Toronto city council supports a vacant home tax but just doesn’t yet know how to implement one.
On Wednesday, council voted 24-1 to approve putting such a tax together with it going into effect possibly in 2022.
It’s asked staff to report back next year which would allow time for more debate on the issue.
It’s estimated that even just one percent could bring in more than 55-million dollars a year.
City councillor Mike Layton (Ward 11 University-Rosedale) took to social media shortly after the vote, saying “the purpose of housing shouldn’t be to boost an international investment portfolio. Housing is about people. This could add thousands of units back to the market and fill vacant houses in our neighbourhoods.”
Fellow councillor Joe Cressy also mentioned the vacant home tax on social media.
“A Vacant Home Tax is finally coming to Toronto. Housing should be used for just that: housing,” Cressy said.
“For years we’ve pushed for a Vacant Home Tax to increase housing in our city. Today City Council voted to implement it.”
A Vacant Home Tax is finally coming to Toronto.
Housing should be used for just that: housing. For years we’ve pushed for a Vacant Home Tax to increase housing in our city. Today City Council voted to implement it.
— Joe Cressy (@joe_cressy) December 16, 2020
In early December, Mayor John Tory said he wanted the city to create a tax on vacant homes moving forward.
The tax will take one year to set up as technology, a public awareness campaign, exemptions, administrative and enforcement functions will need to be developed to support it.
“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,” Tory said at the time.
“In the wake of the pandemic, this is more important than ever. I want to be very clear: the vast majority of Toronto residents will not pay this tax. I support moving ahead with this and doing everything we can to make sure it is implemented in the right way.”