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Province seeks to provide more housing

Re: Councillors raise concerns with Bill 108 (Sept. 10)

Recent comments made by local officials in Brantford have raised concerns regarding provisions put forward in Bill 108 – and I am happy to provide some clarity.

Ontario is in a housing crisis, and a decade of inaction by the previous government did nothing to ensure that Ontario had an adequate supply of housing. There is no doubt that in order to tackle the housing crisis, we need not just more housing, but a greater variety of housing.

Bill 108 – More Homes, More Choice, was introduced by our government to increase housing affordability across the province. One way we are doing this, is by allowing up to two dwelling units per home. This means that a homeowner could convert their basement into a legal suite – creating much-needed housing supply, and even bringing in extra income to pay the bills.

Municipalities will still have flexibility through local rules to ensure that these additional units go only where the growth can be supported, and other specific requirements such as minimum setbacks from the property line. Municipalities will also be able to assess local needs and specify if they require that there be a parking spot for each unit.

We also know that adding a second unit can be an expensive and difficult process to navigate. That’s why we are exempting them from development charges, to make adding an additional unit more affordable. We’ve also developed a useful guide that will help homeowners build legal, safe and up-to-code units – which you can access at www.ontario.ca/page/add-second-unit-your-house.

It has become too difficult for Ontarians to find homes that meet their needs and their budgets, in the communities they want to live in. But together, with all levels of government, we are working to build more homes, and more choice.

Steve Clark
Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

Canada urged to provide global aid for education

Educational disparities have always existed, but the COVID-19 pandemic continues to exacerbate them. For the most vulnerable people, decades of progress are being erased by school closures and limited opportunities.

About 65 per cent of lower-middle income countries and fewer than 25 per cent of low-income countries have been able to set up remote learning platforms. Only 36 per cent of residents in these countries have access to the internet, raising more concerns. As well, without school, many impoverished kids lack nutritious food, vaccinations, psycho-social support and more.

Therefore, I ask Canada to invest at least one per cent of its COVID-19 response in new global aid, which can fund new alternatives to remote learning that are easily accessible by all children and give them lacking essentials. COVID-19 is just one pandemic, and, unless we do something quickly, lack of education is quickly becoming another.

Sahej Kaur Saini
Vaughan, Ont.

No chance of hitting target

As with the earlier Liberals’ long gun registry, Trudeau’s recent gun ban had everything to do with appealing to his urban voting bases, but had zero chance of eradicating gun violence in those same areas. Going after legitimate gun owners will never solve the growing problem of gun violence. Just this week, American authorities took down a major smuggling operation that was supplying illegal guns to Canada. Stopping the flow of illegal guns into Canada is where Trudeau’s efforts should be placed, not constantly going after law-abiding Canadians.

There is another elephant in the room nobody has the courage to talk about. Politicians, pushing political correctness over keeping citizens safe, removed the police ability to conduct street checks in high-crime areas, also known as “carding.” This had allowed police not only to take guns off the streets, but keep track of gang members. Police officers are now operating blindly when it comes to identifying suspects in gun assaults and homicides. Our courts also have a crucial roll and need to stop mollycoddling those convicted of using guns in the commission of crime, by handing out the stiffest sentences possible.

Larry Comeau
Ottawa

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