As pandemic-era eviction bans have expired in jurisdictions all around the world, tenants who have been unable to pay rent during a time of crisis are getting evicted en-masse.
The B.C. government allowed evictions to resume back in September 2020, attached to a requirement that landlords must offer tenants a punishing 10-month repayment schedule for their rent debt. VTU members have demanded that the eviction ban remain in place for the duration of the pandemic - allowing people to lose their homes during this time is inhumane and dangerous for public health.
In Ontario, organized tenants have been documenting and resisting the “eviction blitz”. Keep Your Rent Toronto launched a self-reporting eviction tracker. The VTU published a similar tool as well (although we chose not to publish a public facing map, in order to protect tenants’ privacy).
More recently though, tenants in Ontario launched another website: EvictionsOntario.ca which more thoroughly tracks the extent of the crisis using data from 3,500 scheduled Landlord Tenant Board hearings in Toronto from Nov. 2, 2020 to Jan. 31, 2021.
Some members and journalists have reached out asking whether the VTU could create a similar report and are generally wondering what the evictions data looks like in this province.
There are some key differences between Ontario and B.C. tenancy law that prevent us from getting a complete picture of eviction data.
Here’s a breakdown of why we don’t know and can’t really know the scale of the evictions crisis in B.C.:
The VTU has pushed for the RTB to also legislate automatic hearings for evictions, as Ontario does, in order to ensure tenants who may not know their rights have a chance to dispute, as well as to better track evictions.
The above information is not meant to suggest that Ontario has better or fairer tenancy laws, or stronger eviction protections as a whole - but when it comes to complete and publicly accessible eviction data, the B.C. government offers basically nothing by comparison.
This is why it’s hard to believe Minister David Eby when he denies that B.C.’s eviction rates during the pandemic are “within historical ranges”. This is an opaque justification to allow evictions to continue unabated as case numbers hold at steady highs.
Minister Eby - show us the data on evictions.
 Note: Low income tenants can apply for fee waivers, and filing fees can be awarded to tenants who win their disputes https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/residential-tenancies/solving-problems/dispute-resolution
 BC Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS) filed an FOI in 2011 and gained access to these internal reports. This suggest that reports do exist, but are not made public