Braxton Murphy and Brendan Jowett
Neighbourhood Legal Services (NLS) recently represented 14 homeless individuals, as well as two public-interest organizations, in seeking an injunction to stop the City of Toronto from forcibly clearing homeless encampments during the pandemic. While we were unsuccessful in getting the injunction, the Court made important findings about the admissibility of two medical expert witnesses who gave evidence about the potential impacts of forcible displacement on encampment residents. Both doctors had a history of publicly advocating against the clearance of encampments and for the rights of the homeless generally.
Brendan Jowett, Staff Housing Lawyer
The Government of Ontario is ramming a bill through the legislature which will fast-track evictions, limit tenant rights at the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB), allow illegal rent increases, and turn the LTB into a debt dispute agency.
With tens of thousands of renters struggling or unable to pay the rent in the midst of a pandemic, tenants are looking for meaningful rent relief, stronger rent control, and protection from evictions. Bill 184, which passed second reading on May 27, 2020 with almost no advance notice, addresses none of these concerns. It is a Trojan horse which will hurt tenants in the long run.
By Jennifer Stone (Executive Director) & Brendan Jowett (Staff Housing Lawyer)
On May 15, 2020, we joined community members along Lakeshore Blvd. W., between Spadina and Bay St., where the City of Toronto had given residents notice that they intended to clear tents and belongings of homeless people camped under the Gardiner Expressway. It was rainy and cold.
The eviction notice originally said that the clearance would take place before 8am at Spadina and Lakeshore. A bit of cat-and-mouse took place instead. A community organizer at Lakeshore & Bay Street alerted us that in fact the frontloader/garbage trucks were there at 8am and set to clear another encampment. Those who had gathered at Spadina ran to Bay. You’ve perhaps seen the dramatic image of an elementary school teacher named Ana standing between a tent and bulldozer.
NLS joins other community organizations to urge all levels of government to address the overlapping housing, income security and opioid crises which are amplified by Covid19
Our Executive Director spoke with other community agency representatives from @StreetHealthTO, @TODropinNetwork, @SanctuaryTO at a press conference hosted by the Regent Park Community Health Centre on May 4th, to speak about the impact of #Covid19 on longstanding homeless, opioid and poverty crises. This was her statement:
The NLS Blog
Our blog shares information with our community on legal developments and other important issues. As such we hope you'll find this blog informative - and maybe even fun.