Bill 5 Will Weaken Toronto's Democracy

August 3, 2018

A message from Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO): Tenants all over Ontario need to be concerned about the attack on Toronto citizen's democratic rights that is proposed in Bill 5, "The Better Local Government Act". This Bill would cut 22 members from the Council that governs Canada's largest city. Each of the 25 members left would represent over 100,000 people – more than the entire population of most Ontario cities!

Over one-third of Ontario's tenants live in Toronto. For decades Toronto City Council has given a strong, positive response to the demands of tenants for legal protection from abusive landlords who neglect their buildings, harass their tenants and discriminate against people looking for a home. Toronto was a pioneer in providing and supporting social housing and, with its ownership of TCHC, provides homes for over 160,000 low-income tenants. These facts make Toronto and its future vitally important to tenants across the province and across Canada.

Toronto has responded to tenant needs because its Councillors have the opportunity to hear tenants' concerns. Those concerns have been addressed at City Council and in the offices of City officials whose work affects tenants' lives. The concern could be fixing a pothole on the road in front of the building, or getting the landlord to fix a leaky roof. It could be keeping the library open longer so the kids can attend programs or so the tenant association can have a meeting there. It could be taking responsibility for social housing in the City when the Ontario Government decided to dump that housing so it could balance its budget. It could be developing a new program to prevent homelessness.

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