Wed. Aug 10th, 2022

Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.

Right now, there is a patchwork of rules for room spaces in Toronto that make them illegal in some parts of the city and legal elsewhere.

“This problem never goes away because people need a place to live. [Illegal rooming houses] will continue to address it, “said Geordie Dent, executive director of the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations.

Although a room house within the boundaries of the city of Toronto prior to amalgamation may be licensed and legal, required to undergo inspections and have a fire safety plan, the same type of building in North York or Scarborough is illegal and operates outside the city view.

The new regulatory framework would have created a new statute for more tenants that applies to the whole of Toronto. Instead, city staff will spend the next year conducting more consultations and research on the rules before reporting back to council.

“I do not know when councilors will be willing to address this. I hope it is soon. The only question is how many people will live in disarray and how many bodies are accumulating,” he said. Dent to CBC Toronto.

‘No other tenant faces that kind of risk’

Previous estimates have linked the number of licensed bedroom homes in Toronto to 350, while staff say it is difficult to estimate the number of illegal homes in operation.

According to the city, there were 14 fire-related deaths in unlicensed space houses between 2010 and 2020.

The potential for illegal evictions is also always present, Coun says. Gord Perks, who represents Division 4, Parkdale-High Park and has spent decades fighting for city-wide legalization.

“I’ve heard stories of people coming home and being told, ‘You have to pick up your stuff and put it on the curb right now, you no longer live here.’ No other tenant faces that kind of risk, ”he said.

Coun. Gord Perks has been through decades of discussions, consultations and voices about what to do about the city’s varying room rules. (Lauren Pelley / CBC)

Regini David is in regular contact with illegal tenants in Scarborough in her capacity as outreach and law reform coordinator at West Scarborough Community Legal Services.

She says tenants are often afraid to talk about necessary repairs or other issues for fear of having their bedroom house shut down.

“We hear that people want their homes to be legalized, they want their homes to be safe and protected. They want to be treated equally,” she said in an interview with CBC Toronto.

David, who lived in a one-room house when she first moved to Canada and has spent more than a decade defending them, says a room in a shared house is often the only option for Scarborough residents who are “on social assistance” … who have a disability, [or who are] students and new immigrants. “

Rumble about lawsuits

The decision to postpone a vote on legalization has also raised the specter of possible lawsuits against the city over its current incomplete – and some say discriminatory – rules.

At this week’s council meeting, Perks said, the city’s attorney said the risk Toronto is running by receiving a human rights complaint by keeping its legislative patchwork in place for another year.

Although technically illegal, Scarborough has a number of bedroom houses in operation. The home pictured here was identified as an illegal bedroom house by the city back in 2016. (CBC)

“The people who live in room houses often belong to groups that are discriminated against. The Human Rights Act says that one cannot say that racialized people or the disabled or the poor cannot live in your neighborhood,” he said.

Perks says he has heard a number of organizations talk about putting together a case, but that it “is not an easy thing to do” and is both expensive and potentially risky for the tenants involved in premises.

Sean Galbraith, an urban planner, was one of many voices expressing bitter disappointment in the wake of the council’s postponement this week, which he described as “cowardice”.

“I absolutely believe that the city should be sued for its discrimination against apartment buildings in Toronto. It is definitely for me a human rights issue that people should have access to safe and affordable housing,” he said.

“I hope the city is sued and I hope the city loses.”

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