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Bailao endorsed as champion for working people

Don Wall
Bailao endorsed as champion for working people
BAILAO FACEBOOK - Former Toronto councillor Ana Bailao campaigned at the public library in Rexdale on May 15.

Third in a series: the Daily Commercial News examines the Toronto mayoral byelection through the lens of the city’s construction sector, with our second profile taking a look at candidate Ana Bailao.

Toronto mayoral candidate Ana Bailao says her vision of a great city includes services, housing and infrastructure for all citizens, ensuring everyone has opportunities to succeed.

And if elected mayor June 26, Bailao will ensure those public projects will be built by the traditional building trades including the Carpenters’ and Labourers’ unions, both of which have endorsed her campaign.

Carpenters’ Union Local 27 president Mike Yorke explained the Carpenters’ encouraged the former councillor to run for mayor because, he said, during her tenure at city hall she was a champion for working people on housing, transit, opportunities for young people and fair wages.

And Bailao led the fight in 2019 to ensure the City of Toronto voted to retain the building trades as partners in delivering public projects, rejecting the reforms of Bill 66.

That was “one of the crucial episodes of our relationship with the city over the last generation,” said Yorke.

“She was there, she had our backs when the chips were down.”

LIUNA Local 183 business manager Jack Oliveira also issued an endorsement, calling Bailao “a proud daughter of a LIUNA Local 183 member…one of our own.”

Bailao said her loyalty to building trade unions stems from both personal and policy reasons. Several members of her family have been trade workers.

“There’s no bigger connection than the lived experience that I have as a family of construction workers,” said Bailao, who was born in Portugal and moved to Toronto at age 15.

“The other thing is, they’re focused on building housing, building more sustainable housing. It’s about creating the work, it’s about creating safe working conditions for the workers, but it’s also about city-building. And I think that’s what connects me to the trade unions.”

Polls have shown Olivia Chow to be the frontrunner in the mayors race with five candidates, Mark Saunders, Josh Matlow, Brad Bradford, Mitzie Hunter and Bailao, trailing by a significant margin.

Bailao decided not to run for a fourth term last fall after 12 years on council during which she spent nearly a decade on the board of Toronto Community Housing and served as chair of the city’s planning and housing committee. While in office she supported the HousingTO 2020-2030 Housing Action Plan, the Housing Now plan and the Garden Suites bylaw. 

Bailao’s platform calls for the province to assume responsibility for the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway; she supports bringing the Ontario Science Centre to Ontario Place, keeping the Science Centre building intact and building 5,000 new homes, including 1,500 affordable homes, on the Science Centre site; and extending transit construction schedules downtown so work can be expedited.

Her housing plan will protect 237,000 renters and build 285,000 new homes with a minimum of 57,000 being purpose-built rental homes.

She said she would fight for reforms to planning, zoning and land use regulations to get more homes built including missing middle housing.

Bailao commented, “We have met people in the four corners of our city, in Etobicoke, in Scarborough, in downtown, through North York, it’s about making sure they feel that sense of opportunity…and the city has a big role to play.”

Bailao said she will work across party lines, with all levels of government and all sectors including builders and nonprofit agencies to reach her housing targets.

“I’m very familiar with the process because I was very effective in making sure that the developers were delivering for the community in my term as councillor. I delivered over 600 units of affordable housing in my own community, a lot of very innovative deals,” she said.

“We need to be giving incentives if we want these things to happen and that’s why I talk about in my plan to make sure that we are reforming zoning, that we are reforming planning, that we are using our land and that we are using the capability of the city to expedite, particularly when there are priorities for the city like affordable housing, like purpose-built rental.”

Bailao said she supports inclusionary housing, where developers are required to allot a minimum percentage of units to social housing, but “we need to make sure the math works.”

As mayor she would work to introduce more accountability to ensure major projects like the Eglinton Crosstown get built on time. Full funding for the waterfront LRT would also be a priority.

Follow the author on Twitter @DonWall_DCN.


Read about the other top candidates below

Chow pledges to build 25,000 rentals with city as developer

Matlow’s Public Build Toronto would mean a fresh start

Saunders, Hunter tackle Toronto housing crisis

Bradford promises to shake up city hall to get housing built

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