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OPSEU Indigenous Mobilization Team supports rent strikers

Crystal Sinclair of the IMT joins Parkdale rent strikers at Occupation of Landlord Tenant Board
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The OPSEU Indigenous Mobilization Team (IMT) stood in solidarity with rent strikers in the Parkdale neighbourhood of Toronto as they occupied the Landlord Tenant Board on June 7, 2017 to oppose the Above Guideline Rent Increase request by their landlord, MetCap Living.

Crystal Sinclair of the IMT joins Parkdale rent strikers at Occupation of Landlord Tenant Board

Crystal Sinclair of the Indigenous Mobilization Team (IMT) joins rent strikers in occupation of Landlord Tenant Board

Recognizing that unregulated private market forces are the reason for the lack of affordable housing in Toronto, Hamilton, and thoughout Ontario, the OPSEU Equity Mobilization Team (EMT) has chosen "Housing and Privatization" as one of its three campaigns.

Background information on the rent strike:

MetCap Living manages 19 buildings in Parkdale. Six of these buildings currently face Above Guideline Rent Increases (AGIs). MetCap uses AGIs as part of their strategy to push out working class and immigrant tenants from its buildings, renovate units, and raise rents (there is no rent control on vacant units).

In January 2017, tenants at 87 Jameson organized to oppose an AGI sought by MetCap. MetCap sought the maximum legal increase — 3 per cent above the provincial guideline each year for three years consecutively. In response, on February 1, a week before their Tribunal hearing date, 87 Jameson tenants went on rent strike. On February 8, at their AGI Tribunal hearing, MetCap refused to negotiate with the tenants. The hearing was postponed.

Rather than accept defeat at the Tribunal, tenants at 87 Jameson decided to turn to their neighbours. In March, a neighbourhood-wide campaign against MetCap began to build momentum. Since then, tenants have been organizing tirelessly in their buildings: holding lobby meetings, conducting door knocking, holding mass meetings at the local library, protesting at MetCap’s office, and getting significant media attention. On May 1, over 200 tenants in MetCap buildings in Parkdale began a coordinated rent strike to demand that MetCap withdraw their AGIs and complete the outstanding repair requests, mandated by provincial law. On June 1, approximately 100 additional tenants joined the strike.

For more information on the June 7 hearing before the Landlord Tenant Board, see the article in The Toronto Star.