The Green Plan

Connected Communities

Ontario Greens have a masterclass plan to tackle the housing crisis so people can afford to live in communities they love. We’ll stop the sprawl and put an end to expensive, soul-crushing commutes.

Connected Communities

We believe in creating vibrant neighbourhoods where we can live, work and play. It’s time to stop Ontario’s expensive pro-sprawl, anti-climate agenda.

Mike Schreiner, Leader, Green Party of Ontario

Thriving communities are places where there are a mix of homes people can afford near transit, amenities and parks. 

Unfortunately, the affordability crisis means that finding an affordable home to rent or buy is pushing us further and further away and forcing us into long, soul-crushing commutes. It’s also turning homeownership into a pipedream for most Ontarians. Greens have a bold plan that the Toronto Star called a “master class in housing policy,” and it begins with cracking down on land speculators driving up housing prices. 

Past governments watched the problem get worse, but we have a plan to unlock solutions like triplexes, fourplexes and midrise apartments, and to restore protections for renters. We will work with nonprofits to build 182,000 affordable community housing rental homes because everybody deserves a roof over their head.

Community is more than a home – it’s the streets, parks, workplaces, schools, and shops that give communities their spirit and identity. Our goal is to build communities where we can access work, services and recreation within 15 minutes of home, because less time commuting means more time for family and friends. 

It just so happens that building dense, mixed-use connected communities is also the best thing we can do for the environment, as it cuts down on car pollution and spares our natural areas from more urban sprawl. Our vision is one of bustling main streets, bike lanes, urban gardens, electric buses, convenient EV charging spots, walkable streets, and so much more. 

We’ll also deliver on the urgent needs that rural and Northern communities have been waiting for – like high-speed Internet across rural Ontario and passenger rail service to Northern Ontario. 

Where we live, work, and play all combine to affect quality of life. Our vision is to create livable, affordable and connected communities. 

And we have a plan to do this that won’t sacrifice our environment or our health, and won’t create policies that line the pockets of land speculators at the expense of building great housing and communities for people.

Address the Housing Crisis

We have solutions to make housing more affordable. To create neighbourhoods without paving over nature. And to build for a climate-friendly future.

Aneep Dhade, GPO candidate

Housing affordability is a real challenge to many people across the province. Housing costs are rising faster than people’s incomes. So many households are spending more than 30% of their income to meet their basic housing needs. 

The struggle to find affordable housing looks different to residents of Northern communities, small towns, and rural counties than it does in the GTHA. But wherever you are, it’s a challenge to find a liveable, affordable place to call home. 

The crisis is province-wide. There are no neighbourhoods in Barrie, Guelph, Hamilton, Kitchener, Peterborough, Ottawa or Thunder Bay where the average one or two-bedroom apartment is affordable for a full-time minimum wage worker.

We urgently need to build more well-designed, affordable, purpose-built rental housing and to repair and maintain the supply we have. We need to adopt a Housing First strategy and work to end homelessness. We need to clamp down on speculation and provide funds that can be reinvested back into affordable housing, and we need to create more pathways to home ownership.

Our comprehensive housing plan, “Building Livable & Affordable communities,” lays out a strategy for making sure everyone has a safe, affordable and accessible place to call home.

Build affordable housing & protect our existing affordable supply

  • Build 182,000 new permanently affordable community housing rental homes over the next decade, including 60,000 permanent supportive homes.
  • Mandate inclusionary zoning and require a minimum of 20% affordable units in all housing projects above a certain size. 
  • Create a seed fund for co-operative housing through direct funding and mortgage support. 
  • Renew 260,000 community housing units over the next decade, in partnership with the federal government, under the National Housing Strategy.
  • Provide nonprofit housing providers with the support and access to capital needed to purchase rental buildings to maintain affordability in perpetuity and explore preemptive right-to-buy for nonprofits. 
  • Partner with nonprofits, co-ops, and community land trusts to use public land for permanently affordable rental housing and attainable home ownership options through low-cost long-term leases. 
  • Prioritise and speed up the development approval processes for projects led by or in partnership with non-profit housing providers, and provide low-interest loans via a new revolving fund.

Create more pathways to ownership

  • Allow single family dwellings to be divided into multiple condominium units to create more attainable home ownership opportunities within existing neighbourhoods.
  • End blind bidding to ensure that the home purchase process is transparent. 
  • Make home inspections mandatory, at the seller’s expense, to save new homebuyers money on unexpected repairs.
  • Consult on and develop a down payment support program to help low and middle income first-time homebuyers. 
  • Develop and support alternative homeownership pilot programs such as cohousing, tiny homes, and rent-to-own to assist low and middle income first-time homebuyers.
  • Increase incentives and streamline the application process for first-time homeowners to add affordable rental units to their primary residence to help pay down their mortgage.

Provide security and support for renters

  • Reinstate rent controls on all units to regulate rental increases year-to-year and implement vacancy control to limit rent increases between tenancies.
  • Extend financial support to 311,000 Ontario households via the portable housing benefit.
  • Establish a clear system for above-guideline rent increases that governs which renovations are necessary and can qualify for an increase in rent. 
  • Update and strengthen sections of the Residential Tenancies Act that deal with the state of repair for multi-unit buildings to ensure tenants have homes that are safe. 
  • Strengthen rules and penalties for renovictions and bad faith evictions to keep apartments affordable.
  • Increase funding for the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) to hire additional adjudicators, add transparency to the appointment process, and eliminate forced online hearings. This will help address delays so that both landlords and tenants have timely access to justice.

Address speculation and corruption in the housing market

  • Implement a multiple property speculation tax on people and corporations who own more than two houses or condominium units in Ontario. The tax will begin at 20% on the third home and increase with each additional property owned. 
  • Work with municipalities to implement a province-wide vacant homes tax to make it harder to use vacant homes as a lucrative place to park cash. 
  • Implement an anti-flipping tax on quick turnaround sales. 
  • Crack down on money laundering and implement a beneficial ownership registry to avoid the practice of nameless companies trading properties. 
  • Implement a database that tracks pre-construction condo sales. Developers will be required to collect and report comprehensive information about buyers to provincial tax authorities to ensure compliance. 
  • Work with all levels of government and housing experts to develop regulations to ease the financialisation of both our affordable rental housing stock and single family homes.

Take a Housing First approach and end homelessness

  • Restore the goal of ending homelessness in Ontario within ten years.
  • Resume the homelessness census cancelled by the Ford government.
  • Utilise a Housing First model to ensure that stable, permanent housing solutions are the first priority when helping those in need. 
  • Engage communities who have lived experience with homelessness in program development, as well as communities that face disproportionate levels of homelessness, including newcomers and racialized people.

Expand housing options for people in crisis and transition

  • Build 60,000 permanent supportive housing units over the next decade through innovative partnerships with public, private, and non-profit housing organisations. 
  • Deploy temporary and permanent supportive modular housing projects on provincially owned land as quickly as possible. 
  • Increase annual funding for women’s shelters as well as safe and accessible transitional and supportive housing options for women and their families. Increase funding for culturally appropriate transitional housing.

Strong neighbourhoods

Urban sprawl is expensive, terrible for the environment, and destroys farmland and wetlands.

Laura Campbell, GPO candidate

We can’t sprawl our way out of the housing crisis. In fact, it will cost us more to do that.

Paving over nature costs us more because it increases flooding and takes necessary investments to replace what nature does for free. It eats up farmland, which is disappearing at an alarming rate. 

Sprawl also costs us more in taxes, adds to traffic congestion and increases air pollution. And that’s all in addition to the environmental damage sprawl creates.

We don’t need to sprawl to meet demand. Expert data suggests that there is no need to expand beyond our current growth boundaries right now because we already have enough land set aside for development.

What we need instead is smart development that encourages us to use land wisely in order to build vibrant neighbourhoods with a mix of housing types – such as laneway houses, single family homes, triplexes, quadruplexes, walk-ups, condos, and co-ops.

An essential part of any community is small business. We want to make it easier for small businesses to succeed.

Whether we live in an urban city, a rural hamlet or somewhere in between, our communities can have local shops, services and parks that are close by and easy to get to.

Champion smart growth

  • Freeze urban boundaries.
  • Develop a “15-minute” neighbourhood framework that suits a variety of towns and cities across the province by working with municipalities on rezoning.
  • Reverse the Ford government’s changes to the Growth Plan that encourage sprawl and revise the Growth Plan to promote healthy density.
  • Require that intensification targets are met with distributed density throughout urbanised areas.

Build infill housing near transit

  • Build 1.5M homes in a variety of innovative forms within urban boundaries over the next 10 years.
  • Update the Planning Act, Provincial Policy Statement and other applicable laws and regulations to expand zoning permissions to allow for triplexes and fourplexes as-of-right within existing urban boundaries. 
  • Update planning laws to prezone for missing middle and mid-rise housing on transit corridors and main streets. 
  • Require minimum housing densities at transit stations and along transit corridors as part of the Growth Plan and transit funding agreements between the province and municipalities. 
  • Work with all levels of government to transform appropriate publicly owned land for affordable housing, such as above transit facilities and in transit station surface parking lots.
  • Reinstate the provincial brownfield remediation fund to support municipalities to safely build affordable housing on previously industrial sites.
  • Develop a framework that encourages the construction of housing on commercial properties, such as abandoned plazas and warehouses, where safe and appropriate. 
  • End mandatory minimum parking requirements for all new developments when they are constructed.

Ensure community consultation is inclusive

  • Work collaboratively with municipalities on a province-wide “Yes, in My Backyard” initiative to raise awareness of the benefits of infill housing within existing neighbourhoods.
  • Encourage municipalities to meaningfully engage with prospective residents, not only current residents, when consulting on zoning changes and new developments to ensure all voices are heard during the planning process. 
  • Explore innovative approaches to planning consultation that ensure processes are genuinely inclusive and meaningfully engage all citizens. For example, engaging people in community locations that they frequent such as coffee shops or transit stops, or providing childcare to ensure broader community participation.

Strengthen community hubs

  • Increase funding for local libraries and ramp up publicity around the important community programming that they offer. 
  • Increase support for community centres and neighbourhood coalitions, which play an important role in encouraging community connections and reducing isolation for elders. 
  • Restore funding, improve communication and outreach, and provide reduced fees for the community use of schools to ensure their availability as important hubs in our communities.
  • Provide free and low-cost community programming in high-needs neighbourhoods, including but not limited to covering costs for free evening, weekend, March break, and summer permits.
  • Invest in more Youth Wellness Hubs and community centres that offer access to local mental health services, spaces for social interaction, and supports for families.

Create vibrant neighbourhoods

  • Support municipalities to create infill greenspaces so that there is one within a 10 minute walk of all homes by 2030.
  • Amend zoning rules to allow for small businesses such as corner stores to open within residential neighbourhoods.
  • Provide start-up funding for community-owned healthy food markets and increase support for community gardens through land gifts and organisational support to eliminate urban food deserts. 
  • Improve the community benefits system for major infrastructure projects to increase the social and economic benefits received by the local community.

Help small neighbourhood businesses recover and thrive

  • Expand the Digital Main Street program to include nonprofit organisations and provide fulfilment platforms that better enable small, local businesses to compete with large online companies. 
  • Develop a small business grant program for Black-owned businesses. 
  • Support the increased staycation tax credit and ensure it includes dining at restaurants.
  • Work with insurance providers to develop an affordable commercial insurance program for small businesses
  • Develop a program to help COVID-affected small businesses file for bankruptcy in a fair and non-punitive way.
  • Improve opportunities for small local businesses and nonprofits to win public contracts through targets and by decreasing current financial and informational barriers.
  • Allow Ontario’s craft spirits, brewers, and wine producers to open independent, off-site stores; allow boutique wine, craft beer and artisan spirit retail outlets; improve the distribution network to work for small businesses; and allow access for hospitality to purchase from these suppliers at a wholesale price of up to 20%.

Create a new regulatory framework for small business

  • Undertake a review of regulations in order to weed out red tape and costs that disproportionately affect small businesses. 
  • Create standardised leases to ensure fairness and transparency and ensure that priority is given to existing tenants when leases are up for renewal.
  • Create rent control guidelines for year-over-year increases that apply to all commercial tenants, including new tenants, and implement a mechanism to enforce rules and resolve disputes.

Support local arts and social enterprises

  • Decrease land taxes payable for buildings in which below market rent opportunities are available to creative and social enterprises. 
  • Develop a made-in-Ontario social enterprise strategy with the nonprofit and cooperative sectors to drive local job creation and support rural, remote, and urban self-reliance.
  • Create a stabilisation fund for the nonprofit sector to ensure that nonprofits and charities can help rebuild the economy and communities.
  • Affirm the arms-length operations of, and increase investment in, the Ontario Arts Council and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
  • Reinstate support for the Indigenous Culture Fund.

Getting from A to B

Transportation is the biggest source of pollution in Ontario. Investing in clean transit systems is a priority for Ontario Greens. People need affordable options to get around, and they need relief right now.

Priyan De Silva, GPO candidate

To crush climate pollution, Ontario needs a real plan to decrease the use of fossil fuel vehicles responsible for an enormous share of climate pollution. We can rapidly move towards low carbon transportation options, including electric cars, buses, bikes and walking.

More highways means more congestion, period. We are the only party fully committed to stopping urban sprawl and building livable, affordable, and connected communities so people aren’t forced to spend hours in expensive, soul-crushing commutes.

Regional public transit is a key part of our transportation plan, including the GO and Northlander. Instead of pumping billions of dollars into climate-polluting supersprawler highways like Doug Ford is proposing, we’re committed to building connected communities where everyone has an affordable way to get around.

Our goal is to make it easier for people to choose healthier, lower carbon options for their commutes. This includes dedicating permanent, long-term funding for walking and cycling infrastructure so that our cities and towns are safe to get around.

Connect communities with clean, efficient transit options

  • Stop building new highways. Cancel planned unnecessary highways such as Highway 413, Holland Marsh Highway, and the widening of Highway 417.
    • Create dedicated truck lanes on Highway 407 to reduce congestion and the need for more highways.
  • Prioritise public transit in all transportation planning decisions.
  • Immediately cut transit fares in half for at least three months across all Ontario transit systems, including municipal, GO and Northland services to help people avoid the soaring costs of gas.
  • Restore the 50% provincial cost-share for transit operations in order to reduce fare increases for users. 
  • Electrify Ontario’s transit system as quickly as possible, including by adding 4,000 electric and fuel-cell buses by 2030.
  • Triple the number of dedicated bus lanes by 2025. 
  • Ensure all transportation decisions are evidence-based, without political interference, and include consultation with planning experts throughout the planning process.

Increase transit connections outside of the GTHA

  • Expand all-day, 2-way GO service to leave every 15 minutes during peak periods and every 30 minutes off peak, including weekend service. Offer at least one express service each way during weekday peak periods.
  • Establish a clean, affordable, accessible intercity electric bus service to connect all communities across the province, ensuring connections in small, rural communities and dedicated bus lanes. 
  • Fully fund the Northlander passenger rail service.
  • Explore on-demand systems for public transit, especially in suburban and rural communities.
  • Support regional fare integration and seamless travel between transit systems.

Connect neighbourhoods with people-powered transportation

  • Implement Vision Zero to prioritise road safety for pedestrians and cyclists. 
  • Create a fund for municipalities to build protected bike lanes while preserving safety and curb access for seniors and people with disabilities. 
  • Support sharing and rental systems for bikes, e-bikes and low-emission vehicles with incentives geared to income.
  • Require secure bike parking and e-bike charging to be provided in new and existing multi-unit buildings, in surface parking lots, and at all government buildings.
  • Redesign roads to reduce motorists’ speed in areas that are a particular danger to pedestrians and cyclists, and eliminate hazards such as slip lanes.
  • Require all new or resurfaced highways to have paved shoulders for safe cycling. Establish commuter cycling networks across Ontario.

Connect people with better broadband

  • Make broadband internet an essential service and roll out high-speed access across the province. 
  • Use regulations to level the playing field for small, local internet service providers.
  • Support provincial funding for programs to study best practices for teleworking as a climate-friendly alternative to commuting.

Inclusive and accessible communities

Ontario Greens support implementation of the AODA in our communities and will continue to advocate for accessible government services for all Ontarians.

Nicki Ward, GPO candidate

Inaction by successive governments has delayed implementing the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), so unfortunately the original goal of full accessibility by 2025 is likely impossible. 

Our communities should be built with everyone in mind, not just folks who are able-bodied. As we modernise the places we live, let’s make our streets, homes, buildings accessible to people with mobility issues so they are no longer cut off from their communities. The beautiful thing about accessibility is that it makes places more enjoyable for everyone. 

Ontario Greens are fully committed to mandating universal design to ensure that all new housing is accessible for all and suitable for aging in place.

Our communities need to be accessible and inclusive. They need to work for everyone.

Prioritise the implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)

  • Implement as much of the AODA as possible by 2025, and create a clear path for the remaining pieces to be completed as soon as possible thereafter.
  • Strengthen Accessibility Standards under the AODA to ensure the standards meet the needs of people with disabilities. 
  • Enact comprehensive Education Accessibility and Health Care Accessibility Standards and strengthen the Employment and Transportation Accessibility Standards under the AODA.
  • Revamp the Information and Communications standards to keep up with rapidly changing technology.
  • Review and revise the Design of Public Spaces standards.  
  • Substantially strengthen AODA enforcement.

Build accessible homes and businesses

  • Develop new comprehensive Built Environment accessibility standards by revising the building code for new construction and major renovations.
  • Ensure that new affordable housing stock is accessible, and require all affordable housing retrofits to meet the same standards.
  • Create incentives for retrofitting homes and buildings that make them accessible.
  • Ensure that design professionals are provided adequate training in accessibility awareness and inclusive design.
  • Substantially improve the accessibility of the Ontario Public Service’s workplaces, services and facilities.
  • Provide clear, in-depth guidelines and deliver more responsive, comprehensive support for AODA implementation to organisations through free, independent technical advice.

People-powered government

We are more than just taxpayers. We are individuals, family members, part of our community — we are citizens.

Bonnie North, GPO candidate

Municipalities have been under immense pressure these past few years. 

Previous governments downloaded many social costs onto municipalities. With municipalities covering these costs, there is less money for other vital services such as transit, libraries, community centres, parks and municipal building retrofits. 

We believe the Ontario government needs to be a partner in helping fund these important services.

Just over half of eligible voters in Ontario actually turn out to the polls– a sign of the deep cynicism that people have about politics. Governments have given them so many reasons to be distrustful, from gas plant scandals to the influence of big donors. Many Ontarians have lost faith in our political system and simply given up on going to the polls on election day. Many believe that under the present system, their vote doesn’t even count.

That’s why Ontario Greens prefer proportional representation voting systems that are truly representative of the electorate. 

But even under a first past the post system, Greens do politics differently, with a willingness to work across the aisle to get things done and a focus on people over party.

Ontario is only as strong as the people that lead it. Encouraging participation in running, voting and all areas of the political system are important pieces of our democracy.

Support and strengthen municipal governments

  • Grant municipalities autonomy to implement revenue tools to fund critical infrastructure needs and services.
  • Provide financial support for municipalities to bolster local infrastructure:
    • Provincially fund 50% of shelter and community housing costs while allowing municipalities to maintain management control. 
    • Restore the 50% provincial cost-share for transit operations and support electrification plans for all municipal transit systems.
    • Create a dedicated $2B per year Climate Adaptation Fund for municipalities.
  • Increase collaboration and consultation between municipalities and the province. 
  • Assess the use of City Charters as a mechanism to empower major Ontario cities, such as Toronto, and prevent inappropriate interference in local democracy by the provincial government.

Democratic reform

  • Create a diverse, randomly selected Citizens Assembly on electoral reform with a mandate to provide binding recommendations on modernising Ontario’s electoral system to ensure that every vote counts and the legislature reflects the democratic will of the people. 
  • Allow municipalities the option to use a ranked ballot voting system for elections. 
  • Create limits for municipal elections whereby no person may contribute more than $1000 to all candidates, combined.
  • Reduce donation limits for provincial political parties, candidates, and constituency associations to $1000 per year. 
  • Restore Auditor General oversight of government advertising. 
  • Require a five year cooling off period before MPPs and government advisors can register as lobbyists.

Make politics more inclusive and collaborative

  • Make funding available for non-profit organisations that provide additional training and mentorship opportunities for women, Black, Indigenous, racialised, and 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals who are considering running for political office.
  • Reduce the voting age to 16 years old. 
  • Increase the quality and quantity of local public input in provincial decision-making by creating new channels to give citizens a voice, both through MPPs and ministries.
  • Allow the introduction of electronic petitions to the Ontario Legislature.

Protect voter rights and empower citizens

  • Make the day of a general election an official paid holiday.
  • Enforce strict accessibility standards at voting stations.
  • Increase the number of mobile polls at hospitals, seniors’ residences, and for people with accessibility issues which prohibit them from easily leaving their homes.