More cuts: Ford scraps rent control leaving tenants vulnerable

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.

Swapping Metropasses for Presto passes: TTC discontinuing Metropasses this December

TTC Metropass users will need make the switch over to Presto by the end of this year. The TTC will be discontinuing old Metropasses in favour of monthly Presto passes. The move marks a significant milestone in the TTC’s adoption of the fully cashless payment system operated by Metrolinx.

According to the TTC’s website, the last day Metropasses will be accepted is December 31, 2018. Tickets and tokens however will be accepted until the end of 2019 when Presto has introduced single fare Presto passes to replace them.

The TTC monthly pass on Presto works exactly the same way as the old TTC Metropass at the same cost. It provides unlimited travel for a month, the only difference being that you tap your Presto card on a card reader instead of swiping it or showing it to a fare collector. Those new to Presto will need to create an account on the Presto website and register their card if they want to automatically renew their monthly pass.

The discounted Metropass rates for seniors, youth, and post-secondary students are carried over to Presto. However, “seniors, youths and post-secondary students must set a senior, youth or post-secondary fare type on their card at Shoppers Drug Mart locations or at the TTC’s Customer Service Centre above Davisville Station, before they can purchase a monthly pass” as indicated on the Transit Commission’s website. Users also have the option of purchasing a 12-month pass which serves as a replacement for the old Metropass Discount Plan.

New users will need to be aware of some considerations as they switch over to Presto. Funds and monthly passes that are purchased online take up to 24 hours to be loaded to cards so these should be purchased ahead of time to ensure you can use your card. Additionally, the TTC monthly pass only applies to travel on the TTC. To pay YRT and Mi-Way fares, you will need to pay cash or load your Presto card will additional funds that are separate from your monthly pass.

The Municipal Election – Spotting familiar last names

In the races for Public and Catholic School Trustee and for City Council respectively, Christopher Mammoliti, Ida Li Preti, and Deanna Sgro, all children of established politicians, can be perceived to be seeking to leverage their last names in order to get elected. It is not unheard of for the children of politicians to try to win a seat, but three in one area at the same time is very rare. The fact that all three have some controversy around their families makes this circumstance even odder.

Christopher, who is seeking election as a trustee for the TDSB, is running alongside his father, Giorgio Mammoliti. Giorgio, the current Councillor of the old Ward 7, has been no stranger to controversy during his more than two decades at City Hall. Perhaps the more serious controversy that he (as of Aug 25, 2018) is was under investigation by the OPP for his alleged role in a land deal in his Ward that would have had the Toronto Parking Authority, which is fully owned by the City of Toronto, pay $2.63 Million more than the land was actually worth to a developer. While the deal has been cancelled by Toronto City Council, the investigation is still ongoing.

His son is unconnected to this issue and other matters but may face the same electoral fate as his father in the upcoming election. Currently, polls show the latter is second in the race.

The race for Catholic school trustee also contains an offspring of a local politician, the daughter of former Ward 8 Councillor Peter Li Preti. Ida Li Preti has put her name on the ballot.

In 2013, Peter was found by an independent auditor to have accepted $21,000 in corporate donations and to have exceeded his campaign budget limit by more than $3,000 in his failed 2010 bid to unseat Anthony Perruzza from city council. Corporate donations are banned under the Toronto Municipal Elections Act. While Peter has largely kept a low public profile since then, it is not known what, if any effect his last name will have on his daughter’s election prospects.

Last names are important, and Deanna Sgro may be the best example of that. She reverted to using her mother’s name in the last Provincial election, where she was a candidate for the Liberal party and came third. Her mother is the current Member of Parliament for the area, but until last year, she went by her married Deanna Natale. In 2013, Deanna Natale, as she was then known, was “found to have engaged in professional misconduct,” by the Law Society of Ontario while she was working as VP and general counsel of Affinity Global, one of the largest debt collection agencies in Canada.

Whether or not the name change is working is hard to say before the election, but the latest public poll has her fourth in the race for Council in Humber River – Black Creek.

 

 

*See page 3 print edition, vol 9(5)