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Housing minister mocks Doug Ford’s concerns with fourplexes. Here’s what happened at Ontario’s Queen’s Park this week

Canada’s housing minister openly mocked Ontario Premier Doug Ford on social media Friday over his concerns over fourplexes.

Throughout the week, the premier has made it clear that he does not support a provincial mandate to build fourplexes in residential neighbourhoods—something that both the Ontario Housing Affordability Task Force and the federal government have recommended.

Later, he clarified he was just against four-storey “towers.”

“You have to differentiate between putting four units in an existing house or your neighbour tearing down the house and putting a four-storey tower,” Ford said on Friday.

“But what I’m not for is putting four-storey, six-storey, eight-storey towers, right dead centre in a community with regular housing.”

Ford indicated the reason was that neighbours would be “screaming” if a four-storey building was put up right beside them.

In a social media post, federal Housing Minister Sean Fraser posted three photos of fourplexes built within neighbourhoods, saying the following images “may frighten some politicians.

“Maybe my elder millennial is showing, but these homes in great locations look like good options to me.”

Here’s what else happened at Queen’s Park this week

Could the feds withhold Ontario funding?

Fraser, in a letter sent to Ontario Housing Minister Paul Calandra this week, said the federal government could withhold funding earmarked for affordable housing unless the province could show how it was going to meet its targets.

In a letter sent on March 21, Fraser wrote that Ontario had pledged to deliver 19,660 affordable housing units as part of a 10-year bilateral deal signed in 2018.

As it stands, Ontario is expected to have 1,184 new units by the end of 2024-2025.

Calandra did not appreciate the threat even though the province also withholds funding from municipalities that don’t meet their housing targets.

Billion violations and secrecy

The names of physicians and facilities found to have engaged in extra-billing for health services are being kept secret.

In data obtained by CTV News Toronto in a freedom of information request, the government redacted the names of service providers found to have violated the Commitment to the Future of Medicare Act.

They argued the disclosure of the records could prejudice the competitive position of a person or organization, and therefore, are exempt from freedom of information laws.

Sylvia Jones

However advocates and opposition parties say that a lack of transparency causes distrust in the health-care system and doesn’t hold bad actors accountable.

To read this exclusive piece, click here.

Provincial park details revealed

New details dropped on Ontario’s new operating provincial park this week.

In a preliminary management plan, the provincial government outlines their proposal for Bigwind Lake Provincial Park, east of Bracebridge, Ont. It includes an expansion of the boundary, a potential name change, and an integrated trail system.

The full details can be found here.

Ford will not pave Ontario Place waterfront

The Ford government has said a previous plan that could have seen part of Lake Ontario filled in near Ontario Place is void.

Heavily redacted documents released by the Ontario New Democratic Party from September 2020 revealed maps showing up to 25 acres of “potential future development opportunity” on a water-forward section of the East Island.

A map within those documents reveals that in order to start construction, a land gap along the waterfront of the East Island may need be filled in.

map ontario place 2020

But the government said those plans are no longer being considered, adding there is no “phase 2” for Ontario Place.

“What we decided to do was instead to expand the public realm space to 50 acres. We’re building a brand-new stage, wellness facility, park and, as well, a new science centre, marina and food and beverage [locations] on the site. That is what we showed to the public in April; that is what we are constructing today.”

Will Highway 413 finally go forward?

The province appears to have come to an agreement with the federal government on at least one matter—that an environmental assessment of Ford’s flagship Highway 413 should not take place.

A joint consent order, which still needs to be approved by the courts, would cancel an environmental impact study on the proposed highway.

The government has actively been fighting this process and in October 2023, took the matter to the courts.

$200M proposed class action

The Ford government is facing a proposed class-action lawsuit for ending a basic income pilot project early in three Ontario cities.

In 2017, the Ontario government launched a three-year basic income pilot for low-income earners in Hamilton, Lindsay, and Thunder Bay, but Ford terminated it after he was elected in 2018.

The class action argues the program’s cancellation was “devastating” for applicants whose last payment date was March 25, 2019.

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