Pallister Makes Life Less Affordable for Seniors During a Pandemic

December 1, 2020

Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg MB—Today Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew stood with retiree Deborah Kunkel to call out the Pallister government’s rent and hydro increases that are making life more expensive for seniors during the pandemic.

“Today on December 1st, seniors like Deborah Kunkel will see not one but two of their essential monthly bills go up,” said Kinew. “Across the province the Pallister government has been approving above guideline rent increases and now, just in time for the holidays, they’re also raising Hydro rates. Deborah’s pension hasn’t increased by 30% but her expenses have. As if mishandling the second wave of the pandemic wasn’t bad enough, now the Pallister government is making life more expensive for Manitobans.

Deborah Kunkel, who has filed an appeal with the Residential Tenancies Commission, says her rent has increased by 30.3%-- almost $300 more every month.

“This is the wrong time for my rent to skyrocket like this,” she said. “As a senior on a fixed income this pandemic has made life more inconvenient and expensive. I can’t just cut back on my prescriptions, groceries, internet and phone expenses in the middle of a pandemic. I rely on those things to keep me healthy and stay connected with my family. My pension hasn’t increased – why should my monthly bills? The Pallister government needs to stop these increases so that seniors like me can afford to stay in their homes.”

Last month the Manitoba NDP learned that the Pallister government has approved 100% of the rent increase requests that fall outside the Residential Tenancies Branch limit of 2.4% for 2020. This means some renters are paying up to 30-50% more for rent in Winnipeg.

As of today all Manitoba residents and businesses will see their Hydro bills increase by nearly 3%, an increase that was voted on by the Pallister government and did not go to public hearing.