CONSERVATIVE Party Leader Erin O’Toole, Leader of Canada’s Conservatives, on Saturday released his plan to improve the lives of Canadians in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
He said that nearly one in five Canadians live in the GTA, but families in these communities are increasingly worried about finding a home they can afford, the rising cost of living, long commute times, gang violence, and overcrowded hospitals.
“We need someone in Ottawa who personally knows and understands the challenges facing the families and communities in our region,” said O’Toole. “As someone who was raised in the GTA and now raising my family there, I will deliver a Conservative plan to build more homes, get shovels in the ground on transit, and cut hospital wait times.”
Through Canada’s Recovery Plan, Canada’s Conservatives will:
- Get housing prices under control by building one million more homes over the next three years and banning foreign buyers if they have no intention of moving to Canada.
- Lower prices by introducing a GST holiday in December, cracking down on price-fixing, and getting inflation under control by stopping the Liberals’ endless deficits, and responsibly balancing the budget over the next decade.
- Reduce commute times by immediately getting shovels in the ground on transit projects across the Greater Toronto Area, including Ontario’s GTA transit plan and GO expansion.
- Cut hospital wait times by increasing health transfers by a minimum of six per cent annually, representing a historic $60 billion investment over 10 years in health care.
- Combat gang violence by hiring an additional 200 RCMP officers to help keep communities safe.
“It’s time Canada had a Prime Minister from the 905,” said O’Toole. “As Prime Minister, I will secure the future for workers and families across the GTA and for all Canadians.”
A home you can afford
The GTA has witnessed some of the largest and most sustained increases in housing costs. The GTA is second only to Vancouver in the average home price. The average price of a detached home in the 905 region rose by more than 30 per cent year-over-year in 2021, hitting $1.3 million in March.
Canada’s Conservatives have a plan to address the housing affordability crisis in the GTA. To swiftly increase the supply of homes, a Conservative government will implement a plan to build one million homes in the next three years. To do so, Conservatives will leverage all federal infrastructure investments to increase the number of homes being built, especially increasing density near funded public transit projects.
A Conservative government will also ban foreign investors not living in or moving to Canada from buying homes in Canada for a two-year period. Instead, Conservatives will encourage foreign investment in purpose-built rental housing that is affordable to Canadians.
To help first-time home buyers, Canada’s Conservatives will make mortgages more affordable and accessible by encouraging a new market in seven to 10-year mortgages. Conservatives will also remove the requirement to conduct a stress test when a homeowner renews a mortgage with another lender instead of only when staying with their current lender, which will increase competition and help homeowners access more affordable options. Conservatives will help more families access mortgage insurance in the GTA by increasing the eligibility for mortgage insurance in recognition of rising home prices. Amendments to the mortgage stress test will further help ensure Canadians living on non-salaried incomes are not discriminated against as is currently the case.
Cutting commute times
With Canada’s Recovery Plan, a Conservative government will immediately prioritize the construction of all four rapid transit projects in Ontario’s GTA transit plan. This would include the all-new Ontario Line, which will take nearly 40 minutes off the daily travel time for commuters once completed. Canada’s Conservatives will also support the Yonge North Subway Extension to Markham and Richmond Hill, the three-stop Scarborough Subway Extension, and the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension to serve Etobicoke and Mississauga.
A Conservative government will also honour the federal commitment to the GO expansion project. Once completed, the project will offer expanded two-way, all-day service every 15 minutes in core segments of the network.
Conservatives are further committed to delivering the VIA Rail high-frequency rail project with planned service from Toronto to Peterborough, Smiths Falls, Ottawa, Montreal, Trois-Rivieres, and Quebec City. Once built, the improvements will cut about 75 minutes from the travel time to Ottawa.
Violent crime is on the rise in the GTA, while police forces are increasingly stretched thin. According to a 2019 Peel Police Services Board’s report, the region has seen an increase in high-profile gun violence in neighbourhoods with 59 homicides, an 11 per cent increase over 2018. Homicides are up more than 20 per cent since Justin Trudeau took office, and many of them are gang-related.
To tackle gang violence and keep communities safe, a Conservative government will hire an additional 200 Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers to combat gangs and the smuggling of guns and drugs. Most of these new hires will be assigned to the GTA where they are needed the most. Conservatives will also amend the Criminal Code to make it easier for police and prosecutors to go after gang networks and prevent unauthorized imports of guns.
Too many gang recruits, especially young people, are forced into the cycle of violence because there is no other option for them. Canada’s Conservatives will partner with employers in the private sector to create a Gang Exit Strategy. The program will give them a way out, allowing them to start fresh in a new location with gainful employment and the support needed to leave behind a life of crime.
Canada’s Conservatives will take immediate action to secure Canada’s healthcare system by meeting with the Premiers within the first 100 days of forming government to propose a new health agreement. A Conservative government will return the annual growth rate of the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) to a minimum of six per cent. This will inject nearly $60 billion into Canada’s provincial healthcare systems over the next 10 years.
This funding increase will help address systemic issues that preceded the pandemic, like hospital overcrowding, and those worsened by the pandemic, like surgical backlogs. These massive increases will also make more funding available to the provinces to address Canada’s mental health and addictions crisis. This funding will be in addition to the historic investments that a Conservative government will make to address Indigenous mental health and the opioid epidemic.