Alternative to Pandemic-Era Housing Crisis

Photo Credits: BlogTo.com, May 2021

by Kiri Vadivelu, candidate of the Municipal Socialist Alliance in Scarborough Centre Ward 21

Whether a couple is planning to settle down or a family is seeking a place to raise kids in the province, they are sure to feel the heat in the Canadian housing market. The question:  ‘How did we get here?’ often leads to inconclusive answers and simply pointing a finger at the easiest target. The predatory nature of housing market big players means they have no interest in addressing the needs of the people.  For them, housing is a commodity designed to make shareholders happy.  Actually, the housing market is doing very well to meet its mandates – funneling wealth upwards.

Tenants in Toronto are well aware of the predatory nature of corporate landlords. The notice below was issued to tenants at 945 Midland Ave, Toronto during the hot July in 2022. Tenants are expected to live in sauna- like conditions; air conditioning is portrayed as a luxury by giant Toronto landlords. Tenants who used portable air conditioners to keep children and elders safe in the sauna like apartments were slapped with extra $120 penalty attached to the rent.  Illegal intimidation tactics were old but true tactics for the big landlords to continue issuing notices to demand more rent — by any means necessary.

The province of Ontario acknowledges illegal acts by predatory landlords but it does nothing to discourage criminal behavior. For a wary tenant, the illegal rent notice is a threat, but for organized tenants in Scarborough it is an annual reminder that landlords do not have their best interest at heart to provide housing solutions. A line-by-line analysis of the notice along with knowledge of Ontario Residential Tenancies Act would confirm the creativity employed to harass, intimidate and threaten tenants with evictions. All levels of governments have clearly failed to serve the needs of the people.

Photo Credits: Scarborough Tenants Union, Aug. 2022

The current housing system is designed to put profit before people. In order to challenge the status quo and to solve the problems faced by working people in the province in terms of housing, education, healthcare and transit, the Municipal Socialist Alliance presents a real alternative in the upcoming city elections – for public ownership, construction of rent geared to income, accessible housing, seize vacant units in large buildings — to put the needs of people first. The grass-roots movement has attracted many young, first-time candidates to run in the October 2022 municipal elections.  Stayed tuned for inspiring results.    #housingcrisis #electionstoronto #postpandemic