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Judge says region cannot evict encampments

Judge determines any encampment evictions by the region would be in breach of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom
Victoria encampment June 6 2022
The Victoria encampment the morning of June 6, 2022

The Judge in the Region of Waterloo vs, Tent City in Kitchener case has ruled the residents of the encampment can stay. 

Judge Michael J. Valente has determined that the region's position to remove these residents of the camp at 100 Victoria St.N. is in direct violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Valente writes that the by-law the region has used to evict the residents, "deprives the homeless residents of the Encampment of life, liberty and security of the person in a manner not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice." 

According to the court document, the region did not make enough effort to reach out to enough members of the encampment and has fallen short of
the principles and policies stipulated in their own encampment policy. 

Valente praises the Region of Waterloo for creating models such as the upcoming outdoor hybrid shelter, but is dismayed by the fact there were not options in place before an eviction notice was given. 

"I am, however, troubled by the lack of effort the Region made to connect with Encampment residents and the options provided to them prior to both the date of the Trespass Notice and the Eviction Date," said Valente. 

The region's application to arrest, detain and remove tents was also dismissed by the judge. 

This decision has the potential to set a precedent across the province with how municipalities approach encampments. 

Regional chair Karen Redman said in a statement, they will consider next steps and the impacts of this decision. 

"Our commitment to supporting those experiencing homelessness continues, as we work to implement innovative and person-centred solutions," writes Redman. 

This decision ends a months long legal battle between the camp and the region since an eviction notice was served to residents in June. 

There are two other encampments on regional property in the region; one at 150 Main St. in Cambridge and on Roos Island in Victoria Park Kitchener. The fate of these camps are still unknown. 

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Joe McGinty

About the Author: Joe McGinty

Joe McGinty is a multimedia journalist who covers local news in the Cambridge area. He is a graduate of Conestoga College and began his career as a freelance journalist at CambridgeToday before joining full time.
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