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Toronto groups file legal action against the city

April 25, 2020

Coalition of groups seek to force the City to address the “deplorable” conditions in the city’s shelter system

CBC is reporting on the application we filed on Friday, April 24th.

The application has been brought by a coalition of public-interest organizations – Aboriginal Legal Services, the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario, the Black Legal Action Centre, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario, and Sanctuary Ministries of Toronto.

These groups maintain that the City’s failure to implement physical distancing protocols and accelerate efforts to find alternative and additional space for people who use homeless shelters and respites violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In particular, they argue that the City’s failure to take immediate action to implement minimal health guidance in shelters and respites is discriminatory and violates the right to life and security of the person of shelter residents, contrary to sections 7 and 15 of the Charter.

CBC spoke to Jessica Orkin about the legal action against the city:

The groups’ lawyer said an initial meeting with the judge is set for Monday, where they will discuss timelines, as well as when a hearing could be scheduled.

“It’s a hugely complex issue, but the city is not moving with any kind of speed that this crisis requires, given the vulnerability of this population and the public health guidelines,” said Jessica Orkin, the lawyer who represents a number of organizations.

Read the article here.


Jessica Orkin

Practice Areas

Constitutional Law, Public Interest Litigation