The City of Toronto has been in a housing and homelessness crisis for years, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the midst of these intersecting crises, there was a significant increase in encampments across the City of Toronto in 2020. This case study explores the increase of encampments in Toronto between summer 2020 and summer 2021, the City’s responses to encampments, the role of civil society in addressing this crisis, and the human rights implications. This case study largely relies on publicly available documents and media accounts of events between March 2020 and September 2021, as well as information obtained through freedom of information requests and civil society organizations. We particularly focus on events at, and responses to, four encampment sites: Moss Park, Alexandra Park, Trinity Bellwoods Park, and Lamport Stadium, which were perhaps the most established encampment sites during this period.
This document was produced as part of a cross-Canada knowledge-sharing research project that was funded by the Office of the Federal Housing Advocate in order to improve public understanding of the reality of those living in encampments. Click here to read the full series.