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A coalition of tenants, community groups and unions are warning that the City of Toronto is about to lose control of public housing.

The city is merging the Toronto Housing Corporation (THC) and the Metro Toronto Housing Corporation (MTHC), creating the largest landlord in North America, affecting some 160,000 tenants. But the structure of the new housing company would undermine the Citys ability to meet its responsibilities for public housing and open the door to privatization and franchising in Torontos social housing system.

This is all part of an agenda by certain right-wing councillors to allow the private sector to take over city services not just housing, but water and other vital public services, said Brian Cochrane, president of CUPE 416, representing workers at both THC and MTHC.

The public elected politicians to protect and improve public services, not to carve them up for a corporate buffet, said CUPE 79 president Ann Dembinski, representing staff at THC.

To combat that threat, a community coalition has set out six principles to guide the new corporation and to fix loopholes n the proposed shareholders agreement, a document describing the relationship between the City, as owner, and the new company. These principles recognize housing as a basic human right, the need to protect affordable rental stock and the need for accountability to the public and to tenants.