Wynne delaying tenant protections, creating eviction and rent-hike rush: NDP

Parkdale-High Park MPP Cheri DiNovo and NDP Housing Critic Percy Hatfield demanded Wednesday that Premier Kathleen Wynne stop holding back the implementation of recently-passed tenant protections -- particularly since Wynne's move to delay changes is causing some landlords to ramp up evictions and above-guideline rent increases.

Although new laws to protect tenants were passed in May with the NDP's support, the NDP has discovered Wynne is preventing those laws from coming into force. According to an email from the Minister of Housing’s office, the Liberal government claims it needs 12 months to update the forms.

“Finding affordable rental housing in Toronto is hard enough already. By passing this bill, then abandoning tenants for months, Kathleen Wynne’s government is siding with landlords who are fast-tracking evictions and increasing rents before the new law becomes enforced,” said DiNovo. “For the sake of tenants in Toronto and across the province who are facing evictions during a housing crisis, Premier Wynne must take action immediately.”

When the Rental Fairness Act passed, Wynne left several of its provisions to be implemented at a later, unspecified date. These provisions include a rule preventing landlords from applying for above-guideline rent increases for utility costs, or when there are outstanding elevator work orders, and a new rule that entitles tenants to compensation if they are being forced to leave so a landlord can use the unit for family or personal use.

“There was no good reason not to implement all the provisions when the bill was passed,” said Hatfield. “By stopping the law from being put into action now, Kathleen Wynne and the Liberal government are actually making things worse for some tenants. With the rental market as expensive as it is in Toronto, tenants literally cannot afford to wait for these protections to be implemented.” 

DiNovo and Hatfield were joined at Queen’s Park on Wednesday by two Toronto tenants facing eviction, both of whom would be entitled to additional compensation if the rules were already in place. They say the full Act – and more – needs to be in force to protect families.

“Whether we are talking about private rental housing, crumbling social housing, or skyrocketing purchase prices, the reality is that Ontarians – especially in Toronto – are facing a housing crisis,” said DiNovo. “If Kathleen Wynne was planning to quiet critics with a bill, then abandon tenants with no protection until the election, that’s just wrong.”

“This ridiculous delay is benefitting those landlords that would take advantage of the situation, and hurting tenants,” agreed Hatfield. “Once again, it’s obvious whose side she's on. Wynne must bring these protections into force immediately -- then, we need to talk about next steps to make sure tenants finally get the protection all families deserve.”