Ontario-Toronto deal to free up $1.2bn for city's programs

Accord struck between city and province this week

Ontario-Toronto deal to free up $1.2bn for city's programs

A newly cemented deal between Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow will transfer responsibility for two major Toronto highways, the Gardiner and the Don Valley Parkway, to the provincial government.

The deal, which Ford and Chow described as a “historic” accord, will also see the province take over the Ontario Place park. Observers said that this would allow the province to continue the site’s contested redevelopment.

The provincial government said that the deal would free up $1.2 billion for the city’s use over the next three years. This would give Toronto much-needed funding for crucial public infrastructure projects and increased support for housing programs, among others.

“By uploading the Gardiner and DVP, the city will be able to spend billions more on affordable housing, fixing transit and building communities,” Chow said during the governments’ joint conference on November 27. “Over the next few years, we will continue to examine the city’s finances and working on Toronto’s long-term financial sustainability.”

“When Toronto succeeds, Ontario succeeds,” Ford added. “When Ontario succeeds, Canada succeeds.”

The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) said that it “strongly supports” the commitment from the provincial government and the City of Toronto to advance transit, build more homes, and leverage surplus land in their bid to boost affordable housing supply.

“Now that Toronto has more financial support from the province, the city should look to reform the Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT), starting with providing relief to first-time buyers,” the TRREB said.

“The MLTT is a soul-crushing tax for first-time buyers and new Canadians. It puts sand in the gears of our local housing market and takes thousands of dollars out of the pockets of first-time buyers when they can least afford it.”

The Toronto government should also look at increasing the rebate threshold to $750,000 to “give first-time buyers a much-needed break.”

“Toronto has a housing supply crisis, and we desperately need to build more homes if we are going to protect the Canadian dream of home ownership in our city for future generations.”