Brampton Council Votes to Suspend Enforcing Heat By-Law

As we reported earlier today, Brampton is about to experiencing some scorching summer like weather, on the first days of autumn. Sounds crazy, but it’s true.

What is more crazy is that, despite the obvious fact that it is still hot summer weather outside, most landlords have to abide by strict policy guidelines from Brampton and switch off their air conditioners and turn on the heat. As if being outside was already hot enough, now the same temperature is inside?

According to the City of Brampton’s by-laws, Section 2 (a) of the Adequate Heat By-law requires adequate and suitable heat to be provided by a landlord in rental accommodations in the colder months between September 15 and June 1 to a minimum of 20 degrees Celsius. It draws authority from the Municipal Act. Many other municipalities have similar by-laws in place.

Sure this makes sense, providing that on the first days of fall it actually feels as cold as fall. But this week saw some stories about how adhering to this by-law can have unintended consequences. City councillors in Toronto have been imploring landlords to switch their heat off right now, saying that residents have been saying the conditions were unbearable.

Brampton city councillors understood the situation as well, and this afternoon voted to amend the by-law. The amendment delegates the Commissioner of Corporate Services the authority to direct that the Adequate Heat by-law not be enforced for specified periods, as determined by the Commissioner.

Council also directed staff to further review and bring forward a revised by-law for consideration by Council by April 2018. Enforcement activities of the by-law are suspended until further notice. So at least for now, landlords will not have to turn the heat on when it is still scorching hot outside.

Naturally heat waves like this would draw attention to the issue of climate change.

"In the face of ongoing global climate change we as a city must be nimble when a problem is identified by our residents, it is clear to me this specific by-law is seriously out of date," Mayor Linda Jeffrey said in her remarks. "Keeping residents safe is our first priority as a council, I urge residential landlords to use common sense in the best interest of their tenants. During this unprecedented heat wave there is no immediate need for heat to be on, and I urge our landlords to provide air conditioning if possible."

Councillor Gael Miles echoed similar sentiments.

"The safety of Brampton residents is of paramount importance to council and City of Brampton staff. Such unseasonably high temperatures pose a serious risk to our most vulnerable, particularly seniors and young children. We urge residential landlords to shut off the heat in all buildings and, if available, turn on air conditioning units," Miles said.

Brampton residents are reminded that all recreation centres and library branches are available during normal hours of operation as heat relief locations. All heat relief locations have air conditioning, drinking water available at taps and fountains, and relaxed loitering rules to allow residents the opportunity to get cool. Spray pad operations have been extended beyond the normal Labour Day seasonal closure. Residents are encouraged to refer to the city's website for drop-in swim schedules.

So for now Brampton, relax and enjoy the waning days of summer as the fall approaches, but remember to keep safe. The heat may not be forcibly turned on in your homes, but it still is a hot one out there!

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