Tenants in the hallway of mixed social housing community Regent Park
Credits: JACK BOLAND/QMI AGENCY
A blanket ban on tenants with criminal records - including someone whose offence was 20 years ago or who is a member of a family unit in need of housing - could leave them without a roof over their heads, the minister said.
"The provision of housing by the public sector has been for those more marginalized populations and the reality is that people who have a criminal record fall into that category... where do we expect people to live?" Wynne said Thursday.
Asked why regular renters should be protected but not those people who live in social housing, Wynne said there are other tools that can be used such as the province's fast-track eviction process for public housing tenants actively engaged in criminal activity.
Someone who poses such a danger to the community should be quickly removed to protect the vulnerable people living in social housing, she said.
The minister said she has already planned to meet with new Toronto Community Housing Corporation CEO Gene Jones and she expects this issue to be discussed.
Premier Dalton McGuinty, Attorney General John Gerretsen and Children and Youth Services Minister Eric Hoskins will meet Monday with Mayor Rob Ford and Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair.
Gerretsen has drawn a great deal of attention for suggesting a handgun ban - something the province has no jurisdiction over - immediately following Monday's shooting in Toronto's east end, but the minister says that his government has been pushing for enhanced gun control for some time.
"I'm not trying to divert the attention away from our responsibilities at all, that's not my purpose at all," Gerretsen said. "It's just one piece of the puzzle ... the fewer handguns we have in Ontario, whether they're legal or otherwise, the less likely somebody's going to get hurt."
The minister also called for improved security at the international border to prevent the illegal importing of guns.
At the provincial level, Gerretsen said he expects to address the mayor's request for more funding for the Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS) when they meet Monday.
The Ontario government has already put more police officers on the street and invested in summer, after school and apprenticeship programs for the young, he said.
"The only way you're ever going to get rid of all of these violent kind of activities that may or may not be gang-related is by giving alternatives to youth," Gerretsen said.