Beginning today, August 4th, Ontario's Landlord and Tenant Board is set to begin processing thousands of eviction applications, following the lifting of a provincial moratorium on evictions.

This follows months of pressure from tenant advocacy groups trying to extend the ban on evictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and just days after Toronto City Council voted in favour to legally challenge Bill 184, the provincial government’s contentious law that advocates say will make it easier to evict residents after the pandemic ends.

READ: Toronto City Council Votes to Challenge Ford’s Controversial Bill 184

"The levels of homelessness that will result from the impending mass evictions, to start as soon as August 4, will likely be unprecedented," said Cole Webber, a legal worker with Parkdale Community Legal Services.

According to Webber, tens of thousands of Ontarians living in renter households face the threat of eviction because they’ve been unable to pay their rent in full during the pandemic. Through the months of the shutdown alone, landlords applied to the provincial Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) to evict more than 6,000 tenant households. Landlords have also issued eviction notices to thousands more tenants who they have not yet filed to evict.

The province ended its moratorium on residential evictions in late July — after it lifted its state of emergency. This means that the pandemic eviction ban would lift at the end of the calendar month. However, since August 1 — which also happened to be rent day — fell on the long weekend, the board will begin working through its backlog of pending eviction orders on Tuesday.

According to ACORN Canada, it's estimated that between 7-9% of tenants in Ontario weren’t able to pay rent during the pandemic. What's more, low and moderate-income renters were already in the grip of a serious housing crisis in Ontario before the pandemic. And now, Bill 184 makes evictions easier by allowing tenants to be evicted with no hearing if they sign repayment agreements.