While New Brunswickers are facing the largest increases in rent in the entire country the Higgs government review of the province’s rental system will likely not include any real relief for cash-strapped renters.
According to Statistics Canada, rent paid on accommodations in New Brunswick between March 2020 and March 2021 rose 4.8 per cent, the largest increase in the country. Nationally, rents increased an average of 0.5 per cent, over the same period.
Higgs claims that he won’t presuppose the outcome of the review but states he is not a “fan of rent control.”
“This is a familiar story with the Higgs government. Instead of letting the process unfold and hearing from New Brunswickers, the decisions are predetermined,” said Robert Gauvin, MLA for Shediac Bay-Dieppe and Opposition Critic for Social Development. “We have to question how many more options have already been taken off the table because the Premier is “not a fan” and if there will be a meaningful commitment to help renters facing these climbing costs.”
Government announced the 90-day review of the rental landscape in New Brunswick in February amid growing complaints from renters faced with increasing rents and evictions during the pandemic.
“We know that the bottom line is the Higgs government’s primary focus,” added Gauvin. “The impact of the pandemic on families who have lost jobs, income and are now facing the possibility of eviction is devastating; and those who are just able to hang-on are now forced to contend with a much larger rent bill yet the Higgs government leaves federal dollars on the table and refuses to address the most pressing issues like escalating rents.”