She may be the unluckiest renter in Toronto.
Kathleen says bedbugs have forced her to move 11 times in the past six years.
The 45-year-old doesn’t even want her last name used because she says she’s already lost one job over the tiny critters.
“I was a normal person, I had a job and a nice apartment and this has completely broken my life,” she said.
She claims she first picked them up in 2010 after volunteering at a community centre in Regent Park.
That marked the beginning of a “downward spiral.”
Kathleen says she lost her job because she “made the mistake” of coming clean with her employers.
“I literally walked away with nothing but my health card in some cases, just trying to completely rid myself of them, only to end up in other buildings that were also infested,” she explained.
Now she lives outside of Toronto and wants all three levels of government — and the scientific community — to recognize bedbugs are a “national crisis.”
That’s why she spent Friday with placards outside City Hall, demanding more action in the battle against bedbugs.
“I went through all the proper protocol,” Kathleen said. “This isn’t a landlord and tenant issue anymore.”
She even had a friend — a private landlord from St. Catharines — dress up like a brown bedbug called Badness the Bedbug, which attracted curious looks from passersby.
The city’s website says if a landlord refuses to help with bedbugs, the tenant can contact a legal clinic, the landlord and tenant board, or Toronto Public Health.