Is it the law that a tenant can not be evicted in the wintertime in Ontario? There is a well ingrained urban myth that the Landlord and Tenant Act (more precisely the Residential Tenancies Act), prevents a landlord from evicting a person in the winter. The thought is that it is fairly cruel to make someone homeless in the dead of winter with freezing temperatures. This belief is so pervasive that notwithstanding clear guidance on the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board website and the advice of lawyers and paralegals to the contrary people still think there is some kind of legal prohibition to a winter eviction.
The fact is that there is absolutely no bar or prohibition against a winter eviction. The law allows a landlord to serve any of the available Notices of Termination at all times of the year. Of course, the Notice of Termination must be valid.
Will the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board refuse to evict in the winter? As you may know, if a tenant refuses to move out after being served with a Notice of Termination, a landlord must apply to the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board for an order evicting the tenant. The adjudicator may exercise some discretion to delay or deny eviction under section 83 of the Residential Tenancies Act. The mere fact that it is "winter time" is not a recognized ground for refusing or delaying eviction. Of course, if there are other extenuating circumstances that high-light a particular hardship and the fact of it being winter time is relevant to that hardship, then an adjudicator may indeed refuse or delay an eviction taking into account that it is "winter time".
Michael K. E. Thiele
Quinn Thiele Mineault Grodzki LLP