increasingly difficult for many Torontonians to find housing they can afford.

Tory said the city has a three-point plan to deal with that.

  • First, the city has identified 10 more sites where it owns land that can be redeveloped into housing (previously, city staff had identified 48 sites).
  • Second, city officials will figure out how to speed up the approval process required to build new housing.
  • And finally, the city is repeating calls to the provincial and federal governments to offer up land they're holding in the city, with hopes that too can be converted into housing.

Tory said he wants a plan to speed up the process on his desk in 30 days, while the newly-elected city council will vote on whether or not to redevelop the 10 new sites at its first meeting.

The city's has been slow to build new affordable housing in recent years, and has also been criticized for how it advertises the units it does finish. However, Tory said he believes the 40,000-unit target is "realistic."

Geordie Dent of the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations welcomed Tory setting tangible targets, but said when it comes to building housing the devil is in the details.

For example, Dent said it's unclear how many of the buildings, once they're built, will truly be "deeply affordable," meaning those living on minimum wage can actually live there.

"If you're low-income, you're leaving Toronto right now," he said.

Jennifer Keesmaat, the former chief city planner who finished second in Monday's mayoral race, had promised to build 100,000 affordable housing units in a decade if she was elected.

The morning after Tory's election win, he outlined his agenda for the next four years on CBC Radio's Metro Morning. You can listen to that interview in the player below:

A conversation with John Tory, who was re-elected as Toronto's mayor last night. 8:51