Québec solidaire MNA Andrés Fontecilla introduced a private members' bill in the National Assembly of Québec on February 10 that would freeze residential rent increases in the province for one year — from June 2021 to May 2022.
However, it still needs to get through more stages in order to pass, including a public hearing, detailed consideration by a committee and a vote. Québec solidaire only holds 10 out of 125 seats in the provincial government, which makes it harder for them to pass bills.
Doug Ford's Conservative government announced measures to freeze rents in 2021. Quebec must also help its tenants keep their heads above water.
Andrés Fontecilla, Québec solidaire MNA
"While thousands of tenants were facing job loss or reduced income due to the pandemic, rent prices continued to rise at a dizzying pace across Quebec, well above the rates suggested by the Tribunal administratif du logement," said Fontecilla in a statement.
"More and more people are struggling to pay their rent and find themselves on the street while shelters are overflowing. Exceptional situations must be responded to with exceptional measures."
A recent Rentals.ca report showed that Quebec rents increased almost 15% annually from December 2019 to December 2020 to about $1,630 per month, while the average rent for all Canadian properties decreased 7.1% annually to $1,723 per month.
According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the vacancy rate doubled on the Island of Montreal in 2020 while rents in Greater Montreal increased 4.2%.
Quebecers are entitled to chime in about this issue by "Commenting on a Subject Under Examination" using an online form.
For reference, Bill 696 is known as "An Act providing for the temporary suspension of the right to increase the rent for a lease of a dwelling."