Sample union resolution on the provincial housing crisis

WHEREAS the right to adequate housing and shelter is recognized in the United Nation Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;

AND WHEREAS recent data from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation show that the number of urban households in Ontario in core housing need was over 725,000 as of 2014 and growing;

AND WHEREAS core housing need refers to living in unacceptable housing (paying more than 30% of pre-tax household income on housing that is crowded and in need of major repair) and unable to access acceptable housing;

AND WHEREAS approximately 60% of households in core housing need in Ontario are renters, and approximately 30% of renters in Ontario are in core housing need;

AND WHEREAS over 170,000 households in Ontario were on waiting lists as of 2015 for rent-geared-to-income (RGI) housing, with average wait times of 4 years and increasing;

AND WHEREAS between April 2016 and April 2017, the average house price in Ontario rose by 24% to $670,000, and the provincial average for renting a one-bedroom apartment was $12,000 per year in 2016;

AND WHEREAS most social housing in Ontario — rental housing for low- and moderate-income households, built with government assistance and owned publicly or through non-profit or cooperative organizations — was constructed between the mid-1960s and the mid-1990s;

AND WHEREAS private sector housing corporations are focused on making a profit and are, therefore, unable to guarantee sufficient construction, maintenance and provision of acceptable and affordable housing;

AND WHEREAS the 2009 Report of the Auditor General of Ontario iterated clearly that “social housing is a shared responsibility and the [Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing], in partnership with the federal and municipal governments, is accountable to Ontarians for providing sufficient and well maintained social housing across the province”;

AND WHEREAS public opinion polls consistently identify housing costs, including rental costs, as a critical issue in Ontario;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that __________________________________ [name of union body] call on the provincial government to:

  • Immediately introduce a comprehensive provincial social housing program that treats housing as a public utility and delivers it according to need;
  • Develop and implement an emergency plan to build new, publicly owned, social housing units and upgrade/retrofit existing units, to address the massive core housing need in all areas of Ontario;
  • Legislate real rent controls and rent rollbacks for all renters in Ontario;
  • Provide regular, frequent and thorough building inspections for rental housing, and enforce stiff penalties for landlords who fail to comply with standards;
  • Legislate a ban on evictions of utility cut-off due to involuntary unemployment, including strikes, lockouts and layoff;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that __________________________________ [name of union body] communicate this resolution to the Premier, with copies to the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Housing, area MPPs, and the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL)

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that __________________________________ [name of union body] work through the OFL to mobilize workers in Ontario to demand a provincial social housing program.