(This story originally appeared in July at www.hamiltonjustice.ca)
This looks like a classic case of government responding to an interest group at the expense of the broader public interest.
We are talking about the consultation paper recently put out by the provincial government. The paper is called Consultation Paper on Proposals to Encourage Small Landlords to Provide Rental Housing.
This paper purports to be looking for input to improve the Ontario Government’s Long Term Affordable Housing Strategy (LTAHS).
The government has floated a bunch of ideas. They claim these changes would help small landlords create more housing and address barriers that these potential affordable housing creators face.
Unfortunately, these ideas, if implemented, would “contribute to further homelessness and erode hard-won tenant protections.”
That is the opinion expressed by the Advocacy Centre for Tenants of Ontario (ACTO.) ACTO is a legal clinic which works to better the housing situation of Ontario residents who have low incomes including tenants, co-op members and people who are homeless. ACTO put together a forceful submission to the Ministry of Housing. A few examples of the kind of ideas floated in the paper and ACTO’s responses follows.
Require tenants to disclose any issues that they intend to raise at rental eviction hearings prior to the hearing.
This proposal would bring back procedural barriers to justice for tenants.
Allow landlords and tenants to file the unsworn statements in support of applications and motions, rather than affidavits.
Clearly the impetus for this proposal is a desire to expedite landlords’ eviction applications.
Explore whether any changes should be made to the process for appealing decisions of the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) to Divisional Court.
Based on the widely–reported actions of a few criminals, landlord organizations are attempting to limit the effectiveness of the Superior Court’s supervision of the LTB by making it even more difficult than it already is for tenants to exercise these important and rarely-used appeal rights.
So, you’ll get the idea from these brief excerpts that the government’s proposals will be of no help to tenants. And one other thing we should mention is this. By and large the proposed changes would apply to most tenants not just those renting from small landlords.
You can read ACTO’s full submission at https://1drv.ms/b/s!AvRzOEPfSVfDk3a5u5WgjoU8Rgff