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December 14, 2001
Province derails rental housing protection legislation
  
As a result of opposition to the Bill in the Legislature yesterday,
consideration of Bill Pr22 - An Act Respecting the Demolition of Rental Housing
Units in the City of Toronto will be delayed until Spring of 2002.

The City of Toronto requested Bill Pr22 in October, 2000. Introduced by MPP
Michael Bryant (St. Paul's) on the City's behalf, the Bill would have allowed
Toronto City Council to deny applications for demolition of rental housing in
buildings with six or more units unless the rental units are replaced. New
housing development would have been encouraged, because it would have been
possible to ensure no net loss of rental units as a result of redeveloping
rental properties.

"This delay tactic is a major blow to the City of Toronto and to the one-half
million households in this city who rent their homes," said Councillor Brad
Duguid, chair of the Community Services Committee (Ward 38 Scarborough Centre).

"This is a classic example of the province downloading a responsibility to the
City but refusing to let go of the controls. Without the power to limit
demolition when the vacancy rate is below 2.5 per cent, this city's rental
housing shortage is only going to get worse."

Councillor Joe Mihevc, Ward 21 St. Paul's said, "The province has been actively
promoting Smart Growth yet it delays the very initiatives that would intensify
development and protect the rental housing that is so crucial to the health of
this City. By delaying passage of this Bill today, the province has delayed
justice for tenants in Toronto."

Toronto currently has a vacancy rate of just 0.9 per cent, which means that
there are just nine vacant rental units for every 1,000 people looking to rent.
This is well below a healthy rate of 2.5 per cent. Since 1998, there have been
six redevelopment applications in Toronto seeking demolition of more than 1,000
rental units. At the same time, construction of new rental housing has
drastically declined with only 30 new private rental units constructed in
2000.

A diverse housing market and adequate supply of rental housing are critical to
attracting residents and businesses that are key to the city's economic growth
and prosperity. City Council has taken a number of actions to encourage the
production of new rental housing. In 1999, City Council adopted Official Plan
Amendment No. 2 (OPA 2) to require replacement rental housing in demolition
applications where planning approvals are required. This policy is now before
the Divisional Court and the Ontario Municipal Board. The City has also
requested a national housing strategy and federal and provincial actions to
spur the construction of new rental housing. For more information, visit www.city.toronto.on.ca/toront
oplan
.


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