It seems it’s not just millennials struggling to make rent in the city. Even Ontario’s MPPs are having a hard time paying Toronto’s sky-high rental rates.
On Thursday, The Canadian Press revealed Ontario legislators quietly decided to raise their rental allowances by 20 per cent. The MPPs argued Toronto’s rental market was so expensive, they were forced to pay out of their own pockets for subsidized housing.
“After receiving a report showing how many members subsidized their Toronto accommodation, the Board of Internal Economy agreed that the housing allowance would be increased to deal with an increase in housing costs,” Tory legislator Sylvia Jones said in a statement.
Jones was one of two voting members on the board who believes the increase was necessary. The other member, NDP legislator John Vanthof also argued that the increase was required due to high rental fees in Toronto.
According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Toronto is $2,055 a month while a two-bedroom unit goes for $2,755.
Low vacancy rates have played a major role in the city’s high rental prices.
As of this summer, the monthly rental allowance will be $2,300 for all legislators who live 50 kilometres from the seat of government in Toronto.
The original allowance was $1,910. Cabinet ministers and opposition leaders also received a 20 per cent accommodation budget increase taking them to $2,383 a month.
Whether required or not, the revelation is poorly timed. This week the Tories have come under fire for their aggressive cost-cutting measures which have targetted the province’s educational system.
As Liberal legislator Michael Coteau points out, this just makes politicians look worse.
“The government has decided to increase their own housing allowance when they’ve eliminated after-school programs for some of the most vulnerable kids in this province,” he said. “They continue to say that everyone is going to have to sacrifice but for some reason, they’re not part of that sacrifice.”