Excruciating delays at Ontario’s Landlord and Tenant Board: Ombudsman

TORONTO — Ontario’s ombudsman says a backlog of cases at the Landlord and Tenant Board has grown to 38,000 and it is taking an average of seven or eight months – sometimes up to two years – for a hearing to be scheduled.

The findings are part of a large report today from the ombudsman, who has issued 61 recommendations aimed at improving the functioning of the board and what he calls the excruciating delays.

Ombudsman Paul Dubé says that when the pandemic hit, the backlog was already at 20,000 applications, and the subsequent move to virtual hearings and a moratorium on evictions impeded the board’s efforts to chip away at the backlog.

He says the backlog means tens of thousands of Ontarians are being denied timely access to justice, with some tenants stuck in unsafe living conditions and some small landlords coping with tenant abuse and facing financial ruin.

The ombudsman says part of the problem is a shortage of adjudicators compounded by a cumbersome appointment and training process.

Dubé says both the board and the government have accepted his recommendations and have pledged to report back to his office on their progress in implementing them.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 4, 2023.