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A Slumlord’s Abuses Are Exposed When a Tenant is Found Dead in a Trailer During Winter, 2022

Yesterday, a man named Jason, who went by the name of ‘Bear’, who was known well to our production team, died of as yet unknown causes in the backyard of 306 Innisfil St. That is the house directly next door to our studio.

That is where the mobile summer camper trailer was parked in which this human being endured -30-degree temperatures with nothing more than a blanket for protection. No, this man was not homeless. Bear and public money through Disability paid an absentee and negligent landlord more in rent per month than is true of what some people pay for an apartment.

The inadequate ‘rented residence’ was not insulated, other than by some Styrofoam and building materials we had donated to Bear out of our renovations. It was also heated only by a grossly inadequate plug-in space heater. It had no plumbing, only a chemical toilet that was constantly frozen in the winter, and no cooking facilities.

Bear was collecting Disability and he was a desperate man who had nowhere else to go. So, he reluctantly agreed to rent this trailer for the unbelievable sum of $700.00 per month. We know this because we printed off the lease for him in August when we thought it was only a summer arrangement. He was also expected as part of his rental agreement to maintain the property, which later included shovelling snow, and to report to the absentee landlord any issues.

We reported a few things about the management of the house to The City of Barrie and the Barrie Police Service after a frankly obvious dealer in ‘confectionaries’ who lives in the house engaged in an open war outside in the shared driveway.

The entire fight was caught on our surveillance cameras, including the chain saws, several attempts at using a car as a weapon, furniture smashed onto a windshield, and the use of a bat. Regardless of having the video, recorded ultra-clearly in 4K quality, an officer of the Barrie Police Service told us there was nothing they could do. That video can be seen at https://youtu.be/j1HbZwSc0Mc.

As for the City of Barrie, the property was inspected despite the agent admitting he was intimidated by the reputation of the building and because of the video we had provided to him of that fight.

Eventually, it was concluded that a basement apartment that is occupied by a man suffering from brain damage is illegal as is the trailer.

The trailer had minimal insulation with open holes to the outside, a single plug-in space heater was provided by the landlord, the chemical toilet and grey water were constantly frozen, and there was no cooking facilities.

Also, ‘somebody’ was using the backyard presumably to make money as a parking lot for snowmobiles and commercial trailers. There was also an illegal sea can on the property that needed a permit to stay. All we have seen so far is that the snowmobiles were removed. Our complaint was filed more than a month ago, on January 7th.

We all know that the greed of landlords in Barrie is virtually out of control, but what kind of a monster charges a disabled man $700.00 a month to live in what amounts to a metal and cloth box with no insulation or other protection against the elements?

What is wrong with the system when Disability allows this housing agreement, which the City of Barrie says is illegal, to be processed as a 'rental unit' that is being paid for with taxpayer dollars? Also, the property is visited by multiple caseworkers from various agencies and by officers of the Barrie Police Service fairly frequently, and they said nothing about this inadequate and clearly illegal ‘living’ arrangement.

The Ontario Community Awareness Network / the OCANetwork, also known as Five Points Media, is producing a program about this subject that we will be sharing with the people of Barrie and Simcoe County after a period of respect for Bear’s family.

We cannot allow this kind of shameless greed to continue in our city, which is being committed all too often at the ultimate cost of the poor and vulnerable. Further, if his living conditions are deemed by the coroner to be a contributing factor to Bear’s death, we will be pushing for charges to be laid against the landlord(s). At the very least, Criminal Negligence could apply:

Criminal Negligence

Marginal note: Criminal negligence

219 (1) Every one is criminally negligent who

(a) in doing anything, or

(b) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do, shows wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons.

Definition of duty

(2) For the purposes of this section, duty means a duty imposed by law.

R.S., c. C-34, s. 202

Marginal note: Causing death by criminal negligence

220 Every person who by criminal negligence causes death to another person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable

(a) where a firearm is used in the commission of the offence, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of four years; and

(b) in any other case, to imprisonment for life.

R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 2201995, c. 39, s. 141

Marginal note: Causing bodily harm by criminal negligence

221 Every person who by criminal negligence causes bodily harm to another person is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 2212019, c. 25, s. 76

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