Re: URGENT - Request for feedback

William Tinker (
Sun, 7 Nov 1999 22:31:17 -0500

Please send to persons interested in this job.     BillTinker
----- Original Message -----
From: Graeme Bacque <>
To: <Recipient list suppressed>
Sent: Sunday, November 07, 1999 9:48 PM
Subject: URGENT - Request for feedback

> (Please forward and distribute)
> There is a situation in two large rental properties in Toronto where
> hundreds of tenants are facing massive rent increases in the area of
> to fifty percent, effective as of the first of this month.  For years,
> these buildings have existed in an appalling state of disrepair and
> neglect, resulting finally in the rents being frozen by the Province a
> number of years back.
> Courtesy of the current government in Ontario this freeze has recently
> lifted, resulting in  these massive retroactive increases to peoples'
> rent.  These properties are tenanted entirely by extreme low-income
> individuals and families, the majority of whom are non-European immigrants
> or refugee claimants. For many of these persons this increase is
> beyond  their ability to pay, and many will be in grave danger of becoming
> homeless over the next several months.   Over the years all appeals to the
> government to force the landlord to make the needed repairs (and more
> recently, to re-instate the cap on rents) have fallen on deaf ears.
> At a large tenant's meeting this past Friday (November 5) at which
> representatives of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty were present, a
> proposal was floated and approved to organize a large-scale rent strike as
> a means of pressuring the building owner to make the needed repairs.
> Tenants in these buildings have previously engaged in rent actions where,
> in an undertaking organized with the support of a local legal clinic,
> were withheld and paid into a trust established by the court for several
> months.
> The proposal in this case is for an action which falls completely outside
> the legal  framework of the earlier undertaking, and  would be a
> large-scale proceeding that would be completely controlled by this body of
> tenants. OCAP has pledged to fully support this initiative and assist in
> any manner possible including actively engaging in the defense of tenants
> at imminent risk of eviction or facing serious attempts at intimidation.
> This however represents an entirely new realm of organizing not only for
> this group of tenants, but also for OCAP itself.  And circumstances appear
> to indicate that if this is to be done effectively, it has to be
> implemented rapidly.
> The appeal here is for anyone who may have had previous experience with
> this kind of action  to  please contact us at the address/phone #/e-mail
> below with their comments, experiences or recommendations.  This
> information will be relayed to the tenants participating in the strike
> committee which has been established.
> Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
> 249 Sherbourne St.
> Toronto, Ontario
> Phone: (416) 925-6939
> Fax: (416) 925-9681
> <>