There’s going to be a different kind of bed bug summit on Wednesday, in Toronto, according to this article in yesterday’s Star:
The brainchild of Liberal MPP Mike Colle, the summit will be held not at a hotel but at a government room in the Hepburn Block of Queen’s Park.
The summit, which was open to the public but due to space limitations will be filled with people who have already reserved seats, will include presentations from city of Toronto staff, health officials, community groups, entomologists, pest control experts and landlord and tenant groups.
Colle (Eglinton-Lawrence) introduced a private member’s bill this summer that would require landlords to provide prospective tenants with a “bedbug information report” prior to signing a lease. NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo (Parkdale-High Park) has also introduced a bedbug bill that proposes landlords be licensed, and that they not be renewed if bedbugs are in their units.
However, Colle says he has since realized this is about more than tenants and landlords.
“This is something that is ruining people’s lives and the technicalities of it, whether it’s an infectious disease or not, is not relevant to people who can’t sleep, work and are stressed out beyond belief by these things, and it hits their pocket book,” said Colle.
New York now has a similar bed bug disclosure law that applies to landlords in New York City. Toronto residents might want to read Joe Fiorito’s comments on Colle’s proposed bill, especially the suggestion that you contact your MPP and urge him/her to support Colle’s bill.
The Star notes that Colle wants other kinds of action too:
Colle hopes the gathering this week will generate political will to tackle a problem, which may not be considered a public health crisis, but is a growing concern. Colle wants to generate a list of 10 things that should be done, including a public education campaign and a study of bedbugs to determine where they are, and where they are not and why.
Let’s hope this energy is sustained and multiplied. I look forward to hearing about the Toronto bed bug summit this week.