TORONTO — The Ontario NDP's Housing and Tenant Rights critic Jessica Bell (University—Rosedale) held a virtual press conference Monday warning of the dangers of Doug Ford's decision to lift the evictions ban as of Monday.
"The pandemic is far from over, and thousands of people are struggling due to lost jobs and income that's in no way their fault," said Bell. "Premier Doug Ford’s decision to lift the eviction ban in the middle of a pandemic is unethical and unsafe."
Bell was joined by two Toronto residents threatened with eviction, and the co-chair of the downtown ACORN branch.
Lifting the ban on evictions will cause thousands of Ontarians to risk exposure to COVID-19 as they look for a new home, crash with friends, and potentially face homelessness.
"The people who have lost jobs during COVID-19 are disproportionately our frontline workers, the people who clean our homes, care for the elderly, sort and deliver packages, and serve the food we eat," said Bell, stressing that some of the evictions approved by the Landlord Tenant Board are illegal.
"Instead of helping people in need, the Ford Government is kicking them while they’re down and forcing some people to also lose their home. The evictions need to stop."
The Ontario NDP has been calling for a moratorium on evictions until after the pandemic, plus tougher protections against illegal evictions, and rent subsidies for households that have lost income due to COVID-19.
Pin Hsiao, Toronto resident threatened with eviction:
“During this pandemic, we lost two of our senior friends, and now we’re at risk of losing our home because of our landlord’s ongoing harassment and illegal eviction campaign. Everyone deserves to have a stable, dignified life. Instead, the system is failing those who work hard and it’s only protecting those who can invest in real estate.”
Alejandro Gonzalez Rendon, Co-Chair Downtown ACORN:
"Doug Ford is putting lives at risk, we have 400,000 families in Ontario who are behind on rent and at risk of eviction. Where will these families end up? We are so close to getting through this, but if the Premier does not ban evictions and provide rent relief to the families that are struggling then many people will not survive. We have a right to housing, and a right to live, ACORN calls on Premier Ford to stand up for the people."
Charles, Toronto resident facing eviction:
"My name is Charles. I have lived with my wife in this rental unit in Toronto since 2004. My landlord has tried to evict me in many ways. My landlord let me renovate my home because he wouldn’t do it, and then tried to evict me for damaging the house. But we didn’t damage it, we improved it, and we won when that went to a hearing. My landlord then said we had to leave because his relatives were moving in. He then said we had to leave because his daughter was moving in. Then my landlord said his son was moving in. At this Landlord Tenant Board hearing, the adjudicator agreed and sided with the landlord. We were served an eviction notice. We now have to move out by the end of March. We are temporarily moving into a condo owned by my friend. We are now paying nearly 50% more rent. It’s hard to find a place right now. These kinds of illegal evictions shouldn’t happen. And we shouldn’t be evicted during a pandemic."
Charles's last name is being withheld to protect his identity. Verification is available on request, not for publication.