By Bob Schickedanz, President of the OHBA

When casting your ballot, you need to ask who offers the best devices to address a mounting crisis

As we prepare to head to the polls, many Ontarians are wondering whether they can afford a place to live, and if so, where is that place to call home? The pending growth and the need to build at least 1 million homes in the next 10 years is a significant challenge for our industry, one I know our members are willing to face head-on. However, like any good home builder, we need the right tools in the toolbox to make it happen. 

There is no doubt that provincial policy and legislative regulations are significant components that essentially dictate and govern our ability to deliver the keys for a new home to families and individuals alike. In essence, our industry is founded on three pillars: the need for planning approvals and entitlements; the provision of infrastructure, including water and sanitary sewer capacity, roads and public transit on a timely basis; and finally, a skilled labour force to build the housing we desperately need. If the regulatory environment fails to support and complement any one of these three important components, our ability to provide for the housing needs in the communities and neighbourhoods across Ontario will be restricted and at times impossible. 

So what is the plan? Clearly there is room for improvement, as housing prices are at record levels with no end in sight. Unless serious considerable changes are made to dramatically increase housing supply and accelerate its delivery to market, we cannot meaningfully address this challenge. In this issue of Ontario Home Builder, we ask each of the four political parties to provide their game plan to deal with the untenable housing issues we are facing if they form the next government. I encourage you to review each party’s policy platform with critical scrutiny and ask yourself whether what is being proposed will have any meaningful impact in alleviating the current housing crisis. Are these the right ‘tools’ to get the job done, or meaningless ‘gadgets’ that look promising but fail miserably when put to the test? 

We can’t forget that the housing supply crisis is a shared responsibility, one that cannot be overcome by our industry alone. Like never before, the need to work together with all levels of government is paramount. Furthermore, housing can no longer be considered as secondary to other public policy initiatives. Rather, it is a critical concern and a number-one priority.

Regardless, it is our duty to champion the cause and spread the word by offering meaningful solutions to both the provincial candidates and the general public. We need to educate and remain informed to keep the great Canadian dream of homeownership alive. 

As you mark your ballot, it may be one of the most crucial decisions in a generation that you will make. It’s time to take action and become a housing champion!