Jessica Bell MPP, University–Rosedale

Government of Ontario

NDP MPPs urge government to pass bill protecting human rights during emergencies

Published on February 22, 2023

QUEENS PARK – Chandra Pasma, MPP for Ottawa (Ottawa West-Nepean), called on government MPPs to support Bill 47 and commit to protecting the rights of seniors, people living with disabilities, parents, and others with mobility challenges during emergencies.
The Protecting Human Rights in an Emergency Act, if passed, will require all apartment buildings and condos to have a backup generator capable of powering at least one elevator, water pump, and lights in common areas during a power outage.
"I've heard hundreds of heartbreaking stories of the dangerous and traumatic situations people faced following the derecho in 2022 and the tornado in 2018," said Pasma. "People like Lynn Ashdown, who uses a wheelchair, was trapped in her 11th-story apartment for ten days without access to food, water, or medical care. This can't continue."
Pasma was joined by Nathan Welch, Policy Officer for CanAge; Geordie Dent, of the Federation of Metro Tenants; and MPPs Jessica Bell, Bhutila Karpoche, and Kristyn Wong-Tam, co-sponsors of the bill. Toronto City Council and the CEO of Hydro Ottawa join a long list of supporters of the bill. 
"It used to be up to landlords to choose whether or not to have fire alarms and smoke detectors installed, but we made it mandatory because we recognized the value of human life," noted Pasma. "We’ve seen repeatedly that we need to do the same with generators. We know the solution; we cannot continue labeling these as unfortunate events."