The Ontario government has chosen the nine members that will make up the province's new Housing Affordability Task Force.
The Task Force is made up of a diverse range of experts with backgrounds in not-for-profit housing, Indigenous housing, real estate, home building, financial markets, and economics.
The members of the Task Force provide the provincial government with recommendations on additional measures that will help address market housing supply and affordability.
The decision to form a Task Force comes at a time when housing supply is at a historic low, which continues to push prices higher year after year while the salaries of Ontario’s families struggle to keep up. Subsequently, the dream of owning a home is becoming further out of reach for many Ontarians, which has led to real estate groups calling on political leaders for more support.
The Task Force will be chaired by Jake Lawrence, CEO and Group Head, Global Banking and Markets at Scotiabank, who will put together a report outlining the Task Force’s recommendations that will be published in early 2022.
“I’m honoured to have been appointed as the Chair of Ontario’s new Housing Affordability Task Force,” said Lawrence. “I’m proud to work with a diverse team of experts who are committed to ensuring improved housing affordability for current and future Ontarians. We are eager to begin our work to identify and recommend actionable solutions and policies to support the government’s efforts to address the province’s housing affordability crisis.”
Alongside Lawrence, the Task Force includes:
- Lalit Aggarwal: President, Manor Park Management, a real estate development and operating company;
- David Amborski: Professional Urban Planner and Professor, Ryerson University’s School of Urban and Regional Planning and the founding Director of the Centre for Urban Research and Land Development (CUR);
- Julie Di Lorenzo: President, Diamante Urban Corp, which is one of the largest female-run real estate companies in Canada;
- Andrew Garrett: Senior Principal, Real Estate, Investment Management Corporation of Ontario;
- Tim Hudak: CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA), Canada’s largest provincial real estate industry association representing 82,000 realtors;
- Justin Marchand: CEO of Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services and has over 20 years of progressive experience in a broad range of sectors including two publicly listed corporations, a large accounting and consulting firm, and a major crown corporation;
- Ene Underwood: Chief Executive Officer of the Habitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area -- a non-profit housing developer serving Toronto, Brampton, Caledon, and the Regions of Durham and York;
- David Wilkes: President and Chief Executive Officer of the Building Industry and Land Development (BILD) Association.
Together, the members of the Housing Affordability Task Force will also explore measures to address housing affordability by increasing the supply of market-rate rental and ownership housing; building housing supply in complete communities; reducing red tape and accelerating timelines; encouraging innovation and digital modernization, such as in planning processes; supporting economic recovery and job creation; and balancing housing needs with protecting the environment.
The Housing Affordability Task Force was first announced as part of the 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review: Build Ontario. Also announced in the fall economic statement was the proposal to enhance the Brownfield Financial Tax incentive program that encourages the rehabilitation of contaminated land in order to spur more development, including housing. The incentive will be worth $2-million in 2022-23.
“Our government’s policies under the Housing Supply Action Plan are working to address affordability, but more needs to be done at all levels of government,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “The Housing Affordability Task Force will help our government build on our progress by identifying more opportunities to increase the supply of all kinds of housing, especially the missing middle."
"Under Mr. Lawrence’s strong leadership, I am confident in the expertise and experiences of this Task Force, and I thank them for their commitment to help us address the housing crisis,” added Minister Clark.