Brutal rent increase in residential facilities | "Penalizing vulnerable people – how is that a good strategy?”

February 26, 2021

Montréal  – The APTS (Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux) does not understand how the health and social services minister, Lionel Carmant, can have approved rent increases amounting to hundreds of dollars in residences with continous assistance (RACs).

This abusive and ill-considered decision will have a negative impact on residents’ rehabilitation. It may even push them out onto the streets. “When it’s time to fund private companies through juicy contracts, money is no object for the Legault government,” says APTS president Andrée Poirier. “But when it’s time to provide care and services for people coping with severe behaviour disorders, autism spectrum disorders, or a diagnosis of intellectual or physical impairment, suddenly we have no money. There’s no hesitation in penalizing these vulnerable people. For many of them, Minister Carmant has basically signed an eviction notice. What makes this a good strategy?”

Comments from the minister’s attachée prompted a swift and indignant response from Poirier, whose union represents employees providing RAC residents with psychosocial services. “The purpose of these residences is not to ensure that people facing sometimes insurmountable problems are kept in extreme poverty,” she points out. “The goal is to provide them with the best possible quality of life given the circumstances. This is like hearing Philippe Couillard, who was completely out of touch with reality, boast that he could feed a family of four while spending $75 a week on groceries.”

The APTS is also shocked by the brutal character of the announcement, which provides barely three weeks’ notice, and appeals to the minister’s humanity. “When a landlord decides to increase a tenant’s rent, he or she has to give at least three months’ notice,” says Poirier. “There’s a framework to regulate that kind of rent increase, and it can be challenged if it’s abusive. Here, vulnerable people don’t benefit from any of these rights. Minister Carmant needs to call his ministry to order. The residents’ dignity, and their safety, are at stake. This is the ONLY humane way of acting.”

The APTS (Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux) represents a total of 60,000 members who play a key role in ensuring that health and social services institutions run smoothly. Our members provide a wide range of services for the population as a whole, including diagnostic, rehabilitation, nutrition, psychosocial intervention, clinical support, and prevention services