Evictions in Canada and tenants’ rights

Updated May 25, 2023

Eviction is the term for a landlord removing a tenant from their rental property, essentially by ending the rental agreement. There are many reasons for a landlord to evict their tenant. Most reasons are valid, but there are plenty of examples of landlords removing their tenants in bad faith, too.

Regardless of the landlord’s motivation for evicting their tenant, tenants always have rights. In Canada, those rights vary from province to province, so it can be hard for a tenant to know what recourse they have if their landlord ends their tenancy.

On this page, you’ll find a quick overview of the most typical reasons for a landlord to evict their tenants. We’ll also explain a few common terms you might here if you’re dealing with an eviction. And finally, you’ll find links to province-specific eviction information as well.

Eviction notice letter inside an envelope

The typical reasons for eviction

While tenancy legislation varies between provinces, a tenant’s basic rights when faced with eviction are similar across Canada.

Broadly speaking, there are three valid reasons for a landlord to evict a tenant:

  1. The tenant has done something wrong, such as not paying rent or disturbing other residents.
  2. The landlord wishes to use the rental unit for themselves or their family.
  3. The landlord is renovating, converting, demolishing, or selling the rental unit.

These reasons apply differently in each province—some have much stricter rules than others. In some cases, these reasons don’t even apply. That’s why it’s important as a tenant to know the rights you have in your home province.

It’s worth noting that most reasons to evict a tenant are uncommon—more than 90% of eviction applications relate to non-payment of rent.

Useful eviction terminology

There are a few concepts that will be useful to understand before proceeding to the specific page for your home province:

  • Eviction for cause. When a tenant is evicted “for cause,” it means they’ve failed to follow their responsibilities under the law or their tenancy agreement. That can range from unreasonable noise disturbances to endangering other residents or even keeping a dog when the landlord has forbidden pets. Non-payment of rent is another for-cause eviction. However, non-payment evictions normally have separate rules.
  • Eviction for landlord’s use. When a landlord is evicting a tenant because they want to live in the rental unit themselves, or have a family member move in, it’s known as “landlord’s use.” Landlord’s use also usually encompasses the sale of the property, conversion to condo lots, major renovations, or demolition. Though this, too, varies from province to province.
  • Bad faith eviction. An eviction in “bad faith” refers to a situation where a landlord misrepresents their reasons for evicting a tenant just to get that tenant out of the rental suite. A common example of a bad faith eviction would be a landlord saying a tenant must move out due to upcoming renovations, but bringing in a new tenant without doing any renovations.
  • Moving out after being evicted. In each province, there is a process to follow for evicting a tenant, and the tenant has the right to stay in their rental home until that process is concluded. Only in the most extreme circumstances can a landlord remove a tenant immediately. A tenant will almost always have the chance to appeal the eviction through mediation. Ideally, an evicted tenant will move out by the date they’re ordered to. But, even once an eviction is final, the landlord still cannot forcibly remove a tenant, by changing locks or otherwise. Evicting a tenant who refuses to leave requires an official order, and will always be handled by a legal authority such as a court bailiff—never by the landlord.

Eviction rules and tenants’ rights by province

Unfortunately, that’s just about as far as we can get with general information about evictions.

While tenants in each province have many of the same rights, the specifics about the eviction process vary widely—timelines, appeal processes, and legal eviction reasons all depend on local regulations.

To make things easier, we’ve collected the basic eviction processes and tenants’ rights for the provinces on the list below. Visit the link for your home province to find specific details, and links to further resources if you need more information.

Commonly asked questions

How does eviction work in Canada?

In Canada, matters of housing and tenancy are mostly under provincial jurisdiction. Accordingly, the eviction process differs from province to province. Regardless of province, however, tenants have certain rights. In all cases, a landlord must follow the proper legal process and give the required notice to evict a tenant. Landlords also never have the authority to physically remove tenants; they can’t change the locks or remove the tenant’s belongings from the rental suite. Forced removal requires a legal order and will be carried out by an authorized agent—usually a sheriff or bailiff.

How long does an eviction stay on your record in Canada?

There is no official record of evictions in Canada. However, evictions that make it as far as a provincial tenancy board would be recorded. In some provinces, like Ontario, a landlord could theoretically access some previous eviction decisions from the LTB.

Or, if you’re evicted for missed rent, your landlord could report you to a credit bureau like Equifax or TransUnion. If they do, that missed payment would likely remain on your credit report for six years.

Can you be evicted in winter in Canada?

It’s a common misconception that there are restrictions on evicting tenants during the winter months. However, this is not the case. As long as a landlord follows the correct process, they can evict a tenant in any month of the year.

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