Actions Needed to Protect Toronto Tenants from Extreme Heat

Senior Woman With Smart Meter Trying To Keep Cool using a smart meter

Toronto Heat Safety

The City of Toronto must act now to prevent harmful health impacts and potential loss of life this summer from extreme heat, and accelerate the process to set an adequate temperature by-law for all rental units in Toronto.

ACORN, Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE), Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO), ARCH Disability Law Centre (ARCH), Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA), Climate Justice Toronto, Climate Resilience to Extreme Weather (CREW), Low-Income Energy Network (LIEN), Seniors for Climate Action Now! – Toronto, and Toronto Environmental Alliance call on the City of Toronto to implement the following actions to protect tenants from extreme heat:

  1. Establish an adequate temperature by-law by 2025 that will ensure that all residential rental units in the city can be kept at a temperature of no greater than 26º C. Another summer should not go by without the by-law being in place to protect tenants.
  2. Implement a program to provide and install free heat-pumps or air conditioners to income-eligible tenants and seniors in Toronto.
  3. Provide income-eligible tenants with financial support to cover any additional, ongoing utilities costs associated with using new active cooling infrastructure.
  4. Expand current funding assistance programs to provide landlords with funding to make capital expenditures to upgrade buildings to be energy efficient and include active cooling infrastructure. The funding must stipulate that the costs of these capital upgrades cannot be passed on to tenants.
  5. Direct Toronto Public Health to track heat-related death and emergency room visits related to exposure to heat during extreme heat events.
  6. Implement emergency measures:
    • Mandate that temporary cooling spaces are air-conditioned and available in all apartment buildings.
    • Equip public and community spaces – such as community centres, schools and libraries – to serve as cool spaces in the most impacted communities during extreme and prolonged heat waves.
    • Provide free TTC rides on extreme heat days to allow for mobile cooling and to make it easier for people suffering from heat to travel to cool public and community spaces.
    • Protect vulnerable tenants in case of infrastructure failures, such as ensuring there are backup power generators for apartments so that seniors and people with mobility devices are able to leave hot apartments during a heatwave-induced power outage.