Ontario senior puts truck up for sale, leaves rental home over hydro costs
Nick Wells, CTVNews.ca
Published Tuesday, February 21, 2017 9:39PM EST
An Ottawa-area senior says unaffordable hydro bills have forced him to leave his rental home and put his truck up for sale, a scenario opposition MPPs say is becoming more common.
Rick Russell, 68, erected a sign on his Brockville rental home that reads 'Another senior loses home due to high energy costs' as a warning to other seniors.
"It's the same situation many seniors have. They are losing their home because they can't pay their utility bills," he told CTV Ottawa.
Russell, who worked as a painter before retirement, says he's fallen so far behind on payments that he needed to make a drastic decision.
"I either have a house with no heat, or heat with no house," he said.
He admits that a meagre pension, combining the Canada Pension Plan and the Old Age Security, hasn't given him the financial security he thought it would.
Steve Clark, the Conservative MPP for Leeds-Grenville which encompasses Brockville, says Russell's story is common.
"Energy poverty is real," he said. "People are choosing between heating their homes and eating and the government has to do something."
Brockville's mayor says it's an issue plaguing his city.
"Declining income and rising costs, whether it's hydro or rent or tax or everything else, we have a lot more people who are going to be living alone," said Mayor David Henderson.
Ontario's legislative assembly resumed sitting Tuesday, with a focus on hydro costs.
With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Joanne Schnurr