Toronto landlords can begin evicting tenants again next month and people are furious
The Ontario government implemented a ban on residential evictions across the province back in March, but that ban is soon set to expire and could lead to unprecedented mass evictions — especially in Toronto where many have struggled to stay afloat amid the pandemic.
On July 6, the Superior Court of Justice order that had suspended residential evictions was amended to specify that the suspension ends at the end of the month in which the state of emergency is terminated.
The emergency declaration is currently set to end on July 24, meaning landlords could begin evicting tenants as of Aug. 1.
Doug Ford promised tenants across Ontario that they'd be kept safe. HE LIED. Evictions are set to start again on Aug 1, while many people are still out of work or only just went back.— Dr. Jill Andrew (@JILLSLASTWORD) July 16, 2020
How they hell are they supposed be caught up on rent already?! #onpoli #bill184 #COVID19
In light of this, tenants and activists have been protesting and organizing for months in order to demand an extension of the eviction ban and further rent relief for struggling renters.
"The goal of the movement is to prevent the massive displacement of disproportionately low-income and racialized tenants that is set to occur once the eviction moratorium is lifted by the Ford government," Alykhan Pabani, a community organizer and tenant advocate, told blogTO back in June.
"If we do nothing, thousands will be cast into financial ruin, and in many cases, homelessness."
Tenants could start being evicted as soon as August 1st‼️— Toronto ACORN (@TorontoACORN) July 15, 2020
Join #Toronto ACORN members and allies for an action to demand 'No COVID Evictions'.
Tenants are stronger together, join us Wednesday July 22 at 1PM - Bay/College.https://t.co/cml1tOHKhq pic.twitter.com/US0MFxyUs8
And yet, as Aug. 1 fast approaches, the province remains steadfast on this issue.
NDP tenant rights critic Suze Morrison said in a statement today that she finds it alarming that Doug Ford is allowing the sheriff to enforce tenant evictions again come Aug. 1.
"The financial struggle that countless people are dealing with due to COVID-19 is far from over — so many have lost jobs and wages — yet the Ford government is preparing to allow tenants to be thrown out of their homes starting in a few weeks," Morrison said.
"For the vast majority of tenants, it's through no fault of their own if they're behind on rent. Ford must extend the ban on evictions, and actually enforce it. Otherwise, he's allowing people to be thrown into the street while we're still in a pandemic."
On top of the looming resumption of evictions, tenant advocates have also been outraged by Bill 184, which would allow the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) to issue eviction orders without a hearing.
Tenants have committed to collectively refusing #Bill184's implementation by organzing to stop evictions in our buildings and neighbourhoods in every corner of #Toronto.#NoCovidEvictions https://t.co/1asQEzBavH— Keep Your Rent Toronto (@KeepYourRent) July 14, 2020
"The original version of Bill 184 was a direct threat to tenants. The amendments approved in committee today go even further in their attacks," states a news release from tenant organization Parkdale Organize.
"The government's proposed changes would allow the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) to make quick eviction orders against tenants who were pressured into unmanageable rent repayment agreements by their landlords. The LTB could turn those private agreements into legally binding documents that enable fast-tracked evictions against tenants unable to fulfill them."
A petition calling on Ford to scrap the bill, which is currently in its third reading, has garnered 18,872 signatures to date, and Ontarians from all walks of life have called for it to be killed while labelling it the "Mass Eviction Bill."
I called @SteveClarkPC today to state clearly that I oppose @fordnation's mass evictions bill, Bill 184. Mass evictions will compound the homelessness crisis here in Toronto WHEN HE LITERALLY SAID HE WOULDN'T DO EXACTLY WHAT HE'S DOING. #ONpoli https://t.co/fg4QxHKQwE— rogue lentil (@morganblockhart) July 15, 2020
"This is nothing short of an attack on the health and safety of thousands of tenants and families across Ontario," notes Parkdale Organize's release.
"Any politician that votes in favour of this Mass Eviction Bill is part of that attack. The hardship it will unleash on tenants will be the responsibility of each MPP who chooses to prioritize full payment of rent to landlords over the lives and homes of tenants."
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