Ottawa: Midpoint Reflections on the Pandemic

Since March, several possibilities have opened up in this city for tenants to work together in our interests against landlords. While Herongate Tenant Coalition was formed in May 2018 by tenants across our neighbourhood in the south end of so-called Ottawa to defend against Timbercreek’s massive demoviction campaign, this pandemic has created another urgency; this time for working class people across the city to unite to proactively address our suffering under these specific conditions we share. Hence why the Keep Your Rent strategy rang so powerfully here as it did in other cities. Read More …

Keep Your Rent Hamilton – Reflections on May Day and Organizing in a Pandemic

The first of May is celebrated in most countries around the world—and by North American leftists—as May Day, or International Workers Day. For most working-class people in Hamilton, however, this year it had a more urgent significance. For the second time since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, rent was due.

Rent day can be a source of stress at the best of times. And these are far from the best of times. Over the past two months, millions of workers across Canada have been laid off or had their hours cut. Nearly one in five Canadians are now receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), a temporary federal income support that offers two thousand dollars a month in taxable income to those who have lost work as a result of the pandemic. For people in Ontario earning $48,535 or less per year, the payment works out to $1590 per month after taxes. It’s already been pointed out that this isn’t sufficient to cover the current market rent of a one-bedroom apartment in cities like Toronto and Vancouver. In Hamilton, the CERB will cover rent… barely. But beyond that, there’s not much room left over for luxuries such as food, medicine or other basic necessities. Shockingly, this hasn’t stopped landlords from staking their claim to their tenants’ cheques anyway. Read More …

Hamilton: Keep your CERB, keep your rent! No bailout for landlords

In the last week, tens of thousands of Hamiltonians have applied for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the government’s COVID-19 income support package which provides payments of $2,000/month for up to four months. In this post we look into the nuts and bolts of the CERB rollout and consider what the government hopes to accomplish by ladling out all this cash.

For working-class people in Hamilton, $2,000/month is a lot of money. And it comes at a time when people that did not pay rent on April 1st are feeling the pressure to find the money somewhere for their landlords. Recent surveys estimate that 30% of renter households across Canada and 25% of renter households in the Greater Toronto Area did not pay April rent. Sources in post. Read More …

Keep Your Rent Hamilton Banner Drop

“Words can’t communicate realities like the ones we’re currently experiencing. There can be no words to describe a condition which never existed before, which changes from one moment to the next and which has no known stages or outcomes.” – Yarostan Vochek

The only way Covid-19 is going to be a “great equalizer” is if we use this moment to conjure something entirely new. Alongside beautiful movements of prisoner solidarity and neighborhood mutual aid we are also seeing rent strikes pop up all over the world. And it warms our hearts! We are all so sick of landlords hoarding property while we scramble to find shelter. These smug goons really believe they’re making an “honest living” by sitting a rung above us on the pyramid scheme of capitalism. They genuinely seem to believe they deserve half our paychecks! Read More …

Keep your Rent, Help Each Other: Roundup of rent refusal and mutual aid organizing

Across Ontario, many tenants across the region will withhold rent from their landlord. Even though we are constantly told we are all in this together, the social impact of the virus will be hugely uneven and intensify existing inequalities. Whether tenants still have the means to pay this month or not, this movement shows solidarity with those who can’t and recognizes that few people can last long without the income Read More …

Hamilton: Statement on the Dissolution of HTSN

We are writing this brief message to formally announce the dissolution of the Hamilton Tenants Solidarity Network (HTSN). This is a decision that our members have reached collectively, and without acrimony. Although this announcement may come as a surprise to some of our supporters, we are looking forward to the opportunities that this change will open up, and the new directions that it will allow us to take with our work. When HTSN was first established, our goal was to organize a federated network of tenant committees across the city of Hamilton. To that rather ambitious end, we have met and worked with hundreds of tenants from dozens of buildings in neighbourhoods across this city. Over the intervening years, we have concluded that meaningful organizing is a long-term process that involves the fostering and development of relationships built on trust and rooted in shared struggle. We now understand that this is better accomplished through involvement in more localized neighbourhood initiatives, rather than a city-wide organization with a superficial scope and programme. Read More …

Toronto: Hannah Beats Eviction (Round One)!

Yesterday Hannah beat the eviction! The Landlord and Tenant Board dismissed the eviction because the landlord failed to pay compensation to the tenant before the eviction date.

At the hearing landlord Patrick Anderson was clearly shaken up and feeling the pressure from yesterday’s phone and email zap. We intend to escalate action against Anderson in the likely event he tries to evict Hannah again. Read More …

Squeezing Profits: Landlord and Tenant Board Grants Timbercreek 7.2 Percent Rent Increase

A couple dozen Ottawa residents braved the dipping temperatures and frigid downtown winds to rally at the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) on Albert Street on Nov. 13.

Tenants of Sunset Heights Apartments at 2880 Carling Avenue and their supporters with ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) were challenging an application filed by their landlord Timbercreek Asset Management. Timbercreek wanted an above guideline rent increase (commonly referred to as an AGI) of 5.4 percent above the provincially mandated 1.8 percent maximum. Read More …

Legal Aid Board Chair Serves Landlord Class

Last week Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) made front page news when it announced a major attack on Parkdale, cutting 45% of its funding to Parkdale Community Legal Services (PCLS). What wasn’t reported was LAO’s Board Chair Charles Harnick’s connections to Toronto real estate interests. We think they go a long way to explaining the decision to target PCLS.  Read More …