Waterloo Meet the Candidates May 29 2018

  Notes and Videos May 29 2018


Housing is a Human Right – UN has raised this issue with Canada – a federal issue. All levels of government have some input into housing issues.Most funding is cost-shared between the federal and provincial government in terms of affordable housing. Province can de-regulate in some areas. Social housing policy though is set by province.


 The Landlord-tenant legislation is provincial authority. Tribunal process divisive and unfair for landlords. Local enforcement is mostly at the municipal level. The good and bad news is that multiple levels of government are involved.  The provinces’ poverty strategy looks at housing as well as the National Housing Strategy.

 Inclusionary zoning – in every new housing project the municipalities now have the ability to mandate a number of affordable units. However, both incentives and the percent of affordable units rely on the local context. Inclusionary zoning only applies to new builds – it needs more teeth. 

We need to end chronic homelessness – this would lead to a lot of savings in emergency room care and save lives as chronically homeless are more ill and dying much younger. Shipping containers – unfortunately can be used temporarily only due to fact no washrooms

Concerned about Waterloo and LRT coming which leads to the affordable housing being torn down. Blockline Road will be developed for social housing. Core units are torn down and other options are so far away it cuts into budget – have to have a car/ bus passes, etc. Size of homes – in Elmira larger affordable units have been built but where else?

  3-6 year wait lists for subsidized housing. Expand subsidized rent program – the portable subsidy so you have a choice where you live. Are those living on the street asked what they want. The housing first model involves client choice.  The goal is to get people to stay housed.  Options are limited in terms of supports – sometimes takes people more than one time to successfully transition.

Supply of affordable housing and low income are main issues.Rents increase and ODSP rates have not. Can’t help tenants sometimes until they are evicted! ODSP rent allowance should be pro-rated to rent in the area. Region is one of the better ones for implementing affordable housing

Discrepancy in nursing home standards – no incentives to build better nursing homes

Co-op housing developments are needed. Coop process is daunting for small organizations.




Concern about water issues on Indigenous lands, remediation of Grassy Narrows and the water-bottling industry. Water is required for life should not be the thing that brings us sickness and/or death. Safe drinking water for all! NDP platform outlines complete overview of private water takings and commitment to deal with Grassy Narrows mercury poisoning, even though it’s a Federal responsibility. 

Consumers need to speak out on water bottling. Water is a human right! With the money spent on bottled water, a lot of water issues could be solved. Consumers should have choice, but bottled water should be heavily taxed. We need better water fountains in schools and public buildings. 


Concern about oil spills and their long term effects. Not taken seriously enough. Companies should be held to higher standards and made to clean up any spills. 

Cap-and-Trade is a reasonable way to address fossil fuel dependency. How can we support research into solar power, and uses of solar power?We’re in a climate crisis! We’re investing in refurbishing nuclear plants and pipelines…..why not more in renewables?

Is there anything Ontarians or Ontario’s politicians can do about the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?Can’t Ontario become leaders again in solar panel production? We want our provincial politicians to understand and be guided by science. Clean energy is necessary and is a huge job creator.


Invest more in electric vehicle infrastructure! Invest in education for people who sell vehicles. Make sure the grid is powered by green energy. Should government regulate to set a hard deadline for building fossil-fuel powered vehicles? Bring back the trains!


Use money from carbon tax to support retrofits of houses (especially older homes). More education about green roofs. Subsidize the cost of solar panels on every roof and night time charging of e-vehicles.

Land Use

Greenbelt and agricultural lands in our area need to be protected. Encourage urban agriculture and rooftop gardening, and using land in cities prior to development. Use urban forests for food. (Use cap-and-trade income.)


Concerns about privatization, Private clinics = destabilization of the public insurance system. Where can savings/efficiencies be found in health care system? 

Prevention needs to be focused on for physical and mental health. Refugee health care and support especially with funding towards mental health services.Mental health access for teenagers, support so that teens can get help without ending up with a record.

Shortage of family doctors and more information needed on the process of finding a family doctor. Shortage of residency matching positions. 

Gap in dental care. In this region 1 in 5 cannot afford dental care. Government funding for dental care for low income people is insufficient, so dentists refuse low income clients. People end up in ER, which is not meant for dental care. Include dental care under OHIP. Other countries include dental care under health care (France, UK, Germany).

Long waiting times for care in ER and long term care. Private corporations running retirement homes, long term care. Hospital beds are being occupied by seniors who are waiting for long-term care, sometimes for extensive periods and at much higher costs.

Improve community care; involve support from relatives, neighbourhood clusters for support. Free up acute care beds.

True Pharmacare brings costs down for all people.


Income Security 

The public, for the most part, attending the “income security” section agrees that there needs to be more done to insure a basic income is met, and minimum wage raise is proactive. There needs to be more done to ensure that those who are new to Canada, receive the proper sponsorships and income security in order to insure their physical and mental well being. In addition, the Government needs to be more proactive in how taxes are allocated. 

It was greatly emphasised that the Government needs to focus more on solutions, rather than creating a list of problems and not taking action. A big issue is that if taxes were cut, a huge amount of funding toward important public services would be reduced. 

ODSP is not adequate. Ontario Works as well has to be based on the local cost of living. Old Age Security is a form of a basic income for those who qualify. A basic income can move us all forward – reflecting overwhelming positive results. Need grassroots movements to continue to grow basic income.

We can vote in this election as if we were poor. What came first, deprivation or addiction/mental health?  Deprivation breeds shame, isolation, and poor physical and mental health. Once we emerge out of income deprivation, health and productivity will resume.

Government needs to be more accountable about how taxes are allocated.  Government’s allowed to sell public institutions compromising government income → how do we resist? Public transportation needs to work for everyone. Some clarity needed to better understand how to pay for income support programs. Good experimentation is key to good social policy. Basic income may reduce corporate power/control of individuals. 


Democratic Reform

Needed to address problem of false majority and under-representation of citizen groups’ views. First Past The Post distorts representation, based on population concentration.

14 studies, commissions since 1921 have recommended PR, if what we value is fairness and democracy, Proportional Representation (PR) ensures that more voters’ voices and values are represented. PR can be tailored to meet the needs of the jurisdiction: local accountability, geographical features, etc. It can be designed to avoid fracturing the electorate and giving disproportionate influence to special interest groups. PR reflects the diverse interests of our society. Design PR to avoid urban vs. rural polarization. The right to be represented by someone you voted for as a civil right.

Need to change the system to motivate more people to vote. 2-party system obscures diversity within a party, resulting in lack of clarity of party values. In short, ‘we might not know what we’re voting for’. ‘Run-off’ vote in ridings where there is a plurality, to ensure that the elected MP/MPP has been elected with majority.

 Waterloo Meet the Candidates may 29 2018