bill 184 ontario

People in Ontario are trying to stop Bill 184 from making evictions easier

Though he was quick to put a moratorium on residential evictions in the midst of the health crisis, Ontario Premier Doug Ford is now seeking to pass a piece of legislation that will negatively impact renters in the province.

Bill 184, called the Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act 2020, has been the talk of residential renters this week, with many worrying about what its proposed changes to the Residential Tenancies Act will mean for them if it successfully passes.

Though the legislation does provide some benefits for tenants — like the fact that a landlord would have to give compensation or an alternative living situation if they terminate a lease to move in themselves — it also has aspects that are bad news for renters already trying to cope with a notoriously pricey rental market (along with, you know, a global pandemic).

Despite its name, the bill would change how and even if tenants can defend themselves in an eviction hearing, would amend the rule requiring landlords to give 90 days' notice before a rent increase, and would see the immediate eviction of renters who miss one installation of a rent arrears repayment plan.

It's not the only time in recent memory that the premier and his team have brought forward a movement that would make life tougher for renters.

And many, including leaders of other parties, have pointed out that along with the issues in the legislation itself, the middle of a health crisis and economic recession is not the most sensible time to be passing new laws regarding evictions.

"COVID-19 is the worst health crisis we have experienced in over 100 years, yet today Doug Ford moved forward with Bill 184, which will make it easier for landlords to illegally raise rent and easier for them to evict us," University-Rosedale MPP Jessica Bell said in a video on the subject that she posted to social media on Thursday.

"This is is going to make corporate landlords even richer, and it's going to make life even more expensive for renters in our city. We need real protections from evictions so that those of us who can't afford to pay rent during the pandemic get to keep our homes."

The proposed bill also comes at a time when the province's Landlord and Tenant Board is experiencing massive backlogs and delays due to fewer adjudicators and other internal issues.

And, pre-existing landlord-tenant tensions in cities like Toronto add another layer of concern, especially with the financial precarity that COVID-19 is causing for everyone.

The piece of legislature passed through its second reading at Queen's Park on Wednesday, leaving one final pass to go through before it becomes law.

Hopefully the opposition from the NDP, Green Party, grassroots organizations and members of the public will mean that the timing and nature of the bill is reconsidered before that happens.

Lead photo by

Brady Baker

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