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Ontario ombudsman launches probe of Landlord and Tenant Board delays

TORONTO — Ontario’s ombudsman is launching an investigation into delays at the Landlord and Tenant Board.

Paul Dube says case backlogs at the board are getting worse and complaints to the ombudsman’s office about long waits for hearings and decisions are increasing.

He says the office received more than 200 complaints about the board in the last fiscal year, and 80 were specifically about delays.

Dube says those delays “have a very real human impact,” such as a landlord having to go without needed income while the board takes months to schedule a hearing, or a tenant threatened with eviction and living in limbo while waiting for a decision.

Tribunals Ontario has attributed the delays mostly to a shortage of adjudicators.

Its last annual report shows that board is only meeting its standards for scheduling hearings in a timely manner about 36 per cent of the time.

“In conducting a systemic investigation, we are able not only to shine a light on what isn’t working, but to recommend solutions, based on evidence we gather about best practices and our many years of expertise in helping bureaucracies work better,” Dube said in a statement.

The ombudsman’s investigation is set to look at whether the government is taking adequate steps to address delays and backlogs, as well as potential systemic factors such as relevant legislation, training, funding and technology.

The Canadian Press first published this article on Jan. 9, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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