FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government is proposing legislative changes to remove one of the financial barriers that prevents some victims of violence from leaving an abusive situation.
Amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act introduced today will allow victims of domestic violence, intimate partner violence, sexual violence or stalking to end their lease early.
“These changes are an important part of a bigger picture in supporting victims of violence,” said Service New Brunswick Minister Sherry Wilson, who is also minister responsible for Women’s Equality. “This is a positive change by removing a barrier for victims to leave an abusive situation, as living in one is dangerous and harmful to them and their children. It is also important to note that safety measures need to be taken as actual or pending separation is a risk factor for domestic homicide.That is why, as a government, and as a society, we must all do our part to help end gender-based-violence.”
Those with fixed term or year-to-year leases will be able to give one months notice rather than the current three months. Fixed term leases have specified notice periods. For a tenant to qualify for early termination of a lease, they will be required to provide the landlord, with one of the following:
- an emergency intervention order;
- an order of the court; or
- a verification statement (new form to be created) provided by a system contact with the victim (e.g. peace officers; victims services co-ordinators; domestic violence outreach workers, crisis intervener or support worker, or indigenous chief or elder).
Under the proposed legislation, New Brunswick would join nine provinces and territories that have changed their residential tenancies legislation in a similar manner.
Today’s legislative amendments are one of a series of legislative changes aimed at better supporting those experiencing domestic violence, intimate partner violence, sexual violence or stalking. Over the past two years the following legislative changes have been made:
- The Insurance Act no longer penalizes victims for damages caused by an abusive partner.
- The Occupational Health and Safety Act now requires employers to assess the risk of violence in the workplace.
- The Employment Standards Act now allows victims of domestic, intimate partner violence or sexual violence to apply for leave from work.
- The new Intimate Partner Violence Intervention Act allows victims to apply for an emergency intervention order.