The provincial government is temporarily suspending eviction hearings as a result of the COVID-19 emergency.

Starting today (March 26), the Office of Residential Tenancies (ORT) will not be accepting applications for eviction related to missed or late rent, or for other non-urgent claims. Previous eviction orders for non-urgent matters (i.e. – not related to health and safety concerns) will not be enforced, and previously scheduled hearings for non-urgent matters have been cancelled as of today.

The ORT will only be conducting eviction hearings for urgent situations where there is a potential risk to health or safety resulting from violence or damage to property. Hearings may also take place for situations where a tenant has been locked out by their landlord or where a landlord has been accused of not providing essential services such as power and water.

“Under the circumstances, we want to ensure that tenants facing hardship as a result of COVID-19 can remain in their homes and follow all orders and recommendations from the chief medical officer,” justice minister and attorney general Don Morgan said. “An essential part of flattening the curve is staying home and self-isolating. We want to provide piece of mind those taking the necessary precautions as a result of this unprecedented situation will still have a roof over their head.”

Tenants who are unable to pay their rent during the state of emergency will be expected to pay their rent in full once the state of emergency is over. This action is being taken in recognition of the fact the province is currently in an unprecedented state of emergency that may result in unforeseen financial hardship or health consequences for tenants.

Government is specifically concerned that evicted tenants will be unable to self-isolate or physically distance themselves from others, potentially increasing the risk of transmitting or contracting COVID-19.

The ORT continues to encourage landlords and tenants to communicate with each other about their individual situations so that they can come to mutually agreeable solutions in this challenging time.