While CERB and the eviction moratorium provided some relief for tenants, many tenants now face unaffordable rent arrears and repayment plans, putting significant stress on already tight budgets. As a result, more people will turn to food banks and are at an increased risk of eviction and homelessness.
Tell your MPP: Don’t let the COVID-19 health crisis make our housing crisis worse. Implement a rent relief or forgiveness program to assist tenants facing eviction!
Send a Virtual Postcard
You can send a “virtual postcard” to your MPP to let them know that rent relief is important to you with our easy-to-use tool below.
How to participate:
- Fill in your name, email address, and postal code. The tool will automatically find your MPP and their contact information based on your postal code, and will fill in your information in the template email.
- Customize the email with your own reasons as to why Ontario needs rent relief and how it would impact your household or people you know. You can use our key talking points below!
Click “Add Your Voice” — that’s it!
Why Rent Relief?
Rent relief is a significant priority for food banks.
While the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, additional financial supports provided by the government, and Ontario’s eviction ban helped to “flatten the curve” of food bank use during the beginning of the pandemic, most of these supports have either changed or ended. Tenants now face unsustainable rent arrears that accumulated over the pandemic that they must now repay, which puts significant stress on already-tight budgets.
Renters and social housing tenants make up 90% of Ontario’s food bank clientele:
- A survey conducted by Feed Ontario in September 2020 showed 1 in 2 food bank clients across Ontario were worried about facing eviction or defaulting on their mortgage in the next 2-6 months
- A survey conducted by the Daily Bread Food Bank (Toronto) in May 2020 showed 20% of tenants had stopped paying or were paying less in rent and/or utilities, and 34% reported that they would be unable to pay rent in 4-6 months
- CMHC research shows that 10.8% of Ontario apartment units are in rent arrears, the highest rate in Canada
- The average amount owed by renters in arrears is more than $10,000
- The Landlord Tenant Board processed almost 12,000 eviction hearings in November and December alone
- If this housing crisis is not addressed, food banks expect a huge increase in demand for their services, as well as increased risk of evictions and homelessness.
Recommendations for Change
Feed Ontario and its network of food banks recommends the Government of Ontario immediately implement a rent relief or forgiveness program to assist tenants facing eviction.
In addition, Feed Ontario recommends the Government of Ontario:
- Provide all social assistance recipients with the COVID-19 top-up for at least 6 months after the economy has fully re-opened
- Overhaul Ontario’s social assistance programs so they function as an accessible and efficient means to help Ontarians move out of poverty
- Invest in a strong workforce and employment opportunities that benefit the people with changes to labour laws, including the reinstatement of paid sick days and an increase to minimum wage