QUEEN’S PARK – In the legislature Monday, MPP Bhutila Karpoche (Parkdale–High Park) called on the Ford Conservatives to stop processing evictions during the pandemic and ensure virtual Landlord Tenant Board hearings don't become permanent.
Despite the provincial stay-at-home order, the Landlord and Tenant Board is processing hundreds of evictions each week via online hearings, which housing advocacy groups have said unfairly disadvantages tenants. There is also growing concern the Ford government is planning to make these online hearings permanent.
“Having witnessed virtual hearings at the Landlord and Tenant Board, I can say they don't work," said Karpoche. “There are so many technical issues - tenants get disconnected while giving their testimonies, and some are unable to reconnect to get back into the hearing. The entire experience is confusing; multiple hearings are scheduled at the same time, and there are frequent interruptions.”
Karpoche cited the example of her constituents Theresa De Mesa, a senior, and her son Anthony, who lives with a disability. Despite having paid their rent reliably for 30 years, their landlord Nuspor Investments is trying to evict them during the pandemic related to issues of cleanliness.
"Tenants like Theresa and Anthony are being forced out of their home during a pandemic and through unfair online hearings,” said Karpoche. “Why is the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs allowing it to happen?”
Karpoche called on the Ford government to provide rent relief for tenants and stop COVID evictions.