Housing crisis at forefront of 2023 Toronto mayoral election

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Mayoral candidate Olivia Chow speaking at podium

Toronto's 2023 mayoral election this month may be decided by renters, and candidates are proposing some radical solutions to win them over.

Renters have become a powerful voting demographic in Toronto due to their increasing numbers – the city’s tenant population grew by 21.5% from 2011 to 2021, and 43.4% of all Toronto homes are now rented.

Renters are frustrated with rising housing costs and a lack of affordable housing options, and have been protesting to have their issues addressed by mayoral candidates.

In response, the top six candidates are increasingly prioritizing the needs and concerns of renters in their campaigns, proposing various housing policies and solutions such as zoning code reform, additional Rent Bank funding and stricter regulations for landlords. For example:

  • Former Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão would allow easier and streamlined zoning (no need for a special permit) for eight- to 10-storey apartments.
  • Josh Matlow is promising a “fraud squad” to investigate evictions and plans to increase property taxes.
  • Olivia Chow wants to build 25,000 new rental units over the next eight years and transfer affordable rental apartment buildings to not-for-profit providers.

As of Monday, June 5, Chow is leading in the polls.

Tenant advocates and election watchers predict renters will turn out in force on election day, June 26, enough to swing the election in their favour.

More housing policy headlines

Another group of Toronto tenants refuses to pay rent, this time amid near 10% proposed hike – CBC

​​Toronto tenants protest 'demovictions' – CTV News

'Landlords are people too': landlords bravely protest to evict people faster – Vice

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