Councillor Josh Matlow

City Must Act to Protect Toronto Tenants from Extreme Heat

Since 2012, I have been strongly advocating for the City of Toronto to protect tenants from extreme heat. Despite motions that I moved in 2012, 20132014 and, 2017, no substantive action has been implemented by the Medical Officer of Health or the Municipal Licensing, and Standards Division. No solutions were presented to Tenant Issues Committee earlier this year and the report to Licensing and Standards Committee last month pushes back substantial action till the end of 2019. That simply isn’t good enough.

In fact, just last month, I moved a motion to grant the City’s Medical Officer of Health the authority to request landlords to establish Heat Alert Days on which landlords can be requested to turn off heat and, if applicable, turn on air conditioning. Despite this current heat wave, the Medical Officer of Health has not acted.

I will continue to advocate for a new by-law that can force landlords to turn on air conditioning where possible and, most importantly, establish a maximum temperature for apartment units just as we have minimum temperature standards now. The City must do better to ensure that all Torontonians have a comfortable home.

Meanwhile, I am requesting landlords to use some common sense, and turn AC on if they have it, when their tenants’ health might be affected by extreme heat. They will not be subject to enforcement and its the right thing to do.

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