Airbnb is heightening its security measures in Canada following a deadly shooting in downtown Toronto last week that left three people dead and two others injured.
Chris Lehane, Airbnb's head of global policy and communications, travelled from San Francisco to announce the new platform security measures at a press conference in Toronto, which included a new partnership with the Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns, a grassroots initiative concerned about the increasing public health impact of firearms.
As part of the new partnership, Airbnb will provide $300,000 CAD over three years for initiatives focused on raising awareness about protection from guns and keeping communities safe.
“Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns are vocal and active advocates on this issue and see first-hand the human toll that gun violence takes on patients, their families and their communities,” said Lehane.
“We are committed to contributing positively to our communities, and that is why we are continuing to form new partnerships and update our security measures.”
As part of the new measures, the rental platform will also begin piloting measures designed to prevent Canadian guests under the age of 25 from booking local "entire-home" listings in Canada, with the goal of reducing incidents of unauthorized parties.
However, Canadian guests of all ages will still be able to book hosted listings (private rooms within a host’s primary residence) and hotel rooms through Airbnb, and Canadian guests under the age of 25 who meet certain criteria, including having an established track record of positive reviews on Airbnb will still be eligible to book local entire home listings.
According to the rental platform, the new Canadian pilot — which relies on Airbnb’s user verification systems and user-provided information—is informed by Airbnb’s analysis of internal information, and the San Francisco-based company says it will continue to implement additional security measures to further strengthen the platform in Canada and around the world.
Additionally, Lehane announced the platform is also implementing a 24/7 neighbourhood support telephone hotline in Canada, which will provide neighbours with an immediate and easy-to-access way to flag concerns to specialized Airbnb rapid response agents.
The neighbourhood support hotline will go live this coming Monday, February 10 and the phone number will be available at airbnb.ca/neighbours. The line will be available nationwide in English, with French language support forthcoming later in 2020.
The new security measures are part of the company's ongoing safety efforts, which include a global ban on party houses and enhanced tools to stop unauthorized parties.
Since Airbnb announced its party house ban in November, the company has already suspended listings in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Edmonton among other cities.