KARLA BERNARD: The delay of the Residential Tenancy Act is unacceptable

Housing is one of the biggest crises facing our province. We hear stories every day—directly, through the news, and through social media—of Islanders who are being left behind by the outdated Rental of Residential Property Act, which fails to provide the necessary protections to tenants. 

To protect their rights, tenants need enhanced rent control, protection against discrimination and illegal eviction, improved standards for clean and safe housing, and robust enforcement mechanisms that have teeth for circumstances when landlords fail to meet their legal obligations. 

Earlier this week, I spoke with the Minister of Social Development and Housing to receive a status update on the proposed Residential Tenancy Act, a new piece of legislation that would modernize tenancy law on PEI and significantly improve protections for Island tenants. This legislation has been in development since 2019. 

I was deeply concerned to hear this legislation is no longer likely to come forward this year. This is frankly unacceptable, especially on an issue that is so important for ensuring the security and wellbeing of vulnerable Islanders.

Landlords and their lobbyists are actively pressuring government to reduce tenant protections in the new legislation. It is no surprise that tenants feel the process does not serve their interests, and many are left questioning government’s commitment to housing as a human right, if such a commitment exists at all.

The Minister must clearly and publicly share with Islanders the timeline for introducing and passing this important legislation. I call on the Premier to take responsibility for the poor management of this top-of-mind issue, and explain his government’s plan to meaningfully address the housing crisis.

Karla Bernard, MLA
Charlottetown-Victoria Park

Opposition Critic for Social Development and Housing