Mayor John Tory expressed support for a Toronto city staff report recommending a tax to be imposed on vacant homes starting in 2022.
“We knew before the pandemic that we needed to increase the supply of affordable housing and ensure the city remains a place where all members of the workforce can contemplate living. In the wake of the pandemic, this is more important than ever,” said Tory.
“We simply can’t afford, from the housing supply perspective, to have housing accommodation for thousands of people sitting empty. You can live in it, you can rent it, but if it sits empty you will pay a tax that helps us build more affordable housing people can live in.”
“While a vacant home tax is not specifically a revenue generating tool, any revenue generated could be used toward funding important housing initiatives across the city,” said Councillor Gary Crawford.
The report estimated that costs of the full program start-up could range from $10 to $13 million over a two year period. The city’s chief financial officer, treasurer, and executive director housing secretariat have recommended that the city council authorize a budget of $5 million in 2021 and $6 million in 2022 to go to funding the estimated start-up costs.