Demand a Coroner's Investigation Into the Deaths at Osgoode Chambers

Demand a Coroner's Investigation Into the Deaths at Osgoode Chambers

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Petition to
Louise McNaughton-Filion (Regional Supervising Coroner for East Region, Ottawa Office) and

Why this petition matters

Since July 2020, four tenants have died at 168 and 170 Osgoode Street in the Sandy Hill neighbourhood of Ottawa. These two building addresses make up part of the large Osgoode Chambers rooming house. We are demanding a coroner's investigation into the deaths at this rooming house and the potential of criminal neglect on the part of the landlord, 146 Osgoode Street Holdings Inc., which is led by Tamer Abaza and his company Smart Living Properties.

Alexander Faulkner was the first to pass away, sometime around the beginning of July 2020, around the same time Smart Living first issued N13 renoviction notices to the entire block of rooming houses. No cause of death could be determined because his body was in such a bad state, not from length of time, but from the rats and insects at the property. Robert Gagnon passed away in February 2021, James Grzesik on September 28, 2021, and William Weaver on January 6, 2022.

In the months leading up to James' passing, he was struggling to cope with the lack of maintenance in his room and the cockroaches and bedbugs. His back door constantly blew open in the middle of the night, exposing him to the outside elements and he was resorting to dousing his room with over-the-counter bug spray. The day William died, a neighbour found his cane in the second-floor washroom. William had told Smart Living over and over again to fix the first-floor toilet, yet they refused. William had COPD and heart conditions and he was on oxygen and could barely make it up a few stairs without gasping for air. Smart Living's neglect forced him to climb a full flight of stairs, and William died of a heart attack shortly after.

Since July 2020, all of these tenants had eviction notices hanging over their heads, knowing full well that Smart Living property manager Howard Kravitz made it clear that the landlord didn't want them living there anymore. Many tenants at Osgoode Chambers had been homeless in the past, and the thought and stress of being made homeless again caused severe mental anguish.

For over a year, James and William fought hard with their neighbours against the renovictions. Because of their organized efforts, they got to stay at the property, but Smart Living still refused to fully treat the pest infestations and fix major problems with their building, even after being presented with a third-party building inspector's report the tenant's commissioned.

In preparation for their renoviction hearing in April 2021, James and William provided affidavits to Smart Living and their lawyer John Dickie outlining the full extent of their health conditions. Smart Living knew of their conditions yet refused to provide even the most basic accommodations. Instead, they continued to subject them to inhumane conditions. Several former and current tenants believe the abuse they've experienced from their landlord constitutes criminal neglect.

By signing this petition, we are calling on the coroner to launch an inquest into Smart Living's potential involvement in the deaths of the tenants at Osgoode Chambers. Slumlords like Tamer Abaza and Smart Living must be exposed for the serious mental, physical and emotional violence they inflict on tenants on a daily basis.

62 have signed. Let’s get to 100!