Can Floods Of Lawsuits Prevent Homeless Camp Bulldozing?

Moss Park, empty
Moss Park Toronto 2011 photo by marc falardeau is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Toronto's Moss Park, empty in 2011.

Casual notice of commentary on legal matters leads most Canadians to believe that the slightest American disagreements inevitably result in lawsuits, compared to our more occasional, sober and civilized(?) visits to the courts.

People experiencing homelessness in Toronto, however, would seem to be taking a leaf from their ‘sue-happy’ southern neighbours as they confront city attempts to engage in the same old harassment tactics for dealing with homeless encampments.1

Toronto continues its efforts to find accommodation to house people who are experiencing homelessness during the pandemic. Many people have moved indoors, including one who met a tragic end, despite repeated efforts. See this story in The Toronto Star: ‘Somebody got left behind’: The story behind a quiet death in a Toronto homeless camp

Under pressure from community neighbours to clear the parks, and frustrated by its difficulties in organizing accommodation, the City has been using its ultimate stick — a by-law to clear away encampments. People staying in one such encampment in Moss Park, supported by activists, are asserting their legal right to remain and have threatened to file suit against the City.

How successful will this tactic be? For the moment, the City has caved. The encampment will be allowed to stay. Read more in The Toronto Star: Toronto postpones evictions of homeless campers from Moss Park

Earlier stories on the same subject: Einstein’s Definition of Insanity: ‘Sweeping Away’ Homeless Again And Again

Footnotes

  1. Canada’s recent commitment to housing as a human right may have something to do with this. See: Just In Time For Canada Day