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Ontario Announces $1.4M for the LTB to “Improve Access to Justice”

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Things are looking up at Ontario’s Landlord and Tenant Board.

According to an announcement made today by the Attorney General’s office, the province will be infusing $1.4M into the LTB to help the adjudicative tribunal hire over 35 additional operational staff. With more staff, the hope is that the LTB will be able to improve scheduling and the client experience, issue decisions and orders faster, and catch up with its tremendous backlog.

The $1.4M is on top of a $19M investment the province committed to the LTB and the Ontario Land Tribunal in April. That investment, to be rolled out over the next three years, is also intended to help the LTB and OLT reduce longstanding backlogs and accelerate decisions.

“We’re investing millions of dollars to increase the number of adjudicators and staff at the Landlord and Tenant Board, so the board can work to alleviate its case load, which was impacted by COVID-related delays,” said Attorney General Doug Downey. “Residents and rental housing providers will get faster results, shorter wait times and a better overall experience when they need to engage the board.”

This is in line with a multi-year plan from the Attorney General, announced in summer of 2021. Per that plan, a $28.5M investment was put towards a new digital case management and dispute resolution system for Ontario’s tribunals. The Landlord and Tenant Board was the first to use Tribunals Ontario’s newly minted digital case management system.

“This timely investment is a tangible expression of the government’s support of the Landlord and Tenant Board and Tribunals Ontario,” said Sean Weir, Executive Chair of Tribunals Ontario. “These additional resources will provide welcome assistance in addressing the backlog of cases and challenges that resulted from COVID-related delays.”

The latest funding follows a slew of very bad press for the LTB. Following a five-month moratorium on eviction hearings from March to August 2020 — approximately 25,000 prospective hearing slots were lost during this period, according to a spokesperson for the LTB — the board has plunged into a debilitating case backlog, leaving landlords and tenants to wait upwards of eight months for a hearing.

In an interview from October, Jessica Bell, Member of Provincial Parliament for University—Rosedale, spoke to STOREYS about the conditions at the LTB. At that time, she pointed to more funding as the start of a solution.

“We have tenants and landlords alike waiting, in some cases, years for a hearing to resolve a dispute that is affecting their lives. Landlords who cannot make mortgage payments, tenants who do not have a working kitchen,” she says. “The Landlord and Tenant board should be a fast and fair tribunal for landlords and tenants alike. We have raised this issue in the media and we’ve raised this issue with the provincial Attorney General. Everyone should get their fair day at the tribunal. Ontario needs to increase funding so we do not have to wait years for our issue to be resolved.”

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