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‘We had to take drastic measures’: P.E.I. minister confirms Alberton tenants evicted due to unsafe conditions at motel



CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — Housing Minister Rob Lantz confronted questions from the Liberal bench within the P.E.I. legislature June 1 after a number of tenants have been pressured to depart their houses on account of a provincial order issued at an Alberton condominium.

The tenants have been ordered to depart the models in Alberton after the province issued a public well being order on the premises, which is a former lodge. A Might 31 CBC story, which first reported the evictions, states tenants in 13 models have been ordered to depart.

Confronted with questions from Liberal MLA Gord McNeilly, Lantz confirmed his division needed to shut down the condominium unit.

“As a result of we did not have superb co-operation from the owner, we did not know who was housed in these flats. We solely discovered after we have been on web site after we issued a harmful premises order,” Lantz mentioned. “It was an uncommon state of affairs, we needed to take drastic measures.”

Gord McNeilly, referencing the CBC story, requested how most of the tenants have been short-term international staff.

Lantz confirmed among the staff have been short-term international staff however didn’t say what number of.

“This entire situation was prompted by a grievance by the residents themselves. It was an environmental well being grievance. We subsequently realized that there have been all types of issues there with warmth, sizzling water, bugs, rodents, sewer backups – only a horrible state of affairs,” Lantz mentioned.

“I’ve to reiterate that we had lots of bother getting co-operation from this specific landlord. We have carried out all the things we will to make this tough state of affairs go easily for the tenants.”

Liberal MLA Gord McNeilly raised questions about the inspection of housing conditions for temporary foreign workers in P.E.I. - Stu Neatby/SaltWire
Liberal MLA Gord McNeilly raised questions concerning the inspection of housing circumstances for short-term international staff in P.E.I. – Stu Neatby/SaltWire

“Was this property inspected previous to short-term international staff being employed there?” McNeilly requested. 

“(I’m) not totally certain if the inspections particular to short-term international staff is the purview of my division, however I can carry that data again,” Lantz replied.

Momentary international staff usually arrive in P.E.I. to work on farms or in seafood processing services.

The federal authorities requires that inspections be performed of housing for short-term international staff who arrive in P.E.I. as a part of the seasonal agricultural employee program. A report carried out by the Cooper Institute famous that in 2020, half of those inspections discovered code violations, similar to lacking or faulty hearth extinguishers.

Nevertheless, housing necessities for short-term international staff in seafood processing or different industries usually are not explicitly set out by the federal authorities. The provincial authorities doesn’t usually examine the housing circumstances of those staff.

A 2021 report by the auditor normal of Canada discovered the federal authorities systematically did not adequately guarantee housing circumstances of short-term international staff have been freed from well being and security dangers.

In an interview after query interval, Lantz mentioned a couple of dozen tenants have been displaced. He mentioned the Purple Cross has paid for lodging for the displaced tenants within the space.

He mentioned the preliminary grievance was obtained by environmental and well being. Lantz mentioned different points have been later discovered within the constructing that concerned his personal Division of Land. He mentioned it was the primary time the province had issued a “harmful premises order” and that constructions should be changed.

Lantz famous the province’s Residential Tenancy Act requires that landlords meet well being and security requirements. 

Regardless of this, Lantz didn’t point out the province can be levying any penalties on the landlords. He mentioned the tenants are entitled to make complaints via the residential tenancy course of via the Island Regulatory and Appeals Fee, however mentioned they would want to file complaints earlier than that physique.

“It appears to be like like they may be entitled to compensation,” Lantz mentioned.

Stu Neatby is a political reporter with SaltWire in Prince Edward Island. He might be reached by e-mail at [email protected] and adopted on Twitter @stu_neatby.

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