We have seen another jump in our daily COVID-19 case counts over the weekend, with Saturday and Sunday totalling 1,132 and 1,328 respectively. Today, that trend continued, with 1,242 new cases being found across Ontario. These numbers are incredibly concerning and are showcasing a continuing upward trend which must be addressed – it’s very clear that the status quo approach is not working – as new cases have been trending upwards for weeks at this point.
It is so important that we stay vigilant.
I know that COVID-19 has been happening for what feels like an eternity, but we must keep fighting together. That means staying masked in public and keeping our distance from one another. The simple steps that I am sure you’ve heard a thousand times – that is what is going to keep our community safe.
In some exciting news on the COVID-19 front, we are also beginning to hear reports from Pfizer who have announced that they have a vaccine in trials that appears promising. While we won’t know for a while longer just how effective it is, the results from their stage three trials indicate that it could be 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 infections. It’s important to note that there are more steps that need to be cleared here – but let’s take this as a win for now and remember that there are dozens of other vaccines in development across the globe.
You can find a much deeper dive into the vaccine from Pfizer here.
Next, I am excited to announce another group of Community Hero Awards that I was able to present in our community today, this time to some incredible convenience stores along Eglinton West. These stores are the absolute bedrock of our community, places of safety, and stability that have been there for us during COVID-19 when we needed those things the most. I want to say a huge congratulations to those who received their certificates today!
If the person, organization, or business you have nominated did not receive their certificate today – do not fret - I will be getting to them soon!
I am also still accepting nominations – and I want to encourage everyone who is reading this to think of someone that you think deserves recognition in our community. So many people have stepped up during COVID-19 – let’s recognize them. You can submit your nomination here.
Ontario has been suffering through a housing crisis for many years, and it must be addressed. Especially here in Toronto, we have seen unbelievably large increases in housing costs year-over-year.
Today, I’m very proud to announce the new Ontario NDP plan to address the housing challenges across our province – with a comprehensive set of proposals that get to the core issues that are driving costs higher and higher every year. Our Homes You Can Afford Plan is designed to methodically address a series of issues that have been plaguing us for many years. It is a detailed proposal and a commitment from our party that we will fix the housing crisis in this province if we form government after the next election.
This policy commitment covers a lot of ground, so for today, I will solely be focusing on the commitments for renters, and in the Wednesday and Friday newsletters this week, I will be covering more details for homeowners and homebuyers.
Key commitments for renters include:
- Ending vacancy decontrol
- Applying rent control rules to all units in Ontario
- Stopping unfair ‘renovictions’ and ‘landlord’s own use’ evictions
- Reforming the Landlord and Tenant Board
- Mandating Universal Design in building codes
- Ensuring vulnerable tenants and seniors have access to Air Conditioning
Of these proposals, our commitment to end vacancy decontrol is perhaps the most substantial, and the most technically worded.
So, let me explain what it means.
Vacancy decontrol refers to a rule that allows landlords to raise the rent by as much as they please between tenants. When there is a vacancy, the unit’s rent is decontrolled.
All rules that control the ability of landlords to raise rents go out the window as soon as a tenancy ends – and this is disastrous for renters in Ontario. It creates a perverse incentive for landlords to evict, as they know that if they can get their tenant out, they will be able to increase the rents substantially in many cases. Ending vacancy decontrol will also protect the market from the overcorrections that have driven up rents so rapidly in the last few years.
This would be a huge win for Ontario.
Over the next few days, I will be going through more of the details in this proposal, but if you want to see the whole thing now, you can click here.