Councillor Josh Matlow

Reducing The Risk From COVID-19 for Residents of Multi-Tenanted Buildings

Under the leadership of the Mayor, the Medical Office of Health and the Executive Director of Municipal Licensing and Standards, the City of Toronto urged Landlords and Owners of multi-tenanted buildings to adopt new health and safety guidelines and a rigorous cleaning routine to reduce the risk of residents from COVID-19.

Unfortunately, several months later, those that were applauding the City’s initiative to protect tenants from COVID -19 are now reporting that very little has been done to implement these critical guidelines. In a recent poll, the Federation of Metro Toronto Tenants’ Associations (FMTA) found that 55% of Landlords had provided any new cleaning practices to address COVID-19.

Of further concern, in response to COVID-19 concerns in their community, residents of Crescent Town engaged in a building clean-up and posted signage throughout the complex last week encouraging residents to practice social distancing and hygiene. The Landlord took down the signs within a few days.

It has become clear that Landlords are not voluntarily complying with the guidelines established by the City to protect tenants. This is particularly concerning in light of recent data released by Toronto Public Health showing that the majority of new “sporadic”, or community, cases are occurring in low-income neighbourhoods with a significant percentage of racialized people that disproportionately work outside of the home in congregate settings. These areas tend to be dominated by high rise apartments.

Social distancing is difficult in vertical communities. That’s why it’s critical that rigorous hygiene and cleaning regimens are in place. That’s why this motion seeks to make the guidelines for health and safety in apartment buildings mandatory to protect tenants.


1. City Council directs the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards, to temporarily amend the RentSafe by-law to require landlords to:

• Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer or a hand washing station with soap and water at all building entrances.
• Provide Alcohol-based hand sanitizer in all essential common areas that remain open such as laundry areas.
• Close non-essential common areas such as bathrooms, gyms and playrooms, and other high traffic areas.
• Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces in common areas, including doorknobs, elevator buttons, light switches, toilet handles, counters, hand rails, touch screen surfaces and keypads, with common household cleaners and disinfectants.
• Ensure building is properly organized to accept deliveries of essential goods like medications and food for residents to avoid non-essential trips outside and facilitate quarantines.
• Post signage limiting the number of residents allowed in essential common areas, including laundry rooms, to and lobbies to ensure that individuals are able to maintain 2 meters (6 1⁄2 feet) distance from each other.
• When showing units or suites for sale/lease, keep a safe distance of 2 meters (6 1⁄2 feet) from the resident and wash hands with soap and water, and or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, before and after the visit.

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