Mayor John Tory
City Councillor Gord Perks
Mary-Anne Bedard, General Manager of Shelter, Support & Housing Administration
Janie Romoff, General Manager of Parks, Forestry and Recreation Department
Dear Mayor Tory, Councillor Perks, Mary-Anne Bedard, and Janie Romoff:
Re: City of Toronto’s Encampment Evictions
Parkdale Community Legal Services staff and Board is made up of lawyers, community legal workers, administrative staff, law students, professors, and Parkdale community members. Here at PCLS, we work to support low-income people with poverty law issues regarding housing, workers’ rights, immigration, and social assistance, violence and health. We stand in solidarity with the Encampment Support Network to demand the City of Toronto stop evictions of encampments in Parkdale and the city.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put an increased strain on our housing division, where the staff of lawyers, community legal workers, and law students are working daily to support Parkdale tenants facing mass evictions and harassment by landlords at the Landlord and Tenant Board. This eviction blitz will only result in more need for encampment space, given the full shelter system and lack of safe living options provided by the City. For many people, encampments are the safest option to be able to live and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
We know that encampments are the result of housing policy failures that systemically target Indigenous, Black, racialized, and working class people. We urge the City of Toronto to impose a moratorium on encampment evictions, provide encampment residents with basic survival gear and access to sanitation, and stop threatening Khaleel Seivwright with legal action for creating Tiny Shelters for residents. The resources spent on clearing encampments and legal action can be redirected to provide support for affordable housing and anti-gentrification policies.
Parkdale Community Legal Services
Board of Directors and Staff