The Ontario PC’s fall economic plan was released on November 15th and it has been received with much animosity. By removing rent control for newly built or converted units, Premier Ford has broken his campaign promise to leave the regulated system alone.
Back on the campaign trail, on May 15thto be exact, the Ontario PC party website published Ford’s statement, which said, “I have listened to the people, and I won’t take rent control away from anyone. Period,” Ford continued, “When it comes to rent control, we’re going to maintain the status quo.” It is clear that Ford concealed his motives from the get-go.
The scrapping of this legislation is part of the new Housing Supply Action Plan, which protects existing tenancy agreements but puts potential ones at risk. In 2017, the former Liberal government expanded rent control to all units, including those built after 1991. This legislation ensured that annual rent increases would not surpass the rate of inflation.
Rent control is a means to protect occupants from superfluous rent increases. Scrapping regulation legislation will only worsen this issue. Landlords and tenants both have responsibilities and neither party should be allowed to take advantage of each other financially.
Increasing rental supply is just as important as ensuring that tenants can afford their rent in the first place. It is understandable why certain neighbourhoods and specific accommodations come with an expensive price tag, but the consensus is that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find affordable housing across the province, especially within the GTA.
According to Citynews, 47 per cent of households in Toronto spend more than 30 per cent of their income on rent. Ideally, that number should be 25 per cent in order for people to afford other necessities of life. In the past, rent control exemptions have not been proven to increase rental supply. People need a place to live, a place that they can afford to call home for more than a few months at a time.
Geordie Dent, Executive Director of the Federation of Metro Tenants Associations, said, “I’d like to congratulate our millionaire premier on signing the eviction orders on thousands of tenants going forward.” Having no rent control in new units means that landlords hold the position of power and can potentially evict tenants who cannot afford their ever-increasing rents.
Affordability is a key component of stabilizing our housing supply. Youth, seniors and those living on a fixed income are the most vulnerable when it comes to finding stable accommodations.
The battle for affordable housing and tenant rights goes on, and advocates are ready to defend the cause. Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan is set to be unveiled in spring 2019.