Posts by Karly Wilson

Non-profit boards: try not to ‘Zoom’ past equitable governance

August 31st, 2020 by Karly Wilson

This article was first published on

The COVID-19 pandemic has had the unique ability to highlight social areas where inequality and inequity have been lurking for ages. Gender discrimination in the workplace is no exception.

There have been countless articles addressing the extra burden that the pandemic has placed on women, often centring the many complexities of domestic labour division and child care. Even without these larger issues, smaller forms of discrimination, or microaggressions, persist during the pandemic as well, even as our work lives have moved almost entirely online.

It has never been easier to work remotely, and professionals across the country have been lauding the advancements in technology that have made working possible during the pandemic. Zoom meetings, “fax by email,” Facetime calls, constant texting — they all allow employers to replicate the workplace experience for employees from the comfort of their home offices (or living room couches, or kitchens, or bedrooms). For many women, these technologies have not only replicated the issues they already experienced at work, but have exacerbated them.

Continue reading “Non-profit boards: try not to ‘Zoom’ past equitable governance”

A New Consideration When Evicting for Illegal Activity

May 21st, 2020 by Karly Wilson

Due to the pandemic and the resulting lockdown, many individuals are spending more time at home. It’s unclear whether this has led to an increase in illegal activity or just an increase in witnesses, but either way our office is receiving more calls about how to handle illegal activity in a unit. As part of its response to the COVID‑19 pandemic, the LTB narrowed its scope for eviction orders and is hearing only those eviction applications that address urgent matters of health and safety or serious illegal activity. Housing providers looking to evict tenants or members who are causing serious problems may now be looking towards evicting on the grounds of illegal activity; but take heed, these are complicated and are always an uphill battle. Housing providers have to consider many factors before choosing this route, and often struggle to gather enough evidence.

New consequences of evictions for illegal activity

New changes to the Housing Services Act, which governs social housing in Ontario, came into effect in January of 2020 and further complicate evictions for illegal activity by raising the stakes even higher for tenants. A news release from the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing boasted improvements to safety in community housing thanks to a new regulation. The brief states that the government is “sending a clear message that dangerous criminal activity is not welcome in community housing.” The changes allow community housing providers to turn away prospective tenants who have been previously evicted from community housing for illegal activities in the past five years. Continue reading “A New Consideration When Evicting for Illegal Activity”

The cost of lost amenities in COVID-19

May 11th, 2020 by Karly Wilson

A young couple is renting a one‑bedroom plus den unit in a building. They both work from home, and when looking for a new place they were concerned about the cost of renting a place large enough for them both to have a workspace. They chose this building because of its amenities: a gym, a party room, and a common workspace with couches, large tables and free internet access. One of the tenants was able to use the den in the building as a home office and the other used the common workspace in the building. However, with the onset of the global pandemic, all of the shared spaces in the building have been closed, forcing them both to work in the apartment.

Amenities like gyms, pools, business centres, and party rooms are used to induce tenants to move to certain buildings, and often pay higher rents. Now in the age of COVID‑19, tenants have yet to receive any rent relief and are unable to access common spaces that encouraged them to accept these higher costs.

What options do tenants have for relief? And what will that mean for landlords? Continue reading “The cost of lost amenities in COVID-19”

Defining ‘urgent’ in the global pandemic

May 1st, 2020 by Karly Wilson

This article was first published on

Seven weeks ago, we rolled our eyes when an email was labelled “Urgent.” It felt like a term thrown around too often, and with little meaning or weight. Like new alerts popping up on cell phones, there didn’t seem to be enough discernment about what was and was not worthy of panic and alarm.

Now, everything is urgent. There is an urgent need for medical supplies, for funding, for mental health support, for employment insurance reform, for a vaccine, for a cure. This has created an awkward and noticeable push to fill needs that social justice advocates have always considered urgent, but are suddenly (urgently!) gaining widespread support.

Individuals with disabilities, long having been told that their needs are too big to accommodate, are watching mass support roll out to assist the workforce. Advocates for a universal basic income are watching as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is instituted in a matter of weeks. At our firm, a large part of our practice focuses on supporting affordable housing initiatives, and we too have watched as our city (Toronto) has suddenly been at the forefront of creating new housing solutions for individuals experiencing homelessness.

In short, we are seeing concerns long considered urgent to finally be met with a sense of … well … urgency. Continue reading “Defining ‘urgent’ in the global pandemic”

Provincial Emergency Order extended to co‑operatives and condo corporations

April 27th, 2020 by Karly Wilson

On April 9, we posted about the provincial government’s Emergency Order giving non‑profits flexibility in meeting their governance obligations. As we noted at the time, the order did not extend to organizations governed by the Co‑operative Corporations Act, leaving many of our clients in a difficult position as they tried to balance governing and social‑distancing.

Thankfully, the provincial government has amended this oversight, extending flexible options to co‑operatives and condo corporations by issuing an amendment to the emergency order. The order is retroactive to March 17, 2020, validating any meeting postponements or virtual meetings that occurred in the interim. Continue reading “Provincial Emergency Order extended to co‑operatives and condo corporations”

Human rights in the time of COVID‑19

April 9th, 2020 by Karly Wilson

On April 2, 2020, the Ontario Human Rights Commission issued a policy directive for government bodies to enact a “human‑rights based approach” to managing the COVID‑19 pandemic.

What is the Ontario Human Rights Commission?

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (the OHRC) is a government agency that was created by the Human Rights Code to promote and advance human rights in Ontario. They provide information and direction for service providers, government agencies, lawyers, and the like. At Iler Campbell, we frequently refer our clients to their public education materials and often use their website as a starting point when researching issues for our clients.

Part of OHRC’s role is to make recommendations during situations of tension or conflict, an apt description for daily life since the start of the global COVID‑19 pandemic. All levels of government have been scrambling to make the necessary policy shifts to keep residents as safe as possible. The provincial government has enacted a series of urgent emergency measures, many of which we have discussed previously on this blog. As decisions are being made at a break‑neck pace, the OHRC has issued its policy directive to ensure that already vulnerable groups are not forgotten, further marginalized, or exploited by government decisions. Continue reading “Human rights in the time of COVID‑19”