Category Archives: Bed Bugs Canada

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As tenants suffer in Pandemic, the Quebec government must take action to control rent – The Suburban Newspaper

The Rental Board, now called the Tribunal administrative du logement (TAL), turned 40 years old this October. The TAL, first created to arbitrate the imbalance in power between tenants and landlords, continues to fail in its duties to protect tenants and the rental housing market. The historical dysfunction of Quebecs housing tribunal only becomes more concerning as tenants face an unprecedented crisis, brought on by a global pandemic, a lack of social housing, and out-of-control rents in the private market.

For years now, the Greater Montreal housing market has been gradually tightening, with last years vacancy rate breaking a 15-year record low with only 1.5% of apartments available, while at the same time, the average rent increased by 3.6%, the highest increase in recent years. Add on the financial losses faced by tenants during a global lockdown, and the result is that vulnerable and precarious populations living in the metropolis are being choked out.

The reality is undeniable. Against the backdrop of this housing crisis, homelessness has doubled in our city, and still more barely manage to avoid it. Tenants seeking the help of our organization face a newly hostile rental market, leaving many of our service users caught between the impossible choice of hanging onto their still-affordable but unsafe, substandard apartments, or trying their luck in a housing market where affordable options have all but disappeared.

We see a lot of people who get caught in a cycle of not being able to pay their rent on time. This often results in eviction, after which they are faced with finding new housing that is even less affordable, Anne Favory, a social rights worker at Project Genesis explains. In other cases, vulnerable tenants end up being at the mercy of their landlord, who know that they can get away with not doing repairs or fixing vermin issues since the tenant cant afford anything better.

Bridgejet, a Project Genesis service user who has had bedbugs since February, knows this firsthand. My daughters skin is damaged by the bug bites. I keep buying medication, but nothing works. If I try to move, I'm going to have to pay almost $2000, and Im a single mother, I cant afford that. Bridgejet lives in a 4 with her three children and pays $880 a month. She would like to keep her apartment as she faces discrimination when looking for a new place to live. Landlords do not like the colour of my skin and the fact that I have children, she explains. All of this, of course, is compounded by her financial reality: If I take one of these apartments, I'm going to end up homeless because I cant pay the rent.

The provincial government recently made a number of important changes to the Tribunal, a body whose mission includes presiding over the conservation of the housing stock. In the current housing and economic crisis, Project Genesis, a member of the Regroupement des comits logement et associations de locataires du Qubec (RCLALQ), demands that the provincial government take steps to implement rent control, ending the current cycle of insufficient affordable housing, unsafe living conditions, and eviction. As various governments all over Canada move towards freezing property taxes and rent increases as a response to the pandemic, the Quebec government needs to step up to protect tenants.

Saray Ortiz Torres

Darby MacDonald

Project Genesis

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As tenants suffer in Pandemic, the Quebec government must take action to control rent - The Suburban Newspaper

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Home – Bed Bug Detectives

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No treatment plan is complete without client education; this is one of the most valuable tools we offer. We feel that educating our clients is as important as dealing with their problem. Proper education not only allows our clients to be better informed about what they can do to rid themselves of bed bugs, but also helps to ensure they never have to deal with the problem again in the future.

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Home - Bed Bug Detectives

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Egan: The creeping, hidden menace of home takeovers – Spruce Grove Examiner

I had a soft spot for them, says Mary, her empathy evident, even wearing a mask, in a Zoom meeting Thursday. I thought I was doing something good.

Within 48 hours of letting the desperate couple stay at her one-bedroom apartment, it had all fallen apart. Beached on the sectional couch, he was drinking rubbing alcohol; she was strung out on pills. Not only did they invite themselves into Marys Centretown unit, but they also had no plans to leave.

Later, they would discover the bed bugs in the visitors clothing and a warrant for his arrest.

On April Fools Day in 2018, Mary (not her real name) and her husband were victims of a home takeover, a little-talked about menace that happens dozens of times in Ottawa annually and targets the vulnerable and elderly.

Numbers are hard to come by, but frontline workers say its likely that every day in this city a marginalized tenant is being preyed upon by scheming friends and hangers-on, creepy relatives or outright criminals looking for a safe base of operation.

Crime Prevention Ottawa has just submitted a report to city council on a multi-year effort to combat the problem, which executive director Nancy Worsfold considers among its proudest achievements in 15 years.

Since 2013, the tiny organization has managed to spark 157 training sessions, which in turn alerted 3,500 workers to the morally complex problem of home takeovers.

Worsfold said the effort grew out of the groups work in vulnerable neighbourhoods and the realization that much of the criminal activity was focused in a small number of addresses, sometimes home to a revolving cast.

When you untangle the problems there, it is really complicated, she explained. There is negative activity there, but it wasnt necessarily under the control of the legitimate tenant.

Indeed, at its worst, units were being taken over by drug traffickers or gangs as bases of operation, with dope sometimes supplied to the tenants as hush payments. The consequences could be horrendous: all-night noise and traffic, assaults, gun play, even homicides.

But this was merely the iceberg tip. Beneath the obvious criminal activity, there were stories of the lonely elderly being squatted by conniving relatives, recovering addicts being swamped by users and their friends and the mentally challenged who could be victims at home at every turn.

Crime Prevention first commissioned a literature review of the problem in 2012 and discovered that not only was there little research done in Canada, but also not even common language to describe the issue. (It is often called cuckooing in countries like England.)

Before long, a committee of 16 groups was assembled, everyone from the Ottawa Police Service to the Canadian Mental Health Association to Ottawa Community Housing and the Ottawa-Carleton Association for Persons with Developmental Disabilities.

The latter association took on co-ordination of the project.

Anne Cole, a supervisor in community support for OCAPDD, says takeovers often start innocently, with one neighbour trying to help another in a sudden jam, like the loss of housing or income.

When negative consequences escalate, she said, the tenant can feel embarrassed because they initially agreed to the arrangement.

Home takeover is often not reported and thats the biggest problem.

Added Worsfold: People are deeply ashamed of these situations and theyre complicated because they feel responsible for inviting the person in.

For the same reasons, victims may be reluctant to turn to the police especially if the home has become a crime haven or simply have no idea where to find help.

But Crime Preventions work is changing that as a series of videos, workshops and printed materials have been distributed or seen by hundreds of frontline workers, including police. Most major local organizations that work in public housing, elder abuse, with the disabled and the mentally ill have been looped in.

In Marys case, she spoke to her husbands caseworker about two days after the unwanted guests arrived from a unit across the hall, where they had been abusing the generosity of a relative for months.

The caseworker alerted Cole, who hustled over to meet the couple in a coffee shop. Upon hearing the story, the caseworker called police. All it took was some prodding from the officers and the unwanted couple departed.

We needed help to do that, said Mary, then one of Coles clients. I didnt know how to deal with a situation like that. I was scared.

Crime Prevention Ottawa now feels it has equipped frontline workers with an understanding of the problem and some tools to bring about a fix.

To me, said Worsfold, truly affecting the lives of vulnerable victims is important.

Like in Marys case, where all it took was the right push, at the right time, to restore house and home.

To contact Kelly Egan, please call 613-291-6265 or email

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Egan: The creeping, hidden menace of home takeovers - Spruce Grove Examiner

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What’s the point in buying furniture? Queenston Road senior tormented by bedbugs –

Eloise Keene, a senior who lives alone, has been sleeping in a chair in her apartment in Hamiltons east end for two weeks.

The 75-year-old woman, who resides in a social housing building at 555 Queenston Rd., which is dedicated to seniors, said she threw out her furniture for the fifth time after a resurgence of bedbugs.

She said pest control has been treating her apartment every month since spring, and the bedbugs still werent going away.

One guy came in ... walked in right to my chair, (and) said Wonder if you still have bedbugs oh yeah, theres one ... on my chair, she said. I said to myself, I want to get rid of them and I knew the only way to get rid of them was to throw the furniture out; they taught me that.

She said she previously bought a leather couch and chair because she was told bedbugs dont like the material. Before she had her most recent inspection at the end of August, she threw those out, too.

Every time CityHousing Hamilton told me the bugs were gone, Id buy new furniture, said Keene, who is on a fixed income.

The city says theyve been doing better with bedbugs this year.

This years been relatively good in terms of complaints coming through, for both public and private buildings, said Coun. Chad Collins, who is also president of the CityHousing board of directors.

Bedbugs have plagued the city for years at a cost in the millions.

In 2009, the CityHousing Hamilton budget for pest control was $300,000. In 2017, that number was $1.3 million.

So far this year, CityHousing has spent more than $655,000 on pest control, according to numbers provided by city spokesperson Antonella Giancarlo on behalf of CityHousing Hamilton CEO Tom Hunter.

Giancarlo said in an email that 555 Queenston Rd. has had eight bedbug treatments so far this year, plus 46 cockroach treatments. In all the CityHousing buildings, there have been 664 bedbug treatments and 851 cockroach treatments this year.

Laverne Dow, another tenant in the building, said she believes there are more than three units at 555 Queenston Rd. with bedbugs, but acknowledged theres a stigma that prevents some tenants from calling for help.

In 2016, the city implemented a three-year bedbug strategy to help reduce the prevalence of the pests.

A summary of the community engagement report mentions some of the barriers to addressing the problem. Among them are a fear that reporting bedbugs might lead to blame on the tenant or possible eviction. Another is stigma that bedbugs are connected to poverty or unclean conditions.

Bedbugs can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time, the report notes.

When you dont call because you might be embarrassed, theres the opportunity then for the bugs to spread to other areas, said Collins. The longer something goes unchecked, the more that they have the opportunity to get into other places and impact other people.

Dow said shes concerned pest control is only treating the affected units and not the ones surrounding them, as she believes this allows the problem to persist.

Were not randomly going through to other units and just treating them without knowing whether pests are prevalent in the unit, said Collins, noting that staff tries to be proactive. He said one of the units at 555 Queenston had its pests discovered when a resident came into the building office and staff noticed a bedbug on her.

Dow and Keene both said theyve sought assistance from CityHousing to replace their baseboards and caulking to help seal their apartments to prevent the bugs from coming in, but theyve had no luck.


In an email, Giancarlo said CityHousing may provide help with baseboards and caulking depending on how much work is involved, noting that residents can request basic caulking work. But a property managers approval is needed for bigger projects such as replacing baseboards.

In the majority of cases, baseboard replacements and caulking are not necessary for the control of pests, she wrote.

Its actually disappointing that someone whos not just a senior but who lives in CityHousing is being forced to live with no furniture, said Dayna Sparkes, a member of ACORN Canadas Hamilton East chapter.

ACORN has been organizing for better protections for renters in Hamilton, including a licensing process for landlords and proactive enforcement of municipal property standards, including proper pest management, Sparkes noted.

I dont think people realize how extensive and thorough you have to be when youre getting treatment, she said. Its not an easy process.

Sparkes added that its challenging for seniors to remove furniture from their apartments and costly to laundry everything.

She believes CityHousing and other landlords have the responsibility to help their tenants get their furniture replaced.

Its the same thing as with having the pests themselves its not (the tenants) fault, she said.

Giancarlo said money is available to ODSP and Ontario Works recipients to offset the costs of mattresses, as well as preparation and prevention for bedbugs.

Keene said she hasnt yet received the results from the inspection, but after she threw out her furniture, she hasnt been bitten once.

Even if she could afford new furniture again, Keene said she doesnt see the point in replacing it.

Why buy it again if (the bugs are) going to come back? she said.

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What's the point in buying furniture? Queenston Road senior tormented by bedbugs -

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Residents say someone is poisoning birds in their east London neighbourhood –

Neighbours on Mornington Avenue in London, Ont. say this pigeon is one of at least a dozen that have died after allegedly being poisoned by staff of a nearby highrise.

Residents ona stretch of Mornington Avenue in east London say someone is poisoning pigeons after reports of at least a dozen bird carcasses have beenleft to rot in parking lots, and on sidewalks, lawnsand a public park.

CBC News spoke with seven people who live in the area Wednesday, many of whom called the poisonings cruel, inhumane and a potential health threat to the wildlife. They were also concerned that pets and children might come into contact with the remains.

"We shouldn't have to be concerned about walking our dogs, or if somebody has a cat, or young children. There are a lot of young kids here," said Elise Frenette, who lives in the neighbourhood.

"Once you see an animal getting poisoned, that image does not leave your mind," she said."It is a slow and what looks to be an excruciating death. The confusion, the convulsions, they're trembling.You can see they're trying to get away but they physically can't. It's so inhumane."

Frenette said she first heard of the dying birdsMonday when a group of neighbours at an apartment building at 530 Mornington Avenue gatheredto clean up more than half a dozen dead birds that had mysteriously appeared near the building that morning.

Since then, she said there's been a steady stream of dead or dying pigeons turning up all over the rental property. It housesa cluster of buildings and is owned byCalgary-based Northview ApartmentREIT.

"A lot of people are really distraught over this," said Frenette."Nobody was notified."

Many people in the neighbourhood allege the birds were killed by Toronto-based Husky Pest Control with pesticide-laced bird seed.

Calls from CBC News to Husky Pest Control were also not answered Tuesday.

Some say the apparent poisonings aren't limited to just pigeons. They saythere are reports from other residents aboutmourning doves, starlings and blue jays, as well as skunks, squirrels and other rodents sprawled dead on the groundor appearing ill or disoriented.

CBC News visited the Northview-owned apartment complex on Mornington Avenue Wednesday and found no evidence of dead animals such as skunksor squirrels nearby. However, the carcass of a pigeon was discovered lying in a public tennis court. The birdappeared to have died recently.

Staff at the building declined to comment when asked about the apparent poisoningsTuesday.

"We're not allowed to talk about it. It's just company policy," said awoman who would only identify herself as Trina, the regional administrator for the company. She said there were no health concerns for pets in the building.

"I don't see an immediate concern for dogs," she said.

However, some tenants disagree. Brenda Lonie, a resident of the highrise at 520 Mornington Avenue, said while she watches her dog Milo closely when out on walks, others aren't so careful.

"You're taking the chance of a dog eating that and killing it or even a cat," she said.

Tenants say a number ofbuildings owned by Northview along Mornington Avenue have hadrecurringproblems with vermin and untidy conditions for years.

"They don't seem to care about this property when it comes to garbage. This whole placeneeds to be taken care of in a better manner. This place is full of bed bugs, cockroaches."

Lonie said other than relieving themselves on balconies, the pigeons don't really bother anyone.

"I find them on my balcony," she said. "I just take a water bottle and I just spray them to get lost. They get the message. If someone is trying to get rid of them, that's not the right thing to do. You don't kill animals."

Calls from CBC News to Starlight Investments, the owner of Northview Apartments, were not returned Tuesday.

Brent Ross, a spokesman for the Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General, which is responsible for animal welfare in the province, said it has not received any complaints regarding the apparent poisoning of wildlife in the area.

"The ministry has not received a complaint on this matter," he wrote in an email Tuesday."It would be inappropriate for the ministry to speculate on the legality of this matter.

Residents say someone is poisoning birds in their east London neighbourhood -

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