Charlottetown, PE (Nov. 10, 2022) – The Greater Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce are concerned about the government’s choice to intervene in the decision of the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC) following the Government’s recent decision to legislate a 0% allowable increase for residential rental units.
Our Chambers remind the government that IRAC is an independent quasi-judicial body that operates at arm’s length from Government. This recent intervention by the government sets a dangerous precedent for all future IRAC decisions.
In September, IRAC announced that it had set the allowable rent increase for 2023 at 10.8% for units heated with furnace oil and 5.2% for unheated units, those heated with sources other than furnace oil and for mobile homes located in mobile home parks.
On November 1, the Minister of Social Development and Housing Matthew MacKay tabled a bill to limit the allowable increase on housing rentals to 0% for the next year. This amounts to a complete reversal of IRAC’s independent decision.
Our Chambers recognizes that there is presently a shortage of affordable housing, and that this problem has been exacerbated by the fact that Islanders are also experiencing the highest inflation rates in the country. However, our Chambers call on the Province to address these issues without the need to intervene and overrule an independent regulator.
Since this residential freeze was announced, we have been hearing from many landlords and developers who are worried about the financial turmoil this decision will put them in. Residential rental operators have laboured through an unprecedented increase in oil, increase in electricity, increase in maintenance and repair costs, and the potential for increased insurance premiums in the wake of Hurricane Fiona.
A 0% increase puts the investment dollars required to increase the critically low supply of housing at risk and will exacerbate the housing crisis on PEI. The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber has heard from members about housing projects being cancelled, and the proposed legislation sending a strong negative signal to residential rental operators that will reduce or eliminate investment in housing supply.
Our Chambers urge the government to protect the regulatory powers vested in IRAC as they must make tough decisions independent of political interference.
The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber has requested a meeting with Premier King and Minister MacKay to discuss this issue further.
About the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce:
The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce connects business and community and is PEI’s largest business advocacy organization with more than 1,100 members. For more information on the Chamber, visit www.charlottetownchamber.com.
Policy and Communications Specialist
(902) 628-2000 x 224
About The Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce:
Established in 1900, the Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce is a volunteer organization made up of business and professional people sharing a common goal — the economic development of the Greater Summerside area. Small and large businesses from virtually every sector and profession form the membership.