Tenants are getting sick of the slew of evictions during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In a demonstration on Tuesday, Toronto eviction protests are physically blocking entry to the city’s courthouse in an attempt to stop evictions from being enforced. They have been holding the space since around 7 a.m. on August 18.
Renters and advocacy groups from all over the city took to the courthouse early this morning to block the sheriff's parking garage at 361 University Avenue.
According to Keep Your Rent Toronto, one of the organizing groups behind the demonstration, regular eviction enforcement was scheduled for today and Toronto officials generally carry out 8-15 evictions per day.
Keep Your Rent Toronto has been staging demonstrations all summer to protest evictions, some of which were even held on the doorstep of Mayor John Tory’s condo.
The group has recently taken aim at evictions executed after the provincial ban was lifted at the end of July, coupled with the caveat that tenants may have to pay back unpaid rent accumulated over the course of the pandemic.
The Toronto Star reports that over 6,000 applications to evict tenants over unpaid rental fees were processed by Landlord and Tenant Board between March 17 and July 19 2020.
HAPPENING NOW: Tenants have blockaded the sherrifs' parking garage at the 361 University Avenue courthouse to stop… https://t.co/gJtsQVtK8f— Keep Your Rent Toronto (@Keep Your Rent Toronto) 1597750884.0
Demonstrator Cole Webber told the Star that "the housing crisis in Toronto predates COVID and so tenants are taking this action on the basis that no tenant should be evicted during the pandemic.”
"There will be no evictions today," wrote the group People's Defence Toronto on Twitter.
Working class neighbourhoods have been hit the hardest by COVID-19 and the economic lockdown. Our communities will… https://t.co/ZYIkyKaPQH— East Scarborough Tenants Union (@East Scarborough Tenants Union) 1597756253.0
This kind of recent eviction enforcement has been in direct contrast to Doug Ford’s initial promise that Ontarians don't need to worry about eviction due to the inability to pay rent during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Ford began allowing evictions in early August.
BREAKING: Today, sherrifs resume regular eviction enforcements in #Toronto. Tenants are blocking the parking garage… https://t.co/vl3EVtTEdA— PeoplesDefenceTO (@PeoplesDefenceTO) 1597752099.0
Just last week, Keep Your Rent Toronto released a Toronto Eviction Tracker tool. This resource is meant to help tenants communicate, mobilize, and organize in the fight against being turfed out.
The tracker also allows future tenants to search for landlords that have been flagged in the system as having issued eviction notices in the past.
#BREAKING: #Toronto tenants block sheriffs from enforcing evictions at the courthouse at 361 University Ave. "Desp… https://t.co/vNpXCGRtJk— Parkdale Organize (@Parkdale Organize) 1597750872.0
If you're a tenant facing eviction and are looking for support, you can visit Keep Your Rent Toronto's website for more information on your rights.