Update on Swansea Mews emergency response
TORONTO, June 13, 2022—Toronto Community Housing is acting to support its tenants following an order from the City of Toronto's Chief Building Official to vacate Swansea Mews.
Third-party structural engineers hired to assist Toronto Community Housing to identify the factors that contributed to the incident have found two more concrete panels similar to the panel that fell on May 27. This finding means the risk of another concrete panel falling suddenly and without warning is greater than was originally identified.
Based on this new information, the City of Toronto's Chief Building Official has issued an order that requires TCHC to begin to vacate all buildings in Swansea Mews. The Ontario Building Code gives the City's Chief Building Official the authority to issue this order on the basis that the building poses an immediate danger to health and safety. The City's Chief Building Official has made the decision that, in light of the findings of third-party engineers, buildings in Swansea Mews are not currently safe for occupancy.
To protect the safety of tenants Toronto Community Housing is implementing an orderly, immediate plan to assist the 78 households still living in Swansea Mews to vacate their homes. The Order does not terminate the tenancy of impacted TCHC tenants.
Thirty-six (36) households have already vacated the community to temporary lodgings in Humber College dormitories or hotels. TCHC is continuing to work with third-party organizations to provide these households with a full range of supports while they are out of the community. To date, Humber College has played a critical role in welcoming tenants into temporary accommodation and TCHC is grateful for their compassion and sense of urgency.
The Chief Building Official's order requires TCHC to vacate Swansea Mews until such time as work is completed that will make it safe for tenants to return. At this time, TCHC cannot predict how long it will require in order to address the concerns that give rise to the Order. In the event that homes need to remain vacant until TCHC commences its planned refurbishment of Swansea Mews, TCHC's plan is to relocate households from temporary accommodation into stable, suitable housing that meets their specific needs. A relocation agreement for transfer within the TCHC portfolio, signed with each eligible household, will provide a right to return to the Swansea Mews community.
A dedicated hotline has been set up for Swansea Mews tenants who need supports. Tenants can reach out by phone at 416-945-0900 or by email at Swansea.Mews@torontohousing.ca.
On May 27, TCHC offered temporary accommodation to any households in Block H, where the incident occurred, who wished to vacate their homes, and engaged third-party structural engineers to identify the factors that contributed to the incident. Initial engineering reports found defects dating back to the construction of Swansea Mews which could not have been detected by routine inspections.
"This is a disruptive and stressful time for the Swansea Mews community. Following the order from the Chief Building Official, we will need to vacate all households to temporary accommodation to protect their safety. We are deeply committed to supporting the Swansea Mews community through this, giving them the full supports that they need to understand this order, as well as providing them temporary accommodation while we put a plan into action for their long-term relocation to stable, suitable housing in the TCHC portfolio."
"We are working with the City of Toronto to better understand the factors that contributed to the incident that occurred on May 27, including the history of the construction of Swansea Mews. We have asked the City to help us find the original documentation from the time Swansea Mews was built, to possibly identify the manufacturer of the concrete panels. We are also coordinating tenant relocation and support structures with the City."
"As well, we are inspecting other TCHC properties of similar construction and age, and strongly urge other housing providers to conduct the same due diligence."
—TCHC President and CEO, Jag Sharma
About Toronto Community Housing
Toronto Community Housing (www.torontohousing.ca) is Canada's largest social housing provider. We provide homes for nearly 60,000 low- and moderate-income households in neighbourhoods across the city.