Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario Report Examines the Impacts of Shift to Online Hearings

A new report by the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO) examines how the move from in-person to online hearings is impacting low-income tenants across Ontario. “Digital Evictions: The Landlord and Tenant Board’s Experiment in Online Hearings” discusses the challenges and consequences for tenants who do not have access to reliable internet and phone services for their hearings. The report also indicates that the shift to online hearings may have disproportionate adverse impacts for rural and remote households, tenants whose first language is not English, people with mental health issues, and people who are illiterate or innumerate.

The ACTO report explores data from several sources, including surveys of digital hearings that were carried out across Ontario from March to May, 2021 and reveals several drawbacks to participation in a virtual hearing by video or phone. The report also highlights ACTO’s concern that the digital first approach to hearings will continue post pandemic. “Digital Evictions: The Landlord and Tenant Board’s Experiment in Online Hearings” is available on the ACTO website here:

Great ERSS Example!

The Halton Community Legal Services, with funding from the Legal Aid Ontario’s Fund to Strengthen Capacity of Legal Clinics, has developed the Legal Health Check-Up Project. This initiative focuses on being proactive rather than reactive to everyday legal problems. The “check-up”, which can be accessed here, helps those living in poverty get help they need to solve their problems before litigation becomes necessary. The clinic points out that many people do not easily identify their problems as legal ones and often do not get help, which sometimes leads to other problems.

This initiative is currently moving into a preliminary phase to collect data while actively providing services. A list of participating clinics can be found here.

Ab Currie, Senior Research Fellow at the CFCJ, has written a blog post about this initiative on the A2J Blog.