Problems at the Office d’habitation Roussillon : tenants hold demonstration in Châteauguay
Nearly a hundred low-income housing tenants from the Office d’habitation de Roussillon (OHR) protested in front of the offices of the MNA for Châteauguay, Marie-Belle Gendron on September 11. They condemned a decline in the quality of services and called for the return of OHR employees who had been dismissed or suspended.
Translation Amanda Bennett
“It’s been 15 days since I’ve been able to phone the OHR about problems with my housing. The organization’s current board of directors is not effective, with interim director Catherine Fontaine,” said Châteauguay low-income housing tenant Pierrette Helie at the demonstration.
To improve services, the tenants are proposing two options. They are calling for the return of former Director General Bertrand Loiselle. The Fédération des locataires d’habitations à loyer modique du Québec (FLHLMQ) claims that he was fired on August 4. However, in a decision handed down in mid-August, the Administrative Labour Tribunal stated that the general director had been suspended in May.
The demonstrators also want two other experienced employees to return to their jobs at the Roussillon Housing Office. A petition containing 286 names demanding the return of the employees has already been submitted to the City of Châteauguay.
If this idea does not see the light of day, putting the Office in trusteeship is the other option proposed by the tenants.
“The Office doors are closed and no one is responding. Tenants are suffering, and we’re in the middle of a housing crisis. Nothing has gone right since July 2023,” explained FLHLMQ community organizer Patricia Viannay.
Refusal to work, according to OHR
When asked about the lack of quality services at OHR, Chantale Boudrias, chair of the organization’s board of directors, said it was due to OHR employees refusing to work.
These employees acted in this way following the dismissals and suspensions of the former general director and a number of other employees,” she says.
Ms. Boudrias points out that the services offered by OHR have been back in operation since September 11.
Some tenants have linked the “poorer” quality of services provided by the Office d’habitation de Roussillon to the merger of the Offices d’habitation de Châteauguay and Roussillon-Est in January 2023.
Ms. Boudrias described this argument as “false information”. Work refusals among her employees were the only reason, she reiterated.
A meeting was held on September 13 at the office of the MNA for Châteauguay with the <@Ri>Office d’habitation de Roussillon and the Société d’habitation du Québec to discuss the situation.