Toronto Community Housing tenants took part in an important democratic exercise today. They voted to select new tenant representatives for their buildings and communities.
Tenant representatives are an important part of Toronto Community Housing's multi-pronged tenant engagement system. They are a voice for tenants. They work with Toronto Community Housing to shape their future. They help set priorities. They help decide where to invest money. And they hold the company accountable for the quality of housing and service tenants receive.
This year's elections are the biggest in Toronto Community Housing's history. Voters cast ballots for more than 700 candidates running in 200 contested elections across the city. Tenant representatives will serve three-year terms.
Voting day was the culmination of a month-long election campaign where candidates made their pitch to voters. This included canvassing, postering and dozens of all-candidate meetings in buildings throughout the city.
Toronto Community Housing has 164,000 tenants living in communities across the city. That makes these elections bigger than Prince Edward Island's provincial elections. Few other landlords have this kind of system of tenant representation here in Toronto or elsewhere in North America.
The elections are part of Toronto Community Housing's commitment to ensure tenants have a say over decisions that affect their lives and communities. It's about ensuring tenants are heard. And it's about making sure their views are incorporated in company plans. That kind of tenant involvement is crucial to ensuring fairness for tenants. By integrating tenants in decision-making, it also helps ensure best operating results for the housing company.
View Tenant Participation page
On election day, we asked tenants why they think tenant elections are important. Here's what they told us:
"We're looking towards the future. That's why we're here."
-- Charmaine Baird, candidate, 2468 Eglinton Ave. W.
"I think that it's great that someone wants to change the little things around here because the little things make a big difference."
-- Jessica, tenant, 2468 Eglinton Ave W.
"I want the tenant representative to bring in more community programs and hold more meetings to tell us what's going and talk about local issues."
-- Lydia Blake, tenant, 2195 Jane St.
"I'm just supporting democracy."
-- Peter, tenant, 200 Wellesley St. E.
"I voted for someone I think is capable of working on some of the issues that will make it a friendlier, safer community. I'd like to see more community events where we can meet our neighbours."
-- George MacIntyre, tenant, 200 Wellesley St. E.
"I want somebody to give us a voice and address our concerns."
-- Selvarajah Nagamany, tenant, 200 Wellesley St. E.
"The one positive I'd like to see to come out of this election is tenant participation. It's essential because Toronto Community Housing is trying to provide housing, while providing services enabling tenants to be a member of society. This is all part of that engagement."
-- Michael Boyle, tenant, St. Jamestown
"I want to see an addition to the community gathering space and more places for kids to play."
-- Latoya Tindail, tenant, 90 Parma Court
"What we're looking for is a consistent and persistent tenant voice."
-- Ray Taharally, tenant, 4205 Lawrence Ave. E.