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

Public safety

Our communities rise

The day of the Toronto van attack I was at my workplace near Yonge and Sheppard. I had a report to submit and decided not to go outside for my daily lunch walk and ended up staying in the office to complete it. Later that afternoon, the noise of sirens blaring from the streets told me something was seriously wrong. Hours later I would realize just how lucky I was not to have gone outside to the street during lunch time. Tragically, several people in the neighbourhood did not have the same fortune that day and lost their lives or were seriously injured.

This is a neighbourhood where I have worked for the past seven years. The next day, with a heart full of emotion I walked to the makeshift memorial near Yonge and Finch to pay my respects to the victims. The strong support shown by everyone that day and the days to follow was inspiring. Since that fateful day we have seen the community of North York rise. Similarly, I know the Danforth will too rise even after recent tragic events.

Attacks of this nature leave us with several hanging questions: What can be done to prevent them in the future? Are our emergency and police services trained adequately for these types of scenarios? Can the public be rapidly warned of similar attacks or emergencies by text or other technologies to prevent casualties? These questions are borne from one objective which we all share: a safe Toronto for everyone.

Our communities rise. Despite the uncertainty and hopelessness these events may bring, we too need to rise above fear and help find ways to make all our communities safe.

“I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history.” ~ Martin Luther King

OneToronto