Op-ed by Peel ACORN: MARC program needs improvement, Peel ACORN says
Posted December 6, 2023
Nearly a year-and-a-half after the MARC program is introduced, a Peel ACORN tenant survey shows it needs improvements, says Marcia Bryan, April Johnston and Robin Vanderleet
Back in December 2021, tenants in Mississauga celebrated the passage of the Mississauga Apartment Rental Compliance (MARC) program, which aims to provide livable homes to tenants.
The city started implementing it as a five-year pilot program in July 2022. Owners of two or more floors, and six or more units need to register and follow a set of rules.
Fast forward roughly one-and-a-half years and a Peel ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) tenant survey shows the program needs improvements.
Based on 125 responses from tenants, the survey shows many tenants are struggling with lack of repair and maintenance issues — roaches or bugs, lack of security, unclean hallway or lobby carpets and garbage chutes — are commonplace.
But the bigger issue is most tenants don’t know about the program. The program remains largely nontransparent as tenants do not know if their buildings are registered under the program or what their inspection scores are.
Moreover, through the data accessed from the city, it shows many apartment buildings got decent scores at a time when the units remain uninhabitable.
The housing crisis is getting worse, and tenants are stuck in precarious housing. Tenants need and deserve healthy homes and the MARC program can go a long way in helping tenants realize this right.
Some improvements that can make this happen include making the building registration database public, making the inspection scores public, tenant engagement so tenants know about the program and how to use it, making the program information available in multiple languages, including in-suite inspections and raising the per unit fee of the units so there is more staff to inspect the buildings.
The city needs to conduct yearly evaluation of the program so timely improvements can be made. Tenants need this program — now more than ever.
Marcia Bryan, April Johnston and Robin Vanderfleet are members of Peel ACORN, a community and tenant union with chapters in 10 cities across the country, including Peel.
Article by Marcia Bryan, April Johnston and Robin Vanderfleet for Mississauga.com