October 6, 2020
TORONTO - Tenant advocates and progressive politicians have been engaged in battle with the Ford Government over its perceived inaction on the COVID-related housing crisis, specifically the lifting of the rent moratorium and the passing of Bill 184. The fear is the “looming wave of mass evictions”, the likes of which has already begun.
Yesterday, on International Tenants Day, Suze Morrison, MPP for Toronto-Centre, attacked the Ford Government for inaction towards the ongoing evictions and displacements in Toronto.
Today is International Tenants Day, a day to highlight the challenges facing tenants around the world.— Suze Morrison (@SuzeMorrison) October 5, 2020
Everyone deserves a place to call home. It’s time the provincial government took action to make that a reality.
Watch my statement 👇 pic.twitter.com/WsSsUGC2wU
Suze Morrison is not alone in making these claims. Tenant advocacy groups, which exist to help tenants organize and strategically fight landlords, are driving the same point. One of these groups, Parkdale Organize, has been involved with 2 successful rent strikes in Toronto, and has a history of successfully advocating for vulnerable tenants. In addition to more help from the Province, Parkdale Organize wants the City to declare a state of emergency.
Parkdale Organize and affiliated organization People’s Defence Toronto, declared metaphorical war on landlords and Mayor Tory during the Summer of 2020. This was characterized by multiple protests against the Mayor, including 2 protests at the Mayor’s Condo off of Bloor Street. A third protest was planned, but appears to have been called off at the last minute.
Protesters are currently flooding Toronto mayor John Tory’s condo.— LΞIGH (@LeighStewy) July 7, 2020
Some, climbing up to his unit to try and get in pic.twitter.com/Mg9Am7Yhyj
Increasing concerns for tenants is the fact a woman was removed from her home on Sunday by Toronto Police. According to some, that woman is now without a home. The video of the incident has made waves amongst Toronto housing advocates, and has even drawn attention from local politicians.
Local politicians have shown support for Parkdale’s initiatives, but some critics say the City, specifically, is not doing enough. Parkdale Organize has protested to demand Mayor John use his emergency powers to end evictions. The Mayor has refused to adhere to that request. Mike Layton, a city councillor, has cited advice of the city lawyer as the reason for not taking this approach.
Despite assurances from local government officials, Keep Your Rent, a group affiliated with Parkdale Organize, states that “all members of government refuse to act”. Hence, tenant advocate groups have been forming barricades, and have even threatened to stand between the sheriff and tenants facing eviction.