Toronto violated physical distancing measures from shelters it agreed to, judge says – Toronto


TORONTO – A judge has ruled that the city of Toronto did not comply with the physical distancing measures it agreed to at shelters when it responded to COVID-19 in the spring.In April, a group of homeless advocates filed for a charter in the Ontario Superior Court to challenge housing standards.

The group argued that city standards allow the use of bunk beds and do not allow for a minimum two-meter spacing between beds, the standard public health measure to help curb the spread of COVID- 19.

He sought an injunction to prevent the city from using lower standards, but then suspended it when the city signed an agreement with the group to make improvements.

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In June, the city told the group it had complied with the deal, but a few weeks later advocates said that was not true.

In a written decision released Thursday, Judge Lorne Sossin ruled in favor of the lawyers.

“It is evident that a number of shelter sites did not meet the physical distance standard set out in the interim settlement agreement as of June 15, 2020,” he wrote.

“Given the cases of non-compliance in the file, where reasonable measures had not yet been taken to meet physical distancing standards, I conclude that the City’s assertion of compliance… was not accurate and , therefore, that the City had violated the Interim Settlement Agreements. “

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Sossin ordered the city to continue reporting on its progress until it fulfills its obligations under the agreement.

The judge noted that the city adopted a narrower definition of the standard of physical distancing than lawyers, which included Toronto Sanctuary Ministries, Indigenous Legal Services, Advocacy Center for Tenants Ontario, Black Legal Action Center, Canadian Civil Liberties Association and HIV. & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario.

Sossin said the city had taken important steps to uphold the deal and that he had not found a sufficient basis to conclude that the city had acted in bad faith.

© 2020 The Canadian Press


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