Two Montreal tenant groups evicted by Toronto school

A building housing two tenants’ rights organizations in Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve has been purchased by a private university in Toronto, which plans to completely renovate it this fall to accommodate students. The duty

The four-story building on Ontario Street East was until recently home to six community organizations from different backgrounds, but three of them have moved in recent months when Cestar College took over this commercial building last fall, prompting them to leave. Located in Toronto, this private college specializes in “personal and popular training education” through “non-university” programs, according to the Quebec Business Register. It has several campuses in Ontario, specializing in various programs ranging from law education to courses in dentistry and new technologies, among others.

Thus, the college’s decision to gradually settle in Quebec forced the eviction of community organizations still in the building, including two groups defending the rights of Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve tenants. These are Entraide Logement, which helps tenants with complex relationships with their landlord, and Comité BAILS, which helps people in need find social housing. Last January, the two organizations were commissioned to renovate the premises on 1 . to leaveer March, according to email exchanges obtained by The duty

“We understood they could kick us out with a month or two weeks’ notice,” Marine G. Armengaud, a community organizer with the BAILS committee, said in an interview on Thursday. By negotiating with the new owner, the two community groups were able to extend this deadline to 1er July. Since then, they have done many searches trying to find a place to move, but time is running out. “We’re still in uncertainty,” less than two months before the forced departure, notes Marine G. Armengaud, noting that the commercial spaces occupied by many organizations in Montreal, like homes, are suffering from speculation.

“As for commercial properties, it’s extremely expensive,” notes the one who finds it “a bit ironic” that a community-vocation building where we help those in need is due to be replaced “by a private English-language school serving a more affluent community.” clientele will serve”.

“We think it’s a bit strange,” says Guillaume Dostaler, coordinator of Entraide Logement, sitting in his office on the fourth floor of the building, where renovation work has already started. when passing the Task, a Cestar College employee was also on the scene, boxes in his hands. He then gave us the contact details of Clément Perrier, the general manager of an art school in downtown Montreal that had recently been bought out by his employer. It was he who, in recent months, notified the tenants of this building on Ontario Street East that they had to vacate the property.

Expand in Quebec

In an interview, Mr. Perrier indicated that the college intended to gradually settle in Quebec, which explains the purchase of the building. The establishment is already carrying out work on the first floor in hopes of welcoming students there from September, if the Ministries of Education and Higher Education grant the necessary authorizations in time to allow this future school to function. “Before the Ministry of Education approves a program, it is important that the school can accommodate its students,” explains Mr. Perrier out.

The whole building then gradually welcomes students from 1er If all goes well, he will add January 2023, indicating that the courses, the content of which is not detailed, will be taught in both English and French. However, Mr Perrier indicated that this school will offer “four different programs”.

Mr Perrier admits to having felt some discomfort when he learned that all of the building’s tenants were community groups. However, he assures that measures have been taken on a case-by-case basis to facilitate the departure of tenants in a “respectful” manner.

“The goal was to find an agreement that would benefit everyone,” he says.

Cestar College has been taking steps in recent weeks to acquire the three colleges in Quebec from Rising Phoenix, a company under investigation by the Permanent Anti-Corruption Unit for questionable recruiting practices for students abroad. The three branches are the M College of Canada in Montreal, the CDE College in Sherbrooke and the College of Accounting and Secretarial Services of Quebec in Longueuil.

The Secretary of Higher Education Danielle McCann has also in the past lamented the staggering rates charged by these types of unsubsidized private colleges. The department was unable to respond to questions from the Task Thursday.

Always further

The two tenant advocacy groups currently being evicted are now looking at a property in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve Community Education Pavilion, further east. These would be less well located compared to the nearest metro station Joliette, and thus in a less “accessible” area for some tenants, said Mr Dostaler.

“We really see this phenomenon of poorer tenants moving to the suburbs, and that’s where it happens to us too,” said Marine G. Armengaud. According to her, it is also the third time in four years that her organization Comité BAILS and Entraide Logement have been forced to move to new premises for various reasons.

“It’s hard to be very stable,” sighs Guillaume Dostaler, pointing to the lack of measures to provide any stability to community groups that rent. But “moving is expensive,” especially for organizations where every dollar counts, he notes.

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