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Rent Increase: The Effect on Dawson College Students

Aya Hafeda

Staff Writer

Credit: CTV News Montreal

During this upcoming season of crisp winds and white layers, the streets of Montreal are crammed with ‘À Vendre’ signs.

In 2022, the province of Quebec faces between a 6.5% and 7% of basic rent increase. For heated residencies, the percentage is higher depending on the employed method. The average rent in Montreal is now above $1,500.

Dawson College has an estimated 11 000 students, and most students do not live near the campus region. This is the case for second-year literature student Maya Jadah who is residing in the village of Hemmingford, located in the south of Quebec. Getting to Dawson College would take approximately an hour by car and public transportation is not available in the region. In August 2021, she moved to Montréal with a roommate near campus claiming it was an unavoidable change most students from Hemmingford go through.

Maya mentions that the inflation rates had a great impact on her: “It was hard to budget everything.” All the money Maya had worked for during the summer and set aside went mostly into covering the increasing costs of rent. According to Maya, this process complicated acquiring groceries, “I had a hard time budgeting. I still do.” Jadah believes that the upheaval of moving into a large and urban city like Montreal incites a new lifestyle that didn’t coincide with the growing rent of the city: “Near December, I couldn’t afford rent.”

The stress of having to keep up a certain amount of hours per week at work to afford her apartment affected the young student on a mental level as well: “Looking back on it now, it was so stressful […] adapting to having to pay rent and budget. It was stressful having to adapt to that.” Maya continues: “Working with having school, that was like stressful and even now; I’m working 4 days a week while going to school, so it gets really stressful sometimes.” Despite having a load of work and attempting to pay attention to school, Maya still has to work 19 hours a week to cover her rent: “There’s a lot of pressure.”

When asked if her working hours interfered with her academic goals, she admits to having struggled when first moving out; she had not fully adapted to the balance between work and school and procrastinated often. This caused dissatisfaction with her grades and made the student feel overwhelmed as a result. Maya Jadah believes that “they need to recognize the struggles that students can go through when they have no choice but to move out to go to school.”

During the 3rd October elections, Premier Minister François Legault won a second term. Along with his reelection, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) promised to hand out checks to all qualified 6.5 million taxpaying Quebeckers before the holidays. This will aid them with the rent inflation Quebec is facing. The checks will vary from $400 to $600 depending on the resident’s revenue.

Eric Gerard, finance minister, states on a news conference that as of December, $400 will be handed out to citizens whose salary in 2021 was between $50,000 and $100,000. Moreover, Gerard stated: “It’s our responsibility to help Quebecers cope with the increase in inflation -- the essential needs are immediate.” As for the $600, it will be handed out to those whose salary was less than $50,000 in 2021. For residents whose salary exceeded $100,000, no checks will be collected. This money will even be accorded to people who already owe the government money.

Adrian Cerone is a second-year Dawson student who plans on moving near Dawson soon. He states: “I live very far in the East end and it's completely impossible to commute in a small amount of time if I don't drive […] there are no parking lots around metro stations […] it's completely impossible for me to commute in a reasonable time and be on time for my class.” The student wishes to move somewhere near campus to avoid the complications that come with depending on a car.

He believes that a better paying job will be needed for him to cover rent when he moves out. Despite a greater wage, Cerone says that he would also have to work many hours. He believes it would be “hard to keep that kind of schedule with a consistent school schedule.” The process of covering an inflating rent will then have a negative impact on Adrian’s academic work. Adrian furthermore says that “Even if I continue going to classes, I’m probably going to be behind on certain projects or assignments or going to have to rush more.”


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