New Coalition calls on City to protect Toronto tenants from extreme heat

June 4, 2024

June 4, 2024, Toronto, Canada — Toronto Heat Safety, a new coalition of tenant advocacy and environmental organizations, is calling on the City of Toronto to implement critical actions to help protect Toronto tenants from extreme heat events.

ACORN, Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario, ARCH Disability Centre (ARCH), Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Canadian Environmental Law Association, Climate Justice Toronto, Climate Resilience to Extreme Weather (CREW), Low-Income Energy Network, Seniors for Climate Action Now! - Toronto, and Toronto Environmental Alliance, as well as tenants from the St. James Town neighbourhood, are calling for the implementation of policies that will protect the health of Toronto tenants.

Among its list of actions, the coalition is calling for Toronto to implement a by-law that will limit temperatures inside residential buildings to no higher than 26ºC. Other actions that the group is advocating for include providing funds to eligible residents in the city for heat-pumps or air conditioning units, and providing free TTC rides on extreme heat days.

Climate change is making Toronto hotter. Modeling suggests that by the 2040s, the number of days where the temperature exceeds 30 degrees Celsius will grow from 20 days currently to 66 days every year. [1]

Extreme heat is a significant health hazard, particularly for tenants living in apartments without active cooling. High temperatures are particularly dangerous for the elderly, small children, people living with disabilities, people with pre-existing medical conditions and/or taking certain medications, low-income tenants, and isolated individuals.

During British Columbia’s extreme heat event in 2021, ninety-eight percent of the over 600 deaths occurred indoors, [2] and the majority of those deaths occurred inside people’s homes. [3]

“Toronto has a minimum temperature by-law that ensures that tenants have heat in the winter,” says Jacqueline Wilson from Canadian Environmental Law Association. “It’s time that Toronto implements a maximum temperature by-law to ensure Torontonians are safe in their own homes during hot summer days, too –especially as the climate continues to warm.”

"We have been asking the city to track heat-related deaths and illnesses for years, to provide AC for those who need it, and make a maximum heat by-law. The city must take action now or more people will suffer this summer,” says Christena Abbott, a senior and East York member of ACORN. “I have asthma and other health issues - I have been hospitalized multiple times when the heat gets bad so I need the cooling in my unit. What will happen to the people who don't have AC this summer?"

“It’s common for apartment units in my neighbourhood to reach over 30ºC in the summertime, says Anushen Selvasegar, a resident and renter in St. James Town. “We need rules to ensure that everyone, including the grandparents and the children in our neighbourhood, is protected from extreme heat.”


For more information, please contact:

Jessica Gordon, Communications Manager, Toronto Environmental Alliance, [email protected]

Jacqueline Wilson, Canadian Environmental Law Association (416) 960-2284, ex 7213

[1] Source:

[2] Source: , p 5

[3] Source:

Read our the background information here.