TORONTO – An Ontario tenant advocacy group says it has filed a human rights complaint arguing the provincial landlord and tenant board Switch to a “digital first” strategy focused on virtual hearings during the pandemic that discriminates against vulnerable renters.
Advocacy Center for Tenants Ontario says that the complaint was filed Ontario Human Rights Tribunal on behalf of a 77 year old woman in north bay, Ont. Who alleged that the board rejected his application after experiencing problems with the new, digital system.
The organization says Lorraine Peever lives alone in subsidized housing, doesn’t have a computer or cellphone, and has attempted to attend her hearings with the board, mainly via landline. It added that the board did not respond to Peever’s request for an in-person hearing.
The advocacy group says it also plans to file several more applications on behalf of other tenants whose rights were violated because of the change.
Tribunal Ontario, which includes the Landlord and Tenant Board, adopted a range of digital tools such as virtual hearings and online document filing in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The tribunals moved to a new digital case-management system late last year to try to tackle the delays and case backlogs caused by the pandemic.
A spokesman for Tribunal Ontario confirmed that the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario had received an application from the advocacy group, but declined to comment further, citing judicial process.
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