Housing advocates and politicians in Toronto are slamming the Ontario government following a report that the Tories are considering making it easier for landlords to evict tenants by making waiting periods for eviction notices shorter and letting private bailiffs remove tenants.
Internal documents showed that Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives are considering shortening “the waiting period for eviction orders from 11 days to six days” and allowing private bailiffs evict renters, the Toronto Star reported on Tuesday.
This comes amid a severe housing crisis in Toronto, where the vacancy rate has been hovering around 1 percent and rents for one and two-bedroom apartments are the highest in the country.
In an email to VICE, Julie O'Driscoll, spokesperson for the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, stressed that the material is "neither the current policy of the government nor proposed legislation at this time." The government plans to announce an action plan this spring to increase the supply of housing in the province, based on 2000 submissions from stakeholders.
Under current law, bailiffs have to be appointed by the government. But according to the discussion paper cited by the Star, the Ford government wants to “streamline the process” as part of effort to boost rental housing supply in the province.
Critics, however, say focusing on evictions is the wrong approach to solving the housing crisis.
In a statement, Ontario NDP Housing Critic Suze Morrison called it a “misplaced priority.”
“At a time when the rising cost of housing is making it harder for Ontario families to find a place they can afford, and keep a roof over their heads, Doug Ford’s Conservatives are focused on helping landlords toss tenants out on the street faster,” she said. “Putting evictions ahead of helping more families find and afford a decent place to live is a badly misplaced priority.
“Everyday Ontarians need more affordable places to live — not more crackdowns on renters,” the statement continued.
Toronto city councilor Mike Layton called the approach “dangerous.”
“Landlords already illegally evict tenants through renovictions & sleazy claims - all in the name of profit,” Layton wrote in a tweet. “Shame on Ontario Conservatives for helping them ruin people’s lives. And how does this possibly boost rental housing?”
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