TORONTO — NDP MPPs Suze Morrison (Toronto Centre) and Jessica Bell (University- Rosedale) are calling on all MPPs to pass their co-sponsored bill the No COVID Evictions Act on Wednesday. If passed, the bill would prohibit residential evictions until after the pandemic ends.
“Families all over the province are at risk of losing their homes, through no fault of their own, after losing income due to COVID-19,” said Morrison. “We are still very much in the middle of this pandemic, and it’s not safe to force people to find shelter, apartment hunt, crash with friends or family, or survive on the street while the virus is spreading in our communities. It’s putting people at risk of catching and spreading COVID-19.”
Wednesday morning, Morrison held a press conference at Queen's Park urging the Ford government to pass their bill to protect lives, help stop the spread of COVID-19 and give folks the help and hope needed to get through the pandemic.
In December 2020, Morrison’s motion to ban residential evictions during the pandemic passed with the unanimous consent of the legislature. The No COVID Evictions Act would enshrine that motion into law and ensure that tenants have time to rebuild their finances and catch up on arrears post-pandemic.
“The legislature unanimously agreed months ago that we need urgent action on evictions. But instead of taking action to help people, Doug Ford continues to refuse to protect tenants from evictions or offer desperately needed rent relief," Morrison said.
"Over 14,000 people have had their lives turned upside down and been evicted during this pandemic," Bell said. "By forcing people to look for a new home or risk homelessness, Doug Ford is needlessly contributing to the unsafe spread of COVID-19."
The NDP has highlighted the flaws in the Ford government’s temporary ban on the enforcement of evictions issued in January. Despite widespread complaints that virtual eviction hearings have been rife with procedural unfairness, the ban gave greater discretion to the Landlord and Tenant Board to expedite evictions. Last week, Doug Ford announced the ban would be lifted over the coming weeks.
Harmy Mendoza, Woman Abuse Council of Toronto Executive Director:
“As the pandemic continues, so too does the importance of keeping women safely and securely housed. Lifting Ontario’s evictions moratorium will create a pathway into homelessness and housing instability for women experiencing violence and women-led households. A ban on residential evictions must remain part of the provincial response to COVID-19."
Jennifer Stone, Executive Director, Neighbourhood Legal Services:
“As a front-line provider of legal services in our community, we see firsthand the impact that income loss has had on tenants. A sustainable solution including rent relief must be considered going forward, but as we face a possible third wave of Covid-19, tenants in Ontario need stability now. This proposed bill is an important step to allow people to shelter in place to reduce community spread. For now, we need to look out for each other more than ever and protect households from eviction.”
Rob Field, President, Graydon Hall Tenants' Association (GHTA):
"Ontario desperately needs relief and legislation that provides more than a temporary eviction ban, to address the financial impacts of COVID-19. Tenants who suffer severe income reduction due to loss of work hours or employment due to this pandemic should not be evicted just because they had to choose between paying rent or feeding themselves and their family."
Chiara Padovani, member of the York South-Weston Tenant Union:
"Every day we hear from tenants afraid of losing their homes in this pandemic. Our community is still in lockdown, CERB has run out, winter is here and evictions are on the rise. How can tenants stay home if they don't have one? That's why we support this bill and call on the province to immediately reinstate the eviction moratorium."