Province looks to freeze rent, extend ban on evictions

Premier Doug Ford (File photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News.)

The provincial government is taking steps to further protect Ontario’s tenants and small businesses heading into 2021.

Premier Doug Ford, along with Deputy Premier Christine Elliott and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark, announced on Thursday that the Ontario government has introduced new legislation that will freeze rent in 2021 for most rent-controlled and non-rent-controlled residential units.

The rent freeze will apply to most tenants living in rented houses, semis, basement apartments, condos, as well as care homes, mobile homes, and land lease communities.

“Our government wants to stabilize rents for Ontario’s 1.7 million rental households for 2021, because this year is not like any other year,” said Minister Clark in a news release. “We know that families are continuing to be impacted by COVID-19. We know landlords have worked hard to be accommodating and have made sacrifices. We know that by continuing to work together, we will move past this extraordinary time and get Ontario back on track.”

The Helping Tenants and Small Businesses Act also proposes to change the Commercial Tenancies Act to extend the temporary ban on evictions for commercial tenants. The ban on evictions will protect small businesses from being locked out or having their assets seized during the pandemic.

“From the very beginning of this pandemic, our government promised the families, workers and small business owners of this province that we would have their backs and provide them with the support they need to get back on their feet,” said Premier Ford in the release. “The crisis is far from over and the threat of a second wave is real, as are the challenges it will bring. That’s why we need to take the necessary steps now to help families keep a roof over their heads and small businesses keep their doors open.”