kenora homeless

This city in Canada wants to fine people $100 for being homeless

The city of Kenora in northwestern Ontario is considering implementing a bylaw that would fine people $100 for being homeless

Support services for homeless people in the area have been unavailable or suspended due to COVID-19, resulting in a recent increase in loitering. 

"The bylaw will penalize people who are poor, people who are homeless, people who are on the street because of mental health and addictions and primarily people that are Indigenous," said Marlene Elder who organized a "lunch and loiter" protest against the proposal. 

Speaking to ATPN National News, Elder added: "Kenora has a long history of removing what they see as a problem, distraction from the goods they have to offer to tourists."

In a meeting discussing the bylaw on July 14, Kenora Mayor Dan Reynard said that there needed to be a focus on public safety. 

The mayor noted that council received reports of assaults under the local Whitecap pavilion and assaults on police officers.

"It's obvious this summer that this issue has gotten a lot worse," he told KenoraOnline.

Opposing the bylaw, downtown business owner Mort Goss reminded the council that businesses already have the option to put "No Loitering" signs in their storefronts.

"What value do we have for now persecuting a bunch of people who have no place to live, that provincial and federal governments have not dealt with. It's come back down to us," Goss continued. 

I suggest what we're doing now is going to be counterproductive. It's retrograde, and it's going to cause a lot of grief."

Mayor Reynard also suggested longer-term solutions to the problem, including the introduction of 30 treatment beds in the area and 54 affordable housing units, however, these solutions are still months away.

The matter will be put to a vote on Tuesday.

Lead photo by

Tania Cameron

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