The facts appear to indicate that the Ford Government failed to protect small residential landlords during Covid-19, and as a result they are suffering financial losses due to lost rental income.
In response to the pandemic and the declared state of emergency the Province on March 25, 2020, launched “Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19”, which was a $17 billion emergency relief package to provide relief to families and certainty to businesses. This package did not include any consideration for residential landlords.
On or about March 26, 2020, Ontario Premier Doug Ford stated that Ontario tenants who do not pay rent will not be evicted. In addition, Premier Ford also told tenants that they did not have to pay rent if they could not afford it.
On or about April 11, 2020, and on or about October 2, 2020, Her Excellency the Governor General of Canada provided Royal Assent to subsequent Acts respecting certain measures in response to COVID-19 (Bill C-14), but neither of these Acts included any assistance for the small residential landlords.
The small residential landlords, and members of the Small Ownership Landlords of Ontario (SOLO) are frustrated with the broken Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) and the one-sided Ontario Residential Tenancies Act, 2006. The landlords feel that the Ontario Government has failed them. The landlords would rather not rent their units instead of having tenants live for free. Several landlords have confirmed that they will not be renting their units once they are able to evict their tenants for non-payment. This fact is very concerning considering that it could lead to a devasting housing crisis in Ontario.
The decreasing supply of rental units together with the increasing demand for rental units due to increased immigration over the next few years is going to create a worse housing crisis. It has been reported that Canada aims to welcome 401,000 new immigrants in 2021 and welcome even more newcomers over the next two years. The 2020 data confirms there was 284,387 immigrants coming to Canada of which approximately 50% came to Ontario. With the number of rental units declining and 200,000 immigrants coming to Ontario every year for the next few years where does the Ontario Government expect these people to live?
It has been reported that the Ontario Government did not spend any funds from a new $2.7 billion COVID-19 response program. If part of these funds were used to compensate the small residential landlords for rental losses due to the pandemic retroactive to March 16, 2020, then this would assist in resolving the imminent housing crisis as some rental units would remain in the rental market, which would help tenants and future tenants. In addition, if the landlords are compensated then this could result in reducing the backlog at the LTB, which would directly help landlords and tenants.
Candidate for Town Councillor Ward 5