Torontonians are standing together against evictions. On Tuesday, protestors gathered to Queens Park to speak out about the hardships that tenants are facing during COVID-19. The Keep Your Rent movement is working towards a permanent ban on evictions in Ontario during the pandemic.
In a press release, Keep Your Rent announced that they would be protesting due to the "threat of mass eviction" that is looming over the province due to COVID-19.
Although the Superior Court of Ontario temporarily put residential evictions on hold, tenants must pay landlords back for rent that they may have missed.
The organization argues that this creates thousands of dollars of growing debt that is unexpectedly piling up on people in the city.
“For tenants who have fallen behind, paying back rent will be a crushing debt sentence they may not recover from,” said organizer Bryan Doherty. “All while eviction, homelessness, and the risk of infection hangs over our heads.”
Although landlords are currently unable to begin an application process to remove a tenant from their unit, tensions are rising as apartment occupants remain struggling to pay at the first of the month.
From the back of the march to the Landlord and Tenant Board. #NoCovidEvictions https://t.co/C09IFEAt8C— Keep Your Rent Toronto (@Keep Your Rent Toronto) 1591729403.0
#KeepYourRent at Queen’s Park https://t.co/wAgK0ebY77— Toronto Communists (@Toronto Communists) 1591727955.0
“Despite the suspension of evictions, thousands of tenants have received threats from landlords to evict them once the courts reopen,” said Sam Nithiananthan of People’s Defence Toronto.
Now, protestors are calling on Doug Ford as well as the rest of Ontario's government to ban COVID-19 evictions.
As multiple protestors gather to the park, the organization ensures that social distancing measures will be followed.
Hamza and Zohra from Markham and Eglinton on rent strike and organzing neighbours against rent increases and landlo… https://t.co/UAttALxDrh— Keep Your Rent Toronto (@Keep Your Rent Toronto) 1591728381.0
Ran into @Dantenantagent at the demonstration outside Queen’s Park demanding NO COVID EVICTIONS ✊🏽✊🏽✊🏽 Powerful sp… https://t.co/7jJ4J7XWId— Caryma Sa'd - Lawyer (@Caryma Sa'd - Lawyer) 1591728267.0
Masks are mandatory, and social distancing will be maintained, according to a news release.
"Tenants will stand in a grid formation with two metres between attendees," it says.
Activists can be seen holding signs and sharing their experiences with rent in Toronto during COVID-19.
Awesome safe turnout for #KeepYourRent action in Queen’s Park. Crescent Town tenant telling us her landlord also ow… https://t.co/nf3xfIyhSa— Emily Paradis (@Emily Paradis) 1591728310.0
Proud to join the hundreds rallying right now at Queen’s Park to say #NoCovidEvictions! Powerful speeches, chants,… https://t.co/YWLUv4Pk1r— Jessica Bell (@Jessica Bell) 1591728577.0
"Keep Your Rent" signs started popping up in Toronto just before April 1, when the city had just entered lockdown.
The movement encouraged residents to not pay their rent and use the money to help provide for the "health and well-being of our families and communities."
In May, Keep Your Rent protestors also showed up outside of the mansions of their landlords to protest COVID-19 evictions.