Jessica Bell MPP, University–Rosedale

Government of Ontario

This isn’t about free rent, it’s about fairness

Published on July 19, 2023

It costs, on average, more than $3,100 a month to rent a modest two-bedroom unit in Toronto. With these prices, a minimum wage worker needs to work 135 hours a week to make ends meet. 

Rents are skyrocketing partly because the current laws treat renters like second-class citizens. In 1996, the provincial government scrapped vacancy control, which gave landlords a financial incentive to kick out long-term tenants and charge higher rents. In 2018, the Ford Conservatives further gutted rent control laws by eliminating rent control on new units. Today, renters are vulnerable to harassment and illegal evictions, they’re seeing rent increases in the triple digits, and they’re unable to find affordable housing that meets their needs.

Renters deserve better. And they’re fighting back.

This weekend I joined tenants from two Toronto apartment buildings at 33 King St and 22 John St participating in a rent strike. They’re calling on their corporate landlord Dream Unlimited to stop aggressively raising the rents and to start being fair to tenants who just want a safe place to live. 

Since Dream Unlimited took over the building, rent at 33 King has increased three times higher than allowed by rent control. Even in 2021, the company ignored the pandemic rent freeze and increased rents by another three percent. Tenants at 22 John are seeing their rents increase between $100-$200 every year. These are increases no one can afford. 

We are at a crossroads. Do we want a city that’s affordable for workers, or do we want a city that is exclusively for the well-to-do? That is what is at stake here, and we are calling on the Ford Conservatives to stop running roughshod over renters and take a comprehensive approach to making housing affordable in Ontario. 

The Ontario NDP has the solutions.

We are fighting for fair and effective rent control. Vacancy control would cap how much rents can be raised between tenancies. We are fighting for better protections against illegal evictions by increasing landlord fines and better compensation for wronged tenants. We are fighting for  Inclusionary Zoning, and requiring developers to build a percentage of affordable homes in big new buildings anywhere a municipality chooses. 

These are just some of the many measures we are advocating for. 

You can support tenants of 33 King St and 22 John St here, and you can support tenants across Ontario by signing and sharing these petitions. 

  1. Support the Rent Stabilization Act
  2. Protect tenants from illegal evictions 
  3. Help build more affordable homes through inclusionary zoning

Please reach out to our office if you need help or have concerns about your housing. Contact us at [email protected] or 416-535-7206.