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Housing advocacy group to bring 'paper pests' to City Hall for protest

Ottawa ACORN members will place one-hundred large prop cockroaches to demonstrate issues in affordable housing.
paper roach
Ottawa ACORN's 'paper pests' that will be on display outside City Hall, August 26 / Ottawa ACORN

A housing advocacy group in Ottawa will be bringing 'paper pests' to City Hall for a protest Wednesday morning, ahead of council voting on a new pest control and rental management bylaws.

Ottawa ACORN plans to bring one-hundred large prop cockroaches to demonstrate the reality many residents face with pests while living in low to moderate-income housing.

The group says city council is in the position to change these bylaws, they have an opportunity to ensure every tenant has "safe and healthy housing."

The group is calling for the bylaws be implemented by November 30, 2020 with amendments including: 

  •   Include report of pest infestations as needing an urgent response (24 hrs) to schedule treatment
  •   Forbidding landlords from renting units to new tenants if the unit is known to have pests,
  •   Ensuring that all landlords acquire a pest management operator or exterminator licensed by the Ministry of Environment to conduct all pest extermination activity,  
  •   Mandating the use of tenant notification boards for any service disruptions, cleaning schedules, pest treatments, capital projects, etc.

Ottawa ACORN member, Darin Loewy, says he has lived with consistent pest issues over the years and now during the pandemic. 

"I started sleeping with the lights on because of the roaches," Loewy explains. " I started seeing a counsellor because I was suicidal but I can't find anywhere else  that I can afford on ODSP. " 

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