Ontario temporarily pauses residential evictions for length of emergency declaration
The move marks the 2nd time the province has paused evictions during COVID-19 pandemic
Ontario has temporarily paused residential evictions during its current state of emergency.
The province's municipal affairs minister says the pause will ensure people can stay safely in their residences while a stay-at-home order remains in place.
The order, which came into effect today, requires all Ontario residents to stay home as much as possible, only leaving for essential trips.
This is the second time the province has paused residential evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Landlord and Tenant Board will continue to hear eviction applications and issue orders, but the enforcement of eviction orders will be postponed, except in urgent situations — such as for illegal activity.
The government says if tenants can pay their rent, they should continue to do so, or pay as much as possible.
The province declared the state of emergency on Tuesday and said it will stay in place for at least 28 days.
Suze Morrison, the provincial NDP tenant rights critic, criticized Thursday's order saying it still leaves people vulnerable to evictions during the pandemic.
Morrison said the Ford government needs to institute a moratorium on all eviction notices, hearings and orders, as well as the suspension of eviction enforcement by the sheriff for the entire duration of the pandemic.
"Thousands of people in Ontario are at risk of being thrown out of their homes, through no fault of their own, after losing income this year because of COVID-19," said Morrison.
"Calling off the sheriffs at the eleventh hour from enforcing evictions that have already been ordered will not keep folks housed and safe."
The order also has "overly broad exceptions that will still allow eviction enforcement to continue under the new directive," Morrison said, and people have complained that virtual eviction hearings have been rife with procedural unfairness.
"Doug Ford has baked in loopholes you could drive a truck through, allowing any evictions to continue at the discretion of the Landlord and Tenant Board," she said.
With files from CBC News