Rooming house tenants, residing at 295 Jarvis Street, are facing pressure to move out of their homes.
While the City of Toronto staff and I are not aware of any formal eviction notices having been filed, there is an ongoing dispute regarding the tenants' right to protection under the Residential Tenancies Act.
This issue will ultimately be decided in March by the Province of Ontario, via the Landlord Tenant Board.
The notion that rooming house tenants may not have equal protections under provincial law has far-reaching implications in terms of preserving this deeply affordable housing form for our city's most vulnerable residents.
295 Jarvis St. is the subject of a development application, put forward by Minto Group. At the community consultation for the proposal held in May 2019, I made clear my vigorous opposition to the development, and asked Minto to build affordable housing, or walk away.
In June 2019, City Council passed Policies to Address the Loss of Dwelling Rooms. These policies - if approved by the Province - ensure that when faced with development, rooming house tenants are provided rental replacement and compensation protections, similar to for apt dwellers.
Minto's development application is under review by City Planning. It has NOT been approved by City. Minto is now appealing the City's new policies at the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.
If Minto win their appeal, it will be a signal to developers that they can evict rooming house tenants, without consequence, and replace our most deeply affordable housing with luxury condos.
I unequivocally stand behind the City's legal team, as they fight to preserve the City's policies and protect vulnerable tenants.
A resident of 295 Jarvis is also seeking to formally participate in the appeal process. I support their fight and my sincere hope is that the Tribunal will ultimately favour the human right to affordable housing, over profit for a wealthy developer.