Affordable Housing, Healthy Homes, Parkdale - High Park, Public health, Public safety, Safe Buildings, Toronto, Toronto Election, Ward 4

Apartments are Less Safe than Condos

Below, we state the case for raising apartment building standards, i.e. to make apartments as safe as condos.

My wife and I live in a condominium building close to High Park. In the vicinity, there is an apartment building in the Parkdale-High Park neighbourhood where the residents have reported the following: elevators are frequently broken down, its walkways and sidewalks are not cleared from ice promptly, frequently there is an odour in the lobby, the garbage room often is a complete mess, and those are just some of the problems reported. In contrast, our condo has none of these problems. One could argue that our condo is relatively new, but even condos built in the 70’s do not have the issues we have seen in Parkdale-High Park, St. James Town, and in many other parts of Toronto.

So why do apartment buildings in Toronto have these problems and condos do not? The reason is the law. Specifically, the laws governing safety in condominium buildings are much more stringent than the laws governing safety in apartment buildings.

How are these laws different? Our condo board members must take courses as required by the Condominium Act. On the other hand, landlords are not required to take any training in Toronto. Our condo property manager must be licensed also a requirement under the Condo Act. On the other hand, apartment property managers do not need to be licensed in Toronto. Our condo must undergo a Reserve Fund study every three years, which must be completed by qualified professionals as per the Condo Act. Similarly, apartment buildings must have a capital plan under the new Rent Safe program in Toronto. However, there is no explicit requirement the capital plan be completed by qualified professionals.

There is a two-tier system for safety in residential buildings, one for condos which have stringent safety standards requiring training, licensing and professional advice; and another one for apartment buildings with no training and licensing requirements and no qualified professional offering advice. Apartments and condos are our homes. Wherever we live Torontonians have the same right to safe and healthy homes. Consequently, we started the following petition Raise Apartment Building Standards in Toronto, which we hope you will support today.

https://www.change.org/p/john-tory-raise-apartment-building-standards-in-toronto

Apartments

Affordable Housing, Public health, Smoke-free buildings, Toronto Election

Affordable Housing must be Smoke-Free

Affordable housing was a key issue in the recent 2018 Toronto municipal election. Yet it is important to remember that public health is just as an important issue as affordability, and the science proves that second-hand smoke will travel from one apartment or condo unit to another via cracks, doors, outlets, ventilation, and no existing technology can stop this. In fact, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Position Document on Environmental Tobacco Smoke states the following:

Mixed Occupancy of Smokers and Nonsmokers: If smoking is allowed throughout a space or a collection of spaces served by the same air handler, with no effort to isolate or separate the smokers and nonsmokers, there is no currently available or reasonably anticipated ventilation or air cleaning system that can adequately control or significantly reduce the health risks of ETS (environmental tobacco smoke).

The position document concludes, “At present, the only means of eliminating health risks associated with indoor (second-hand smoke) exposure is to ban all smoking activity.” Furthermore, Cannabis is legal in Canada since October 17, 2018 which means that second-hand smoke exposure in residential buildings may become an even more critical issue. Consequently, as Toronto develops affordable housing lets ensure that it is also smoke-free housing.

smoke-free

PS

It is very encouraging to see the following petition Multi-Unit Dwelling Smoking Ban in BC:

https://www.change.org/p/honourable-selina-robinson-multi-dwelling-unit-smoking-ban-in-bc