Thursday morning, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath called for a vote in the legislature that would have immediately protected all Ontarians from unfair, unreasonable rent hikes – but the effort was blocked by Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals and the Conservatives.
“The fact is, there are people throughout the GTHA making some tough decisions right now because they’ve been notified of a rent hike they simply can’t afford,” said Horwath. “And thousands more who are wondering if they’re next. Premier Wynne doesn’t seem to understand – this situation is urgent. Families in the GTHA need a measure in place right now – today – to stop unreasonable rent hike notices from landing in their mailboxes tomorrow.”
While Ontario renters’ calls for protection grow louder, the Wynne government has been silent on how, when or if ever the law may be fixed to prevent unfair and unreasonable hikes. That uncertainty could be driving some landlords to hike rents now, in case any new law or new government will prevent that in the near future. The problem was caused by a loophole opened by the Conservatives in 1997, which cancelled any form of rent control for any building constructed after 1991. During 14 years of power, the Liberals have refused to close that loophole.
An NDP bill, tabled by MPP Peter Tabuns (Toronto-Danforth) would close the loophole and extend the same rent-hike protections to everyone.
“I’m frustrated that Premier Wynne and the Conservative leader refused to support getting this done – they just don’t understand the urgency. When your rent is about to double, you can’t double your salary. You can’t stop eating, or stop clothing your children,” said Horwath. “Ontario families need this government to stop dragging their feet and do something about this.
“The cost of living is up, the costs of housing and hydro have skyrocketed, but wages in Ontario are flat. Too many families feel they’re being pushed to their tipping point. We have a lot of work to do to make housing – whether rented or owned – attainable and affordable. But, passing the Rent Protection for All Tenants Act is an important first step, and it’s one we could have taken together, today.”