ACORN starts petition against two-tier rent system

50,000 names sought to press Ontario to extend rent control for all tenants

Kemba Robinson is upset about landlords who jack up rents in Toronto. But she has a remedy: getting the Ontario government to end the two-tier rental system.

As a board member of the Toronto chapter of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), she’s working to get 50,000 people to sign a petition calling for rent control for all tenants.

The province-wide petition is to go to Premier Kathleen Wynne before the Ontario election in 2018.

Kemba Robinson of ACORN (left) speaking at renters’ forum in Bethany Baptist Church. (NEIL POWERS/TORONTO OBSERVER)

Ontario does not include rent-increase guidelines for buildings constructed after Nov. 1, 1991.

“We want rent control to effect every single building in Ontario, not just the ones built before 1991,” says Robinson says.

“If a landlord says I am jacking up your rent an extra $200, I think about single mothers,” says Robinson. “Even if you’re a two-income household, some people can’t even afford that.”

ACORN has volunteers going “door to door,” talking with tenants and seeking petition signatures. Starting in recent weeks, they have over 1,000 signatures already.

Robinson says she sees the petition as encouragement to end to huge rent increases. “We need a government who understands that people don’t have until the end of forever to wait,” she says. “We need real change right now.”