The mission of the Comité logement du Plateau Mont-Royal (CLPMR) is to defend the rights of tenants and people who are poorly housed in the Plateau Mont-Royal borough, promote social housing (co-ops, HLMs and NPOs) as an alternative to the private rental market, and mobilize renters to assert their rights. Its rich history dates back to 1974.
History of the CLPMR
1974: The Comité logement Saint-Louis, now known as the Comité logement du Plateau Mont-Royal, is created. At the time, the borough is struggling with the consequences of the city centre’s expansion: illegal demolitions, a huge number of fires (300 per year), hundreds of unsafe or boarded-up units.
1978: Urban renewal expands its dimensions. Landlords receive subsidies for renovating housing that they have, in some cases, voluntarily allowed to deteriorate. In response, a veritable campaign is developed for the survival of working-class neighbourhoods, in which the CLPMR participates, getting involved by creating two umbrella groups:
- The Front d’action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU), which promotes social housing and fights against poverty;
- The Coalition for Rent Freezes, now known as the Coalition of Housing Committees and Tenants Associations of Quebec (RCLALQ), which advocates for the right to housing and helps support the defense of tenants’ rights through information, training and dissemination of legal, political and social content.
1980: The start of the 1980s was hit hard by the economic crisis. A new phenomenon emerged: co-ownership. From 1981 to 1986, 13,000 of the Plateau’s units were converted into condominiums. The CLPMR raises the alarm and, along with the coalition Sauvons nos logements, organized a widescale campaign entitled “Mon logement n’est pas à vendre” (“My home is not for sale.”) Following appearances and political actions, the law is modified to provide more protections for tenants and regulate the conversion of rental properties into condos through a municipal bylaw.
1987: The CLPMR founds the Table de concertation sur le logement du Plateau Mont-Royal, in collaboration with Atelier Habitation Montréal. The CLPMR also creates the acquiring company, Les Habitations communautaires Vie Urbaine, which sought to remove buildings from the speculative market to create housing cooperatives. This enterprise lasted for a few years, ending when the last building was transferred to Inter-Loge in 2015.
1988: The CLPMR, via the RCLALQ, demands that the City of Montréal create a working group to develop a municipal bylaw that would provide better protection for tenants in buildings that are renovated using government subsidies.
1990: Through its involvement with the Table de concertation sur le logement du Plateau Mont-Royal, the CLPMR supports the creation of the Comité relance en habitation, composed of federal and provincial elected representatives, city councillors, and local support workers. As a result, political representatives commit to creating 1,200 units of social housing in the Plateau Mont-Royal.
1993: The CLPMR participates in creating Action Solidarité Grand Plateau (ASGP), the neighbourhood round table that brings together over 40 local organizations.
1994: The CLPMR takes an active role in the design of the area surrounding Mont-Royal metro, with the theme “Place des poètes,” to support the vibrancy of the neighbourhood and of Avenue du Mont-Royal.
1996: The CLPMR supports local residents on Avenue du Mont-Royal to slow the development of restaurants and bars on the avenue. Subsequently, the City of Montréal votes on a moratorium on new permits and proposes a new bylaw to limit the number of restaurants on the avenue.
1997: The CLPMR gets involved with local support workers to create a working group to prepare a design plan for the land that borders the railroad tracks to the south of Boulevard Rosemont. In mid-May, the Committee was mandated by the City of Montréal to create and manage the Éco-quartier de Lorimier, an organization dedicated to beautification, maintenance, recycling and re-employment. This mandate would come to an end in 2005.
1998: The CLPMR makes headlines by taking a leadership role in residents’ opposition to the installation of a big box store (Loblaws) on the vacant Canadian Pacific lots along the railroad tracks. In a well-orchestrated blitz, the committee collected 12,000 signatures on a petition and had unmistakeable success: all four candidates for mayor of Montréal committed in writing to block the proposed construction.
1999: After five years of sustained efforts, the former Monastère des Religieux du Très-Saint-Sacrement transforms into the Centre des services communautaires du Monastère, housing more than a dozen organizations, including the CLPMR, who set up their offices there in April.
2000: The new millennium gives rise to a thorough analysis of the organization and its staff, as well as the current needs of local tenants, of its membership, and in terms of mobilizing local residents. This study produces recommendations for restructuring the organization and adapting its operations and activities to the neighbourhood’s new reality. In a General Meeting held on June 22, the plan proposed by the Board of Directors is approved.
2001: Montréal experiences a rental housing shortage, especially for affordable units. To confront this housing crisis (which left numerous families without housing on July 1), the CLPMR proposes an action plan to obtain 500 units of social housing for the borough, in collaboration with Action Solidarité Grand Plateau. Two lots are targeted in the plan: the Voirie municipale Mentana and the STM garage.
2004: The campaign “Mon logement, j’y suis, j’y reste” is relaunched, given the City of Montréal’s new role in property evaluations, which has an impact on rent increases. In 2004, 240 people participate in collective workshops on rent increases. The place-based approach is growing: the CLPMR supports eight tenants groups, representing about 200 renter households.
Over the same year, the CLPMR tallies 130 landlord repossessions, indicating a serious trend in the Plateau Mont-Royal area (400 repossessions over the three previous years). It demands a moratorium on all landlord repossessions to preserve the most vulnerable tenants’ right to remain in their homes.
2005: The CLPMR’s 30th birthday, marked by increasing gentrification in the Plateau Mont-Royal. Condominium construction and conversions run rampant; a petition to restrict condo development in favour of social housing receives over 10,000 signatures.
2007: The CLPMR relaunches its campaign, “Mon logement et mon quartier: J’y suis! J’y reste!” to promote housing rights issues in the borough as well as sustainable and permanent solutions: 1,000 units of social housing over the next five years, mandatory and universal rent control, lease registration with the Régie du Logement, and a moratorium on landlord repossessions.
Over the previous seven years, over 1,200 tenants struggled with this phenomenon, which especially affects renters over the age of 50 who have lived in their homes for a good number of years and who pay rent well under market rates. Given the context at the time and the gentrification processes at play, the CLPMR concludes that repossessions are a smokescreen for landlords’ interests in substantially increasing rent prices.
2008: In June, the CLPMR partners with the FRAPRU to develop a three-day camp that brings together renters, activists and poorly housed individuals during the 400th anniversary celebrations for Québec City. Dubbed the “4 Less” camp, because it strove to spread the messages of the “penniless,” the “homeless,” the “rightless,” and the “voiceless,” its objective was not to take umbrage with the celebrations around the founding of Québec City, but rather to bring attention to a part of its history that is ongoing: that of the right to housing.
2011: In April, after much pressure, the CLPMR, the CDC-ASGP and the GRT Ateliers habitation Montréal officially meet with Michael Applebaum, then member of Gérald Tremblay’s executive council, and receive confirmation that the Les Premières Lettres building, the Voirie municipale Marie-Anne lot and the Villeneuve/Drolet lot are reserved for the creation of 150 units of social housing. A long battle ends in victory for the neighbourhood, renters, applicants, and local support workers!
2013: The CLPMR publishes its brochure, “Plus le Plateau est IN, plus les locataires sont OUT” (“The More the Plateau is ‘In’, the More Renters Are Kicked Out”), which sketches an overview of the neighbourhood’s gentrification. In parallel, it participates in three coalitions fighting to keep the site of the Hôpital Hôtel-Dieu, which had announced its imminent closure, in the public domain in order to build social housing.
2014: The CLPMR celebrates its 40th anniversary in the garden of the Sœurs Hospitalières de St-Joseph, adjacent to the parking lot of the Hôpital Hôtel-Dieu, where it continues to push for social housing to be constructed.
2016: The CLPMR conducts a study on the influence of short-term tourist rentals, such as Airbnbs, on the rental housing market. Its conclusions are clear: short-term, Airbnb-style tourist rentals substantially reduce rental housing stock, contribute to rent increases, create numerous disruptions for neighbours and play a role in gentrification. As a result, the CLPMR launches a wide-scale campaign to raise awareness of the issue among the population and political actors.
2017: A public assembly on plans for the site previously occupied by the Institution des Sourdes is organized by the CLPMR, leading to a working committee partnered with the Deaf community. Their mission is two-fold: to ensure that the site maintains a social, public and community purpose and that part of the site be dedicated to social housing, activities, and services for and by the Deaf community.
In parallel, the CLPMR launches a sweeping awareness and prevention campaign on bedbugs, a veritable scourge that increasingly spurs tenants to seek our services.
2018: The CLPMR participates in the Grande marche pour le droit au logement organized by the FRAPRU and its members. Activists, allies, and employees of the CLPMR marched part or all of the 560-km trajectory between Ottawa and Québec City.
2019: Eviction rates in the Plateau Mont-Royal soar. Approximately 24% of all services for individuals offered by CLPMR involve landlord repossessions, evictions, or housing conversions. A new phenomenon emerges: renovictions, which fall between evictions to divide or enlarge a dwelling and evictions for major renovations, in an effort by landlords to confuse the waters and get rid of tenants who they perceive as not paying enough rent. The CLPMR decides to conduct an action research project with evicted renters.
2020: The health crisis has an outsize impact on tenants, who make up 72% of the borough’s population.
The CLPMR’s individual information services on tenants’ rights are extremely in demand. Despite the anxiety and difficulties residents face, hundreds of tenants defended their rights to remain in their homes and preserve the neighbourhood’s social diversity.
2021: The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) estimates that in 2020, average rent in the Plateau Mont-Royal increased by 4.6%, while the consumer index only increased by 1%.
Faced with this issue, the CLPMR creates a campaign on abusive rent increases: postering, ads in the neighbourhood newspaper, a free phone-in clinic, and informative workshops. These means were developed to provide renters with support and help them quickly calculate a “justifiable” rent increase to help them contest an increase or negotiate a new increase.
2022:The FRAPRU and its members organize a new national outreach campaign to demand that investments be made in social housing (co-ops, NPOs, HLMs).
Scarce housing and high rent prices make it difficult for an increasingly large portion of the population to live in the Plateau Mont-Royal, even for those who have always lived there. One of the CLPMR’s preferred solutions is social housing development. Two nearby sites are the focus of particular interest for the organization and its members: the former Institution des Sourdes on Rue St-Denis and the Hôpital Hôtel-Dieu, which was slated for closure in 2021.
In the Plateau-Mont-Royal, over 830 households (families and seniors) are on the waiting list for housing with the Office municipal d’habitation de Montréal (OMHM). Still more are hoping to find a unit in a cooperative or non-profit housing organization.