Toronto City Council Highlights: February 2024

On February 6 and 7, Toronto City Council held its first meeting of 2024. Amidst the busyness of budget season, important pieces of heritage were protected, updates were made to the City’s Noise Bylaw, and requests were made of the Province to increase the accessibility of Landlord and Tenant Board services.

On February 6 and 7, Toronto City Council held its first meeting of 2024. Amidst the busyness of budget season, important pieces of heritage were protected, updates were made to the City’s Noise Bylaw, and requests were made of the Province to increase the accessibility of Landlord and Tenant Board services. 

 

What’s New in Toronto Centre 

The George Street Revitalization Project is moving forward as a City-delivered project;

  • 509 Parliament Street was designated under the Ontario Heritage Act; 
  • The Cabbagetown Southwest Heritage Conservation District was designated under the Ontario Heritage Act; and
  • Four new members were appointed to the Yonge-Dundas Square Board including Gideon Arthurs, the new Board Chair.

Updates to the City’s Noise ByLaw 

These amendments come after a review in 2023 of the successes and challenges of implementing the Noise Bylaw. Here are some of the updates that were adopted

  • New activity-based noise-exemption permits to differentiate lower and higher impact activities that require additional conditions for higher impact events;
  • Strengthened rules for “amplified sound” by lowering nighttime indoor limits by three decibels from 11:00pm to 7:00am and adding limits to specific musical instruments, such as drums, which may not be amplified but still can produce excessive sounds;
  • Incorporated sound-induced vibrations into the prohibition on “unreasonable and persistent” noise; and
  • Development of a process to monitor noise issues from waste collection operations and updating the 311 complaints process to allow residents to submit noise complaints for a wider variety of noise issues.

You can read more about the changes to the Noise Bylaw in the City’s news release. 

 

Restoring In-Person Landlord and Tenant Board Hearings

The implementation of virtual Landlord and Tenant Board hearings has removed accessible resources from tenants and has increased their challenges in securing affordable homes, especially in the context of a housing crisis. To reduce barriers faced by tenants, City Council requested the Government of Ontario:

  • Make in-person hearings the default format while providing the choice of digital or virtual hearings if both parties agree and clearly understand the process;
  • Develop clear guidelines that are easily accessible that outline how to request a change in format for a hearing or identify challenges during a virtual hearing;
  • Consult with legal clinics, tenant advocate groups, people with lived experience and landlords in advance of making digital hearings an option to ensure challenges that surfaced using the digital method are addressed; and
  • Restore and enhance funding for legal aid clinics so that tenants have the support required to participate meaningfully and with support if needed in Landlord and Tenant Board proceedings.

Council also requested that the Landlord and Tenant Board: 

  • Bring back regional scheduling to improve access to housing and homelessness supports, to provide better service for people living with poverty who do not have sufficient broadband or devices to participate in virtual hearings, people who do not speak French or English, survivors of intimate partner violence where home is not a safe space to conduct a hearing and individuals with disability, literacy, or numeracy challenges; and
  • Reopen counter services at Toronto South Office at 15 Grosvenor Street and Toronto East Office at 2275 Midland Ave and all Landlord and Tenant Board regional offices so that Landlord and Tenant Board staff can: 
    • provide parties with documents on the day of the hearing; 
    • can provide immediate support to parties for emergency matters; 
    • minimize delays as documents can be reviewed for minor errors when they are filed; and 
    • provide support for applicants and respondents in-person and refer parties to appropriate resources.

You can read the full item here

 

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