Trudeau’s housing plan ‘meddling’ in Quebec jurisdictions: Roberge

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QUEBEC – The Legault government has denounced federal plans to create a tenants’ bill of rights and a standard national lease as an invasion of its powers.

Caught off guard by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pre-housing budget announcement Wednesday in Vancouver, two Quebec ministers came out to say the plan is unacceptable from Quebec’s point of view. You will formally request to opt out of the program and seek financial compensation from Ottawa.

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“The answer is simple: no,” Canadian Relations Minister Jean-François Roberge told reporters after a cabinet meeting. “Tolerating this new invasion of Quebec jurisdiction by the federal government, which wants to interfere in our affairs, is out of the question.

“Housing is a responsibility of Quebec. If the federal government really wants to help, let it do its job by reducing the level of temporary immigration and the number of asylum seekers. Right now they are artificially increasing the demand for housing, they are causing part of the problem.”

“I’m very surprised,” added Quebec Housing Minister France-Élaine Duranceau, who said the recent reforms included in Bill 31 adopted by the legislature in February already addressed many of the tenants’ rights issues that Trudeau posed in his announcement.

Bill 31 shifts the burden of proof for evictions to landlords instead of requiring tenants to prove they did nothing wrong. The law also requires landlords to pay evicted tenants the equivalent of one month’s rent for each year they have lived in the home.

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“On the part of Quebec, we acted,” Duranceau told reporters. “Maybe they are taking inspiration from what was done in Quebec, but for our part we have already acted on all this.”

He said Quebec has no plans to change its legislative framework, which he noted makes use of the Civil Code and not common law like other provinces.

Quebec scrapped the idea of ​​a tenant registry during the last reform process because it was too expensive to operate, Duranceau said, noting that Ontario also canceled plans for such a registry for the same reason.

The ministers were reacting to Trudeau’s announcement of plans to create a Canadian Tenants’ Bill of Rights that would introduce a national standard rental agreement and implement requirements for landlords to disclose an apartment’s price history to help tenants negotiate. your rent.

The bill would require partnerships with provinces and territories.

Ottawa also wants to allocate $15 million to a new Tenant Protection Fund, which would allow housing groups to fund legal challenges over unfair rent increases, renovations and landlord abuse.

He proposes changing federal rules so that rental payments are factored into a person’s credit score when purchasing a home.

Duranceau admitted that Quebec may not have a say in credit ratings, since banks are a federal jurisdiction.

But Quebec did not appreciate Ottawa making the announcement, which will be included in April’s federal budget, without giving it advance notice.

“It’s a very arrogant way of working,” Roberge said. “It is clear that if this involves additional funding that impacts our jurisdiction, we will want to have the right to opt out with compensation.

“We will opt out,” Roberge said. “It is unacceptable that they are trying to manage housing here in Quebec.”

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