40 Years of Struggle for Housing as a Right

Serge Lachapelle —

On October 3, amid some 50 supporters and friends, the Grouping of Housing Committees and Tenants Associations (RCLALQ) celebrated its 40th anniversary. An exhibit, interventions and discussions all brought out the enthusiasm and determination that can only be born from the defence of one’s rights.

The year in which RCLALQ was founded, 1978, coincides with the announcement of a series of social measures hard won by rights organizations and the population at large. In December 1977, based on the intiative of housing committees in various neighborhoods, the Grouping for a Rental Freeze (Regroupement pour le gel des loyers), which would become the RCLALQ in October of the following year, was formed. Mobilization centred around a common struggle against rent increases and the organization of a campaign to force the government to decree a rent freeze were organized. One of the results was the tabling of Bill 107, An Act to establish the Régie du logement and to amend the Civil Code and other legislative provisions. Years of the anti-social offensive have since reduced the housing board (Régie du logement) to a shell.

RCLALQ is now calling upon the new government to take up a reform of the Régie du logement as soon as possible.

The organization is concerned about the lack of attention from political parties towards the housing tribunal, the busiest one in Quebec. It is estimated that the Régie du logement handles an average of 68,000 cases per year. RCALQ spokesperson Maxime Roy-Allard deplored the fact that « With the means at its disposal, the Régie is stagnating. » He went on to say, « There is an urgent need to increase its funding as well as the number of judges it requires, otherwise access to justice for the most vulnerable will continue to be eroded. »

RCLALQ says this reform is necessary. « Drastic measures are needed to restore tenants’ confidence in the Régie: to drastically reduce waiting times, stop prioritizing the non-payment of rent over other types of cases, end the massive eviction of tenants, reopen access points in all regions, set up free services and improve the accompaniment of people at all stages of a case, » said the RCLALQ spokesperson.

The RCLALQ is also calling on the new government to dedicate a full-time ministerial position to the issue of housing. Given the importance of housing in the lives of Quebeckers and the seriousness of the current challenges, the RCLALQ thinks that such a position is more necessary than ever.

Housing is a Right!
Demand Concrete Measures for Its Full Realization!

Serge Lachapelle is the PMLQ candidate in Mercier.