Evictions in Toronto: Governance Challenges and the Need for Intergovernmental Cooperation

October 13, 2021 by School of Cities Staff

"In Toronto, the combination of gentrification, rising rents, stagnating income, precarious employment, and a severe lack of affordable rental housing are structural factors contributing to the evictions problem."

Every Canadian province has its own defined residential eviction process. The impact of these policies, however, is faced by cities, in the form of increased houselessness, mass evictions increased burden on the shelter system and increasing housing instability.

In a timely research paper, 2020­–2021 IMFG Post-Doctoral Fellow Julie Mah maps various aspects of the residential eviction crisis in the City of Toronto over the course of the pandemic, while simultaneously charting the Landlord-Tenant Board of Ontario's eviction process and the impact of provincial legislation on the on-ground reality of eviction, especially given the limited capacity of the municipalities to prevent them. Julie goes on to share her observations and findings, and concludes the paper with the following observations/ recommendations:

  • Municipalities have limited authority to address the eviction crisis, given the lack of jurisdiction over residential tenancies.
  • Strong tenant protections can help stem evictions related to rent increases, renovations, conversions, and demolitions.
  • Legislative approaches by the provincial government to address systemic drivers of evictions, such as vacancy decontrol, can also aid in preventing evictions.
  • Municipalities can complement provincial legislation by using their jurisdiction over the development approvals and permitting system to address specific local challenges.
  • The jurisdiction to address the structural causes of the eviction problem lies at the provincial level, not the municipal.
  • Formalizing bilateral provincial-municipal relations would provide official avenues for regular meetings and collaborative governance and would enable timely data-sharing.

 

Read the paper here.

 

 

The IMFG Post-Doctoral Fellowship is funded by the School of Cities. Click here to learn more about fellowship opportunities at the SofC.