Homeless advocates, City of Toronto set to clash in court over distancing in shelters

TORONTO — The City of Toronto and a group of advocates for the homeless are set to square off in court this week over compliance with physical distancing rules during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The advocates allege the city lied when it said shelters met the distancing requirements in mid-June.

The city disputes the claim, saying it has worked tirelessly to follow the rules and has found homes or temporary residences for thousands who use the shelter system.

The advocates first launched the legal action in late April, seeking an injunction to force the city’s 75 shelters to follow physical distancing rules.

They alleged the city violated shelter residents’ Charter rights and breached the Ontario Human Rights Code.

The suit had effectively been put on hold after the city agreed to ensure physical distancing in shelters and to provide beds to those in need.

But the issue is heading back to court after the advocates’ group alleged the city did not hold up its end of the bargain.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Sept. 29, 2020.

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