Inclusionary Zoning: A Plan for Higher Home Prices

(November 10, 2015) In the policy debate on improving housing affordability, one idea often discussed is “inclusionary zoning”. It’s little wonder. Inclusionary zoning is a nice sounding idea that offers a simplistic cure to any housing crisis. Unfortunately, inclusionary zoning’s effect is the exact opposite to its intended goal, resulting in higher housing prices and… Read More

Want More Affordable Housing?

Tell governments to stop making it so expensive By Mike Chopowick, November 4, 2015   On Monday I appeared before the Ontario Standing Committee on Social Policy to deliver FRPO’s recommendations on Bill 73, the Smart Growth for Our Communities Act. This committee was reviewing important amendments to how development charges are imposed on new… Read More

Who will win the Election? It all hangs in the “balance”

By Mike Chopowick, October 18, 2015. 7:13pm   If you’re reading this, it’s likely too late. The polls for the Canada’s 42nd federal election open in about 14 hours. It will all be over in about 24 hours. Who will win? The ruling Conservatives? Or their Liberal challengers? If you are concerned about the future… Read More

Ontario’s Rent Rules: Where’s the Sense?

If the province made more sense of its rent rules, we’d see more rental housing built By Mike Chopowick, October 28, 2015 At over 350 pages, Ontario’s Residential Tenancies Act and its regulations is the most complicated landlord-tenant law in North America. Within this law are an excessively complicated set of rules on price regulation that would… Read More

The Rent is Too Damn High (and city taxes are to blame)

One year after last year’s municipal election, tenants still bilked by $1,000/year in unfair taxes By Mike Chopowick, October 15, 2015   Exactly a year ago, we heard many municipal candidates campaign for “lower rent”, “affordable housing” and “protecting tenants”. This is what you didn’t hear: Cities actually cause higher rents for tenants. Many city… Read More

I Thought the Sheriff (would be here by now)

By Mike Chopowick, October 5, 2015 (@mchopowick)   Imagine if you phoned the police for help to enforce the law. Now, imagine if the police said, “We’ll be there in eleven days…maybe longer if we’re busy”. This is what landlords in Ontario experience when they seek the required services of the Sheriff to enforce simple… Read More

Is There a Housing Affordability Crisis?

No there isn’t, and we should stop using this awful word.  By Mike Chopowick, September 29, 2015 (@mchopowick)   When we use the word “crisis”, what comes to mind? We could say there is a refugee crisis. War and conflict are driving hundreds of thousands from their home countries, with many not surviving their journey… Read More

High Rise Apartments Reduce Traffic Congestion

By Mike Chopowick, September 24, 2015 This summer, Sault Ste. Marie Council approved a new 25-unit apartment building. At a public meeting, the scene played out identically to what we see in any community where a new high-density residential development is being proposed. “Neighbourhood residents had voiced several concerns over the proposal, stating it would… Read More

Manitoba Wins The Race to the Bottom

The lowest rent control limit in Canada sends tenants to the back of the line By Mike Chopowick, September 17, 2015 Only those with a long memory (even I am too young!) will remember Canada’s experience with hyper-inflation in the 1970’s. Inflation was routinely above 10% during that decade, resulting in a disastrous experiment with… Read More

Why Boston Said No to the Olympics

The estimated cost to Bostonians of US$8.6 billion was just too much By Mike Chopowick, September 14, 2015 On July 27, 2015, the Mayor of Boston, Martin Walsh, went from being his city’s biggest cheerleader for hosting to the 2024 Olympics, to formally killing Boston’s bid. The fear of cost overruns and secrecy from the… Read More

Elections Are Not the Time to Discuss Serious Issues

By Mike Chopowick, August 18, 2015   I’ve always said that when it comes to government housing policy, no news is good news. Over the past 45 years, few good things have come from government housing policy, from nonsensical tax measures, rent control and massive subsidies for public housing (which now requires taxpayers to pay… Read More

Licensing Ruined the Taxi Industry. Are Apartments Next?

By Mike Chopowick, July 10, 2015 Regulated taxi services are a major mode of transportation in most major cities around the world. Recently, unregulated ride-sharing services such as Uber have entered the game, grabbing a growing share of customers from traditional taxis. Why? There is a perception that the quality and pricing of regulated taxi… Read More

The Kids are All Right: The Myth of Youth Unemployment

By Mike Chopowick, February 24, 2015 The issue of employment prospects for youth makes for great news headlines.  It is regularly reported that youth  (ages 15-24) face higher unemployment rates than adults.  Most youth in the 15-24 age group work in part-time or temporary jobs, often at lower wages than adults. Youth employment is often… Read More