The only tenant protections are in the title
On June 4, the Honourable Steve Clark, MPP for Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes and minister of municipal affairs and housing, in this space expounded on the merits of Bill 184. The Tories have dubbed it the “Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act.”
I would counter that this bill would be better called the “Faster Eviction Act.” Its marquis but by no means only feature is that it will accelerate evictions by allowing landlords to change the locks on their property the moment a tenant misses a payment on an arrears agreement.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health crisis, but it is also an economic crisis. Passing legislation that will lead to increased evictions during the crisis is despicable. Just last week we were faced with headlines that Ontario has lost over a million jobs since the pandemic began. And while Premier Ford announced a moratorium on evictions, he has provided no direct help for renters (or homeowners for that matter) and by extension small landlords who also need help.
If tenants can’t pay their rent, then small landlords can’t pay their bills, either. We are hearing from many of them that don’t know how much longer they can continue without support from the provincial government. This will hurt the community that counts on this as part of our housing supply. The minister would be better advised to design and implement a support system for both parties.