The race is on to fill the seats of Ontario’s 43rd Parliament, with election season officially underway.

Premier Doug Ford has confirmed that the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, has signed a proclamation dissolving 42nd Parliament of the Province of Ontario, effective as of 4:00 p.m. today. She has also called for the issuance of the 124 electoral district writs for the general election, to be issued on May 4, naming June 2nd as the date for Ontarians to head to the ballot box.

Incumbent Progressive Conservative Ford is currently polling for a reelection victory, forecast to secure 36.7% of the vote, according to projections compiled by the Toronto Star, with 68 seats -- five more than the required number to secure a majority.

That’s followed by 31.1% of the vote share for the Liberal Party, and 19.3% for the New Democrats. The Green Party and “others” bring up the rear with 5% and 7.3%, respectively.

Housing to be a Major Focus for All Major Parties

The Provincial Budget, unveiled on April 28, is considered to be a stand-in for the PC’s official costed election platform, as the  government adjourned immediately after its tabling.

Titled “Ontario’s Plan to Build”, the budget did not include any new housing initiatives, though it reiterated numerous policies announced in previous weeks, such as the Housing Affordability Task Force’s mandate to build 1.5M homes over the next 10 years, with a long-term plan to address the housing crisis, as informed by the HAFT’s 55 recommendations. 

READ: Reactions to Ontario’s Budget Range From Frustration to Relief

It also re-stated the spend of $19.2M to address the backlog currently experienced by the Landlord and Tenant Board and Ontario Land Tribunal, as well as the $3B spend previously allocated between 2020 and 2022 to support community housing and prevent homelessness, including nearly $1.2B via the Social Services Relief Fund.

On April 18th, the Province also gave Royal Assent to the More Homes for Everyone Act, which proposes a number of changes to existing housing legislation -- including the Planning Act and City of Toronto Act -- as well as imposing new timelines for municipalities to make development and zoning approvals. The Act also announced new changes to Ontario’s Building Code, allowing 12-storey mass timber-frame buildings, and the streamlining of multi-unit building approvals.

The NDP released their platform on April 25, announcing they would re-introduce “real rent control”  including scrapping vacancy decontrol, meaning landlords could no longer raise rents beyond annual guidelines when the unit becomes vacant between tenants. They also proposed the establishment of a portable housing benefit to assist tenants who can’t afford to pay rent on top of all of their other necessities. This benefit is expected to help 311,000 households across the province. Their platform also included a call to end exclusionary zoning in Ontario as a means to increase the supply of affordable housing. 

Meanwhile, the Greens announced on April 27 that they would introduce sweeping regulations for domestic real estate investors, promising a 20% tax on multi-property owners, equivalent to the province’s existing Non Resident Speculation Tax. They also announced they would build 60,000 permanent supportive homes with wrap-around mental health, addiction, and other services over the next ten years. Furthermore, it promises to create 100,000 social housing units and reintroduce rent control for apartments. 

The Liberals remain the only major party to not yet release a costed election platform, though leader Steven Del Duca announced this week that the party would slash transit fares on all networks within the province to just $1 per ride, and cap monthly passes at $40, within the first 100 days of being elected, as well as an investment of $375M to expand and support transit routes and accessibility.

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