The people from the AIDS Committee of Ottawa and POWER (Prostitutes of Ottawa/Gatineau Work Educate & Resist) are urging Ontario residents to contact their MPPs to urge them to vote against Bill 106 at second reading ... here are the details:
Dear friends and allies,
On October 2, 2008, Yasir Naqvi, Liberal MPP for Ottawa Centre introduced Bill 106, the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act, as a private member's bill. This Bill will have serious impacts on the rights of tenants and fails to address real concerns of community safety. You can view the full bill here. Bill 106 is scheduled for second reading on October 30, 2008 and the AIDS Committee of Ottawa is asking you to help us stop it.
What *is* Bill 106?
Bill 106 (SCAN) would enable municipalities to appoint a Director of Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods that will accept anonymous allegations of unsafe or illegal activities occurring on or near specific properties. The SCAN Director has sweeping powers to conduct surveillance of accused tenants and homeowners. The Director can then apply to Superior Court to evict the tenant or close the property for up to 90 days through a 'Community Safety Order'.
Why is Bill 106 harmful?
- You can read a short description of the harm Bill 106 would create in the lives of marginalized communities here.
- If Bill 106 becomes law, municipalities will have the power to evict people from their homes for engaging in activities that 'adversely affect' communities. The current Residential Tenancies Act and the Criminal Code already address illegal and unsafe activities taking place in residential properties. There are no guarantees that SCAN would do much more than displace the offending activities from one community to another, and at the expense of tenant rights.
- Ontario already spends $3.4 billion on policing and our crime rate is the lowest in the country. The money that will be spent on SCAN could be better put towards social housing, alcohol and drug addictions programs and the development of community dispute resolution programs, which could address the root causes of the problems that SCAN targets.
- Bill 106 allows for faster and easier evictions. Given the falling vacancy rate in Ontario, this process will certainly lead to an increase in homelessness. Our community needs decent affordable housing, not to force more people onto the street.
- Everyone should have a right to a fair hearing, but Bill 106 allows for people to make anonymous complaints against tenants and disregards the rights of tenants to fully answer these allegations.
- There are many public misperceptions about crime and criminals. Bill 106 will result in racialized community members and other groups being "over-investigated" by the SCAN director. As well, it is likely that women and children could be made homeless due to allegations made against male members of their households.
What can you do to protect the rights of tenants and prevent Bill 106 from passing?
2. Copy your letter to Yasir Naqvi, the MPP who introduced the Bill, and to the Honourable Jim Watson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Yasir Naqvi's email is email@example.com Jim Watson's firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spread the word. Print out and distribute this leaflet. Use it to talk to tenant groups, homeless advocates, community organizations & others and share your concerns about Bill 106. Encourage them to write to their MPPs and offer them the template letter to make it easier to do so.
Thank you for helping us to make Ottawa and Ontario safer and healthier for everyone!
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