TORONTO - Ontario has temporarily paused residential evictions during its current state of emergency.

Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark said the pause will ensure people can stay safely in their residences while a stay-at-home order remains in place. The order, which came into effect on Thursday, requires all Ontario residents to stay home as much as possible, only leaving for essential trips.

"We're encouraging landlords and tenants to work together — as they have been doing for the last several months — to ensure that we keep Ontarians safe," said Clark. "We want to remind tenants who can pay their rent that they must continue to do so, to the best of their abilities."

This is the second time the province has paused residential evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Landlord and Tenant Board will continue to hear eviction applications and issue orders, but the enforcement of eviction orders will be postponed, except in urgent situations – such as for illegal activity.

Suze Morrison, the NDP's Tenant Rights critic, said in a statement that the Progressive Conservative government needs to immediately enforce a real ban on all eviction notices, hearings and orders. She said Thursday's order still leaves thousands of people in Ontario at risk.

"Calling off the sheriffs at the eleventh hour from enforcing evictions that have already been ordered will not keep folks housed and safe," said Morrison.

The province declared the state of emergency on Tuesday and said it will stay in place for at least 28 days.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan 14, 2021.

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