1705300395 More tenants receive eviction notices in Saguenay–Lac Saint Jean –

More tenants receive eviction notices in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean –

According to the Regroupement des Committees Logement et Associations de Tenants du Québec (RCLALQ), the number of tenant evictions in the province increased by 132% in 2023. Although the organization does not have data for the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region, stakeholders are seeing an upward trend in this area.

Myriam Bouchard has been a lawyer at the Chicoutimi legal advice center for several years. Anyone who feels uncomfortable in front of the camera usually stays away from it. However, she agreed to an interview because, she believes, the situation needs to be brought to light.

“This is really important to me,” she says immediately.

Myriam Bouochard in front of the camera

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Lawyer Myriam Bouchard notes an increase in eviction cases. In her opinion, the rental context has never been more difficult for tenants since the beginning of her career.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jonathan Lamothe

She has noticed an increase in eviction filings since the pandemic began.

I would tell you that in the last few years, indeed in my entire practice, I'm really seeing the most difficult cases right now.


To end a rental agreement, a landlord needs a good reason. He can do this legally if he wants to settle there, host a parent, a child or even a dependent there.

He can also terminate the contract in order to renovate the accommodation or give it another function, for example by setting up commercial premises.

A residential building.

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Finding an apartment is particularly difficult in Saguenay this year.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Roby St-Gelais

Ultimately, to evict a tenant, a landlord may cite a more obvious reason: non-payment of rent.

In Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, according to Myriam Bouchard, more and more landlords are taking advantage of these reasons. Some do this dishonestly so that they can increase the price of the housing units after the tenants move out.

Unfortunately, we are currently seeing this happen under false pretenses, we see this a lot.

New tactics

New programs are emerging in the region. The owners deliberately fail to maintain the apartment in the hope that the resident will no longer be able to make their monthly payments when their resources are exhausted.

Myriam Bouchard smiles.

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Myriam Bouchard, lawyer at the Chicoutimi Legal Aid Office.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Screenshot

They wait before submitting their application to the court. The tenants have not been able to repay the rent due for several months. As a result, their rental agreement is terminated by the Administrative Housing Tribunal, explains Myriam Bouchard.

According to the lawyer, the residents of the region still live in inhumane conditions, i.e.

There was water damage, mold, bugs, etc. They live in conditions that can be described as miserable.

More and more landlords are committing harassment.

I also see landlords who tend to target specific tenants, meaning they submit up to three or four different applications to the court within a relatively short period of time.

Despite everything, there are still several tenants left, because with declining purchasing power, rising rental prices and the shortage of rental space, it can be difficult to find a new home that fits your budget. In Saguenay the vacancy rate is 0.9%.

New to the area

Requests for help with eviction stories are increasing in Quebec's housing committees and tenant associations.

In December, the RCLALQ, which brings together all of these organizations across Quebec, published a detailed report on this. The conclusion? The phenomenon of evictions increased by 132% in the province in 2023.

RCLALQ report.

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Although the RCLALQ report points to a significant increase in evictions, it turns out that these conclusions only represent part of the situation. Many tenants receive notice of termination without reporting it to a housing committee.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Screenshot

Outside Montreal and Quebec, growth would be 121%. However, one call is enough to see that we have no data on Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean.

Loge m'entraide, the only official organization supporting tenants in the region and part of the group, is just beginning to count the cases reported to it.

Because 26 years ago, when Sonia Côté, coordinator and sole employee, committed to offering support to low-income tenants, the issue of evictions was not among the problems nearly 500 kilometers away north of Montreal.

Sonia Côté poses for the camera.

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Loge m'entraide coordinator Sonia Côté plans to start counting the evictions reported to her.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Alexandra Duchaine

In fact, it was something we didn't often hear about in interventions, she recalls.

Now tenants come to her after receiving notice from the landlord.

In the last year we have heard more and more often about evictions and repossessions.

For this reason, Sonia Côté started recording the number of requests. So far the numbers are not impressive. In 2022, only nine people called the Lodge m'entraide, compared to ten in 2023.

Unknown figures

It is difficult to get a reliable picture of the number of evictions in the region because few tenants are aware of their rights, recalls the RCLALQ. Few of them report the situation when it occurs.

“This is a tiny part of the portrait that we can count,” says Cédric Dussault, spokesman for the group.

Cédric Dussault in front of the camera.

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The Association of Housing Committees and Tenant Associations of Quebec listed 3,531 eviction cases in Quebec in 2023. Here is your spokesman, Cédric Dussault.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Screenshot

The same applies to the alarming portrait of Myriam Bouchard: this is a reversal of the coin, because few cases are brought to court.

For example, only 25 applications for repossessions were filed with the Saguenay Administrative Housing Tribunal in 2021-2022. There are also 497 applications for non-payment and two for restructuring.

Economic context

If evictions are increasing in the region, this is mainly because it is not spared from the bleak economic situation.

Form: Notification of withdrawal of accommodation.

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For a one-year contract, the owner must give notice of termination at least six months before the end of the rental agreement.

Photo: Radio-Canada

With high mortgage rates and inflation, landlords need more income, which can lead them to want to evict tenants in order to raise rents.

The number of tenants who don't pay on the first of the month is increasing again, which increases the statistics even further. It only takes 22 days late to start proceedings in court, recalls lawyer Myriam Bouchard.

There are obviously owners who have to pay more, and we have tenants who are less able to pay their rent because they're obviously going to eat first. They will take care of dressing their children, she notes.


For social gerontologist Julien Simard, who has been working on the issue of housing for 12 years, we must first create affordable housing to prevent people from being put on the streets due to lack.

The problem is that there is a real shortage of affordable housing.

For those who focus their research on housing insecurity among the elderly, the concept of affordability needs to be examined.

A property with a sign saying “full”.

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Housing is scarce in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. Several buildings show “full”.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Julien Gagnon

When we talk about affordability, it doesn't fit the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's definition, which is often calculated based on market prices. He argues that it is about the affordability of people's actual ability to pay, so it is less than 30% of the budget.

Like the RCLALQ, he hopes to establish a rental registry that would make the temptation to evict a resident less attractive.

For its part, the group is also committed to stricter control of rental terminations.

This means that owners who want to evict tenants must contact the housing court and are not allowed to send a notice of termination as before, explains spokesman Cédric Dussault.

The legal authority should also check a year later whether the owner has actually carried out renovation work or, for example, now lives in the unit.