Toronto Legal Aid Clinics giving bad advice and getting tenants evicted

This is a letter a local person sent to a fellow tenant who was being evicted. Afterwards I will tell you what happened

Mr. Hendley, was a frail senior on a very small pension, and Mrs. Hendley was disabled and a shut in who never left their apartment. Mr. Hendley could not afford a car and so took the TTC to get everywhere.

What happened was that Parkdale Community Legal Services, rather than helping them, signed them up in the legal aid clinic for a membership to the Federation of Metro Tenants Associations and collected $15 for them, telling Mr. Hendley that no landlord would dare to evict any member of that group. They did not provide him with any legal assistance, saying his problems were solved with his paid FMTA membership.

This is not an isolated case. Parkdale Legal was known for taking money from poor tenants to sign them up for memberships in this group. Other clinics have done this too. Kristina Brousalis, (a former FMTA employee and then board member,) who was Tenant Duty Counsel at the St. Clair Avenue West Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal office did the same, for which she was transferred out.

The result was the Hendleys were illegally evicted and could not find affordable housing in Toronto. They moved to outside of Port Hope, where Mr. Hendley was forced to ride a bicycle over the hilly roads to pick up supplies for himself and his disabled wife. I suspect they endured great hardships during the winter, since Mr. Hendley could not afford a car.

Carol Kiley of the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal, now the Landlord and Tenant Board, says there are more evictions in Toronto due to people relying on the advice and "help" of the Federation of Metro Tenants Associations than due to any single bad landlord in Toronto.

Go back to the Federation of Metro Tenants Associations Story