City of Hamilton Encampment Response

COVID-19: Tenants and Property Owners

The information below outlines some of the changes, options and supports available to you during these challenging times.   

The Ontario government suspension of new evictions through the COVID-19 crisis has ended as of August 1. Refer to the Landlord and Tenant Board website for details. It is critical that tenants and landlords have a written rent repayment agreement in place with payments that the tenant is able to make in their current financial situation. Tenants should not agree to repayment amounts they are not able to pay. Tenants should speak to their landlord about a repayment agreement even if they have received an eviction notice. Learn more about the financial supports that may be available.

Eviction orders issued before the mid-March Emergency Order are now being enforced. Eviction hearings are now being scheduled. Where landlords have given tenants eviction notices (N notices) during the eviction suspension, landlords must follow the processes in the Residential Tenancies Act to evict a tenant. These eviction processes were recently revised and the changes are retroactive to the March Emergency Order. Landlords and tenants can learn more about these changes to rental and eviction law from the Government of Ontario.

CERB applications are now being reviewed. Individuals who received CERB payments but were ineligible will be required to repay the amounts received. The CRA is asking individuals to repay those amounts by December 31, 2020. If a person repays the CERB before this time, the government says that they won't be fined or get any type of penalty. Review the CERB repayment details. For questions about your individual circumstance, please contact the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic.

Tenant questions should be directed to Hamilton Community Legal Clinic. Landlord questions should be directed to Tribunals Ontario. Check this site regularly for additional updates and helpful links. 

Helpful Links:

The Residential Tenancy Act, 2006 (RTA) establishes a framework for the regulation of residential rents and balances the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants. It provides protection for residential tenants from unlawful rent increases and unlawful evictions, and includes processes to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants. 

Learn more about landlord rights and responsibilities

Helpful Links:

There are many types of financial support available to help individuals and families experiencing challenges due to COVID-19. A COVID-19 Virtual Assistant is available online to help you find more information on what financial supports are there for you from the Government of Canada.

Learn more about federal and provincial financial supports for individuals

Helpful Links:

The Property Tax Assistance program outlines several financial measures to Hamilton property taxpayers and ratepayers dealing with the possible financial hardship caused by the current COVID-19 pandemic.  

Learn more about Support for Property Tax Payers 

Helpful Links:

Landlords are urged to adopt enhanced health and safety measures to protect residents from COVID-19. Residential buildings with a high number of units should adopt new practices and a rigorous cleaning routine to prevent viral spread.

Property owners/tenants are encouraged to check in on vulnerable residents/neighbours, connecting them to appropriate local agencies and supports if necessary.

Helpful Links:

To date, the City of Hamilton has allocated over $700,000 toward supporting vulnerable residents during this difficult time by assisting with food and basic needs, keeping shelters open and working with agencies to provide access to washrooms/showers. Isolation Centres have also been set up to provide food and shelter to any individuals in the shelter system that test positive for COVID-19.

A temporary emergency shelter based out of FirstOntario Centre will offer additional support to individuals who are at-risk and/or experiencing homeless, accommodating overflow from the shelter system to help ensure physical distancing.

Staff are also exploring ways to provide online supports for older adults, offering property owners some form of tax relief and setting up a network to deliver essentials like food and medication to those who are self-isolating but have little support.

List of emergency shelters for men, women, youth and families


For general questions about encampments process, protocols, or to report an encampment email [email protected] or call 905-546-2828. This number and email is monitored Monday to Friday during regular business hours. Report immediate threats to the safety and well-being of any community member, including loss of consciousness, frostbite, heat stroke, substance poisoning, or harassment by calling 9-1-1.

The rise in unsheltered homelessness during COVID-19 continues to highlight ongoing systemic health, social and economic inequities and remains an ongoing concern for the City.

Encampments are locations where one or more people live in an unsheltered area setup either on private or public property. Encampments may appear as a single tent, or a group of tents.

The City of Hamilton remains committed to ensuring that people experiencing homelessness receive the support they need while at the same time ensuring public spaces remain safe and accessible to all residents.

The City’s approved Encampment Response Protocol outlines an approach for how staff of the City’s Encampment Response Team and homeless-serving partners work to engage those residing in encampments and help them transition to safer, more humane, and legal accommodations. An encampment site is only scheduled to be cleared once everyone at that location has been assessed, once everyone has been offered safe, indoor space; and notice has been provided to give people time and help to collect personal belongings.

Guiding Principles and Approach

An assessment of the individual health and social needs of those living in an encampment, and the specific location of the encampment informs the individual response. The outreach that occurs during a 14 day period* will provide supports including but not limited to the following:

  • Engagement that treats every individual from a rights-based approach, ensuring dignity and confidentiality is maintained;
  • An assessment of health and social needs of individual with consent;
  • Immediate work on a personalized housing plan with consent;
  • Determine previous (if any) barriers affecting access into the system and attempt to resolve them;
  • Informing individuals of the timeline for encampment removal taking into consideration location and individual health and social circumstances;
  • Assist with the movement to shelter/housing including but not limited to transportation, financial assistance, and storage of possessions.
  • Ensures abandoned belongings and litter are cleared and the site is cleaned.

While outreach staff work to engage encampment residents and secure alternative shelter and housing options and community supports, Municipal Law Enforcement, and Parks staff will continue to monitor these locations and address safety concerns and increase litter clean up during this period until the encampment is cleared.

City of Hamilton Encampment Response Team
The City’s Encampment Response Team works with encampment residents to help them transition to safer, more humane, and legal accommodations, support the move with their belongings, and then ensures abandoned belongings are cleared and the site is cleaned.

The Encampment Response Team includes representatives from the City of Hamilton Housing Services Division and Street Outreach Team, Municipal Law Enforcement, Public Works and Hamilton Police Services Social Navigator Program.

Staff follow the protocol approved by Council September 30. 2020 that outlines the protocol when addressing reported encampments.

Contact us

General questions about encampments and the City and partners process and protocol Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Report any immediate threats to the safety and well-being of any community member, including loss of consciousness, frostbite, heat stroke, substance poisoning, or harassment by calling 9-1-1.

Email [email protected]
Phone 905-546-2828