As tenants in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood continue to advocate for better living conditions at multiple apartment buildings owned by MetCap Living, a shocking new video appears to show the company’s CEO nearly hit a protester with his pickup truck.
Kevin Laforest, who is seen running in front of a pick-up truck as it drives toward him, said he and others were at 135 Tyndall Ave. Tuesday morningto advocate on behalf of two seniors who were told they needed to leave for two days in order for painting to be done.
Laforest said they tried to talk to the landlord, but he refused to speak with them and then left with Metcap Living President and CEO Brent Merrill.
READ MORE: Parkdale tenants who launched rent strike say they’ve been given eviction notices
“When Brent was actually driving the landlord away, they actually hit a car on the way out, so (police) had to come respond to that,” Laforest told Global News.
“I was just surprised,” Laforest said. “I never really expected him to kind of keep going. I really would have thought he stopped.”
Laforest added he “couldn’t believe” how the interaction escalated.
“When you look at the original reason we were there, it was over $250,” he said. “It was accommodation for this elderly couple.”
He also said he suffered scratches and bruises and will be speaking with a criminal defence lawyer on Wednesday.
Global News contacted Toronto police Tuesday evening about the incident. A spokesperson for the service said she hasn’t received details about a possible call.
The video comes after several tenants living in six apartment buildings owned and operated by MetCap Living began a rent strike on May 1 to fight back against massive rent increases and the lack of repairs to their units.
WATCH: Parkdale residents refuse to pay rent to protest proposed hike. Cindy Pom reports. (May 1)
Residents say the buildings’ management company is increasing the rent by nine per cent over three years in addition to the provincially instituted guideline of 1.5 per cent this year.
Earlier this month, Merrill told Global News the three per cent increases over three years are only for some of the company’s buildings. He said the affected buildings need to be fixed.
“If you give me any issue a resident has, we will 100 per cent make sure it’s dealt with. That’s why we have a help line,” he said.
READ MORE: Parkdale tenants organize rent strike to protest rent increases at MetCap buildings
“The buildings are older and they need constant upkeep and repair. We’re entitled to put through an increase as a result of that under the legislation. If they didn’t pay their rent, they could get evicted, yes.”
Meanwhile, Laforest said he and others will continue to protest over conditions at buildings owned by MetCap Living.
Global News attempted to speak with Merrill about the video, but he was unavailable for comment as of Tuesday evening.
With files from David Shum
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