Dear Neighbour,

I hope you are keeping well, practising physical distancing, and washing your hands regularly.

Below you will find a summary of recent announcements.

I want to focus today on your top concern – rent relief. COVID-19 is a public health crisis and an economic crisis. As April 1st draws closer, more and more people are anxious about rent and mortgage payments. Many have little or no wiggle room. Help is needed in the next few days, not the next few weeks. Hundreds of you have written to me to advocate for protections for tenants and small businesses in our community.

The provincial government’s financial statement offered little for tenants and small businesses. Deferring bills doesn’t help – it racks up debt and pushes the issue of shutdowns/evictions down the road.

Together with my colleagues, I have called for three key measures for tenants and small businesses to be implemented immediately: 
  1. Ban on evictions and utility disconnections 
  2. Freeze on rent increases for six months
  3. 80% rent subsidy (up to $2500/month)
We have also officially called on the federal government to place a moratorium on foreclosures as it is under federal jurisdiction.

I have included the backgrounder to the proposal to Premier Ford below.

Wash your hands. Stay home (unless you must work). Be kind. We are all in this together.
Bhutila Karpoche,
MPP for Parkdale—High Park
Summary of recent announcements
Limiting gatherings
  • A new emergency order has been issued to prohibit organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people, effective immediately.
  • This order would not apply to private households with five people or more. 
  • It would also not apply to operating child care centres supporting frontline health care workers and first responders provided the number of persons at each centre does not exceed 50 people.
  • Funerals would be permitted to proceed with up to 10 people at one time.
 Self-isolation for seniors 
  • Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health is strongly recommending that individuals over 70 years of age self-isolate. 
  • This means only leaving home or seeing other people for essential reasons. Where possible, you should seek services over the phone or internet or ask for help from friends, family or neighbours with essential errands. 
  • This also applies to individuals who have compromised immune systems and/or underlying medical conditions.
 Construction sites
  • A new guidance regarding health and safety on construction sites has been issued for employers to protect construction workers.
  • Employers are required to provide better on-site sanitation, to enable greater distances between workers by staggering shifts, restricting site numbers and limiting elevator usage and protect public health by tracking and monitoring workers etc. 
  • If health and safety concerns are not resolved internally, a worker can seek enforcement by filing a complaint with the Health and Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008.
 Price gouging
  • An emergency order has been issued to combat price gouging on the ‘necessary goods’ during COVID-19. 
  • Effective immediately, retail businesses and individuals in Ontario cannot charge unfair prices for necessary goods or they will face penalties. 
  • Full details on what is considered a ‘necessary good’ and the new penalties can be found here. You can file a complaint at 1-800-889-9768 or online.
Background on our proposal to protect tenants and small businesses
Ban on evictions or disconnections
  • A legislated provincial moratorium on evictions, lockouts or disconnections of tenants for the next four months, backed by law.
  • The legislation should include commercial leases for small and medium-sized businesses.
  • Legislation to make it illegal for any landlord to attempt or to threaten tenants with eviction or utility shut-off.
    • This would be achieved through legislation or amendments to the Residential Tenancies and Commercial Tenancies Acts. Penalties under the Act are currently punished by a fine of $25,000. 
  • Call for a federal moratorium on mortgage foreclosures. 

80 per cent rent subsidy
  • A provincially-funded rent subsidy of 80 per cent of a household’s rent, up to $2,500 a month, for each of the next four months, for anyone qualifying for the federal emergency benefit. The money would be paid to the tenant.
  • The same should be payable to small and medium-sized businesses to defray lease costs.

Six-month freeze on rent increases
  • A six-month freeze on rental rates until, at least, September 2020.
    • This could be achieved by a regulatory change.

Cost of proposal
  • The cost to the province is estimated to be between $2.4 billion and $3 billion.
Reminder: For the most up-to-date information and contact information for Toronto Public Health, Ontario Ministry of Health, and the Public Health Agency of Canada please visit my website here.
Community Office

While our office will be closing to the public as part of our efforts to manage the COVID-19 virus, we will continue to provide services for constituents via phone and email. Thank you for your patience and flexibility during this time. 

Phone: 416-763-5630

Copyright © 2019 MPP Bhutila Karpoche, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
2849 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M6P 1Y6

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