Toronto City Council has voted to take the provincial government to court over Bill 184.
Both renters and activists have been trying to put a stop to the bill for months, saying it makes it easier for landlords to obtain evictions once the COVID-19 crisis eases.
Barry Marsh, from the Etobicoke chapter of ACORN Canada, said he’s glad the city is taking action.
“COVID has caused a lot of tenants (to lose) their jobs, so they’re strapped for money to pay their rent.”
The bill, also known as the Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act, allows the Landlord and Tenant Board to order up to 12 months’ rent in compensation for eviction notices issued in bad faith, or where the landlord does not allow the tenant to move back in after renovations or repairs.
The Ford government said the bill helps both tenants and landlords by making it easier to resolve rent disputes and protect tenants from unlawful evictions.
According to Marsh, that’s just not the case.
“It allows landlords more opportunities to evict tenants and it also doesn’t give the tenant a chance to present their case at the board,” he said.
The province’s moratorium on residential evictions is set to expire on Friday. There are currently more then 6,000 eviction applications awaiting approval at the Landlord and Tenant Board.
The motion to take the province’s bill to court was tabled by Coun. Gord Perks and passed by a vote of 22-2.
The motion directs the city solicitor to challenge amendments to the bill on the basis that they are contrary to rules of procedural fairness and natural justice.
Mayor John Tory supported the motion and said that while the legal action will likely be an uphill battle, they can’t win if they don’t try.
Marsh said he’s happy the city is challenging the provincial bill but that it’s just a short-term solution.
“In the long term, I think the city has to really aggressively go after the federal and provincial government to try and acquire lands that they own within the city and actually build homes,” he explained.
City council also voted Wednesday to explore building duplexes, low-rise walk-up apartments, and other affordable options in areas of the city currently dominated by single-family homes.
Advocates have also pushed for the mayor to impose an eviction moratorium of his own, but Tory said he doesn’t have the authority.