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The Montreal SPCA launches a petition against no-pet clauses in residential leases at the National Assembly 

Montreal, April 4, 2022 – In this election year, the Montreal SPCA’s Keeping Families Together campaign is making a strong comeback with a petition, supported by MNA Manon Massé, launched this morning at the National Assembly. The petition calls on the government to abolish no-pet clauses in residential leases. The scarcity of animal-friendly housing is a concern for the Montreal SPCA as moving season approaches, particularly in light of the 3.7% average increase in rents, in addition to the general increase in the cost of living. With 52% of Quebec households having a companion animal, finding an affordable animal-friendly home is proving to be extremely difficult.  

Discriminatory towards low-income families  

Every year, countless of Québec residents are forced to make the gut-wrenching decision to part with their beloved animal, whom they consider a member of their family, in order to secure affordable rental housing. 

No-pet clauses disproportionately affect low-income families, who have more limited housing opportunities. The current state of the Québec rental market is exacerbating this already difficult situation for many families. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), in 2021: 

  • In addition to the 5.3% increase in Consumer Price Index (CPI), the average rent soared by 3.7% in Montréal. This increase was similar to the one observed in 2020 (4.2%), which was also the highest since the early 2000s.  
  • Only 13% of Montréal apartments (approximately 79,000) could be considered affordable for the least affluent 20% of renter households (income under $25,000).  

Animals are part of the average Québec family  

According to a Leger survey conducted in November 2021, more than half of Québec households, 52%, have a dog or cat; in 2021 alone, approximately 200,000 animals were added to the population of approximately 3.25 million companion animals.  

Yet, only 4.2% of landlords allow dogs, despite the fact that 25% of Québec households include a dog as one of their members. 

One animal abandoned per day  

The Montreal SPCA is frequently witnesses to heartbreaking scenes in which responsible animal guardians, who love and care for their companion, are forced to part with them simply because they cannot find animal-friendly and affordable rental housing. In fact, throughout the year, nearly one animal per day ends up being abandoned at the Montreal SPCA due to a move, notwithstanding the hundreds of calls the SPCA receives from people who have difficulty finding a pet-friendly home. No-pet clauses in residential leases have devastating effects, not only on the families who find themselves unable to keep their animal, but on the animals themselves. 

Time for change 

“Given that we are in an election year, the time is right to urge the government to declare no-pet clauses in residential leases null and without effect, as has been done elsewhere in the world,” explains Sophie Gaillard, Director of Animal Advocacy and Legal Affairs at the Montreal SPCA. “The Montreal SPCA invites Quebecers to sign our petition on the National Assembly website.” 

“I’m pleased to sponsor the Montreal SPCA’s petition. Every year, in addition to the difficulty of finding reasonably priced housing, it is very difficult for tenants to find housing where animals are accepted. This often results in situations where people are forced to abandon their animals against their will. The solution is to ban clauses in residential leases that prohibit pets, and Québec Solidaire has made a commitment to do so,” said Manon Massé, the Québec Solidaire MNA for Sainte-Marie-Saint-Jacques, who supports the petition. 

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Source: Montreal SPCA

Media contact: Anita Kapuscinska, Senior Consultant, Corporate Development and Media Relations, Montréal SPCA, 514-359-5198, anitak@spca.com.

About the Montréal SPCA – Founded in 1869, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (now known simply as the Montréal SPCA) was the first animal-welfare organization in Canada. Today, the Montreal SPCA is the largest animal protection organization in Quebec, speaking on behalf of animals wherever there is ignorance, cruelty, exploitation, or neglect.

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