Trevors orders review of SCAN after botched evictions
Public Safety Minister Robert Trevors says he is confident that a botched eviction case conducted through the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods law is an isolated incident.
Trevors is conducting an internal review into the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods law after Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Peter Glennie issued a critical decision over the provincial government attempt to evict three people from social housing units.
"This is what we should get out of our review. We're reviewing our process, we're very confident in our employees, but we'll get this out of our review," Trevors said on Tuesday.
The law allows the provincial government to force out suspected drug dealers and others without convicting them of a crime.
In the Saint John case, Glennie ruled the provincial government relied on false information and hearsay evidence, something Trevors said is not supposed to happen.
However, the public safety minister said he believes the problematic evictions in Saint John are not indicative of broader problems with the law.
"We're very confident that this is the only case in any of our procedures so far. Our review will show us what the judge said. I respect the judge's review,” Trevors said.
Liberal MLA Victor Boudreau said Trevors’s department needs to explain how this particular investigation went so badly.
"We have no issues with the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act. We think it's a good piece of legislation. But there needs to be consistency in the way it's dealt with across the province,” he said.
The judge also criticized the provincial government for not telling social housing residents that they can appeal an eviction to the Office of the Ombudsman.
Since 2011, social housing residents who face eviction under this law have not been told they can appeal to the Office of the Ombudsman.
Social Development Minister Madeleine Dubé said she has ordered her staff to correct that problem, which Glennie identified in his ruling.
Dubé said anyone facing an eviction under this law will be told of their ability to appeal the provincial government’s decision to the independent office.