Source: GTD Aquitaine, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Liberal government recently proposed measures supposedly aimed at helping renters. But this half-baked plan will do nothing to help workers with rent. 

One housing policy consultant put it quite well, calling it an “attempt to appear to be doing something”. To be honest, this assessment may be too forgiving! 

The proposal includes a $15 million Tenant Protection Fund, $1.5 billion to “preserve” rentals at their current price, the creation of a “Renters’ Bill of Rights”, and the tying of rent payments to credit scores.

Fifteen million dollars in funding is such a miserable pittance that it’s hard to see how anyone believes this could help. Another $1.5 billion to keep a few apartments at their current price doesn’t mean much either, given that current prices are unaffordable, and 59 per cent of people are paying one third of their income on rent alone.  

On the same webpage where they announced these changes, the Liberals boast about investing almost $100 billion  across programs for landlords, homebuilders and real estate investors! Justin makes it very clear whose side he’s on.

The “Renters’ Bill of Rights” is no better. It amounts to an expensive piece of paper. It promises to include a nationwide standardized lease agreement, so that landlords can now violate the standard lease, rather than the one they drew up! Landlords will also be required to disclose their price history to potential renters so you know exactly how much you’re getting screwed compared to the previous tenant. 

Beyond this, there are no concrete plans. A statement about cracking down on renovictions and giving renters more agency is all we get. This is the political equivalent of a robber sending “thoughts and prayers” after stealing your things.

Finally, the proposal to tie rental payments to one’s credit score is downright dangerous. The government argues this would give renters who pay on time the ability to borrow more to buy a home instead of renting. For those of us who live on Earth, it’s actually the skyrocketing cost of homes that prevent us from buying.

For those struggling to pay rent, this could torpedo their credit score and ruin lives. In effect, this is the Canadian government punishing workers for the crimes of capitalism. This system created the crushing inflation and housing crisis; why should the workers pay?

At the current time, the “Renters’ Bill of Rights” is only a vague plan—like most of the Liberals’ work. By making mediocre plans and promising nothing, the Liberals prove they have no intentions of solving the housing crisis. Their system encourages it! 

Landlords will feed on the profits of the real estate bubble until it collapses. These parasites fail to recognize that they must keep their host alive. The workers need housing to survive. This is a fundamental problem of capitalism that a sweep of the pen cannot solve. 

Workers cannot rely on the government to protect us against the landlords that they represent. The only way to really guarantee rights for renters is to organize and fight against the landlords. The housing crisis has already revealed this to every renter in Canada—we hate the landlords as much as we hate the bosses!