Released February 20, 2006
Ontario has set another dubious record. More tenants face losing their homes than ever before.
There were 29,090 eviction applications in Toronto in 2005, an increase of 10.7% over the previous year, and the highest number since the imposition of the Tenant Protection Act in 1998. For all of Ontario, there were a record 64,864 cases, an increase of 8.7%.
The figures also show that more than half of the tenants were evicted without a hearing at the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal.
The biggest increase was in the Scarborough office of the Tribunal with a 14.1% increase.
"These numbers are outrageous and distressing," said Marcia Barry of the Federation of Metro Tenants Associations. "The Ontario Government needs to reform the Tenant Protection Act, improve the Tribunal, and deal with inadequate incomes of tenants by raising the minimum wage and providing decent support to people on social assistance."
"Rents are far too high and the McGuinty Government needs to bring in real protection for tenants at all times, as they promised us during the 2003 election," added Dan McIntyre, Program Co-Ordinator for the FMTA.
"And these figures do not tell the whole story" added Elinor Mahoney of the Tenant Advocacy Group. "There are many more evictions that happen without a Tribunal Order. Some tenants just leave when the landlord tells them to, or are victimized by unfair settlements that are mediated at the Tribunal".
These facts are in stark contrast to the message that all is well and good for tenants in Ontario. Tenants are still facing annual rent increases, many for well above the annual rent guideline, and they are being evicted in record numbers. A higher vacancy rate means nothing to sitting tenants trying to cope with unfair high rents. Many of those tenants are living in slum-like conditions as recently illustrated by the Parkdale Tenants Association.
The McGuinty Government promised to replace the Tenant Protection Act by the end of 2004. For some of the over 60,000 households in Ontario who faced eviction in 2005, that unkept promise may have cost them their homes.