MONTREAL -- Québec Solidaire is calling on the Legault government to suspend rent increases for 2021.

It would offer some much-needed relief for the thousands of tenants dealing with financial hardships during the pandemic, according QC housing critic Andrés Fontecilla.

“The housing crisis did not come to a halt on day one of the pandemic,” he said. “Rents continued to skyrocket as thousands of people lost their jobs or faced significant drops in income. The explosion of demands in food banks and homeless shelters shows us that the most vulnerable have been weakened by the crisis.”

On Oct. 1, the Ontario government passed a law to prevent landlords from increasing their rents through to Dec. 31, 2021. B.C. has frozen rents until the summer.

“Quebec can [do this] too,” said Fontecilla, the member for Laurier-Dorion. "The government has all the tools in hand to order a rent freeze

“In exceptional situations, we must respond with exceptional measures,” he said.

“Preventing rent increases this year is neither far-fetched nor radical; it’s common sense.”

-- This article was first published by the Canadian Press on Jan. 5, 2020.