I know that the rising cost of living is a big issue for people. I hear it on the doorsteps and in conversations with voters.
As a father of five and the owner of a small business, I appreciate the concern people have about inflation.
Part of it is the soaring cost of housing and part of it is the general increase in day-to-day costs.
Parents know how tough it is for their kids to buy their first home, or even find an affordable apartment.
The fact is, the construction of units isn’t keeping up with population growth. We need more than 650,000 new units right now just to house the population we have. And we’re expecting the population of Ontario to grow by a million people over the next five years. They need places to live, too.
In 2018 we made changes in the rental system. The old rules discouraged builders from putting up new rental units. Since we made those changes the number of rental unit starts has been higher than in 30 years. That will help make it easier to find an affordable place.
When it comes to home ownership, we have started to hack away at the red tape and restrictions that were limiting construction. When supplies are limited, prices rise. Delays in approvals can add tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of a new house.
We have to be smart about where we built too. We can’t expand our cities endlessly into agricultural areas. So we have to build more units within existing urban areas. It’s easier, cheaper and faster to service the new development so those units are added to our supply sooner.
Brantford has been a leader in this area. We gave the city a grant to streamline its planning approval process. It saved the city $1 million a year in operating costs and has made it easier to get projects underway. Now we’re offering the same kinds of grants to municipalities across the province.
People are also concerned about the rise in everyday items.
We’re using the tools we have to put money into people’s pockets to help them cope.
That’s why we eliminated the cost of licence plate stickers. Now they can spend that money on more important priorities.
We’re also cutting gasoline taxes for six months starting July 1. That’ll mean a reduction of 5.7 cents a litre to give drivers a break. It’ll also be a big help to farmers and businesses that use a lot of fuel and are pinched by the high prices.
And we’ve tackled hydro prices, keeping a lid on rates and giving people the opportunity to take advantage of lower power prices during off-peak hours on evenings and weekends. By making small adjustments in everyday tasks, such as doing laundry, they can save themselves some money.
Every penny counts.