UPDATE: Jewish Tenants Ordered to Remove Their Mezuzahs from Their Apartment Doors?

Update: As of February 1, 2023

In response to concerns that the Jewish mezuzah would have to be removed due to fire safety concerns, I want to assure you that this matter has been resolved.

Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg has assured me that the mezuzah does not pose any fire risk and can remain affixed to door frames. I received a similar assurance from Mayor John Tory.

Thanks very much to Chief Pegg and Mayor Tory for quickly resolving this important issue.

Original statement: January 31, 2023

I have learned that a City of Toronto resident received a notice from their apartment building management requesting that all items affixed to doors and door frames be removed, citing the Ontario Fire Code and fire safety as the reason. This news alarmed me as the notice described the practice of hanging items on the door frame as “defac[ing] with personal décor… and symbols.” This notice highlights the general lack of awareness of what the Jewish mezuzah is.

A mezuzah is a parchment inscribed with religious texts enclosed by a decorative case and affixed to the doorpost of a Jewish home.

I am working with Mayor John Tory and Toronto Fire Services to ensure that residents are able to display religious objects such as the mezuzah on their doors, a religious practice that has been done for thousands of years.

Expression of religious freedom is a fundamental right in our city. We must do everything possible to ensure members of the Jewish community can display their mezuzahs in a responsible way and that their freedom of religion is preserved.

We will update the community on this.

James Pasternak

City of Toronto Councillor, Ward 6 – York Centre
Chair of North York Community Council
Chair of General Government Committee

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