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Commission launches consultation on Human Rights in rental housing

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May 9, 2007

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For immediate publication

Toronto - Today the Ontario Human Rights Commission released a background document and consultation paper on human rights in rental housing. Public meetings begin this June in Sudbury, Ottawa, Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto to hear people’s stories and bring much needed attention and action to this fundamental issue.

“Housing impacts quality of life and the socio-economic well-being of all communities,” commented Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall. “That is why we’re launching this initiative to promote public awareness and prevent discrimination and harassment in housing.”

Complaints to the Commission and social science research show that many individuals and groups face discrimination everyday while trying to rent or occupy an apartment or house including: Aboriginal persons; members of racialized communities; lone parents; gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals and couples; persons on social assistance; persons with disabilities; women; and older persons; among others.

United Nations’ treaties recognize access to adequate and affordable housing, without discrimination, as a universal human right, that provides the foundation for broader social inclusion and equality.

“It’s time we accept that many issues like poverty and the risk of homelessness are linked to prohibited grounds of discrimination under Ontario’s Human Rights Code”, added Chief Commissioner Hall. “Responsibility to act belongs in everyone’s backyard.”

More information about the public meetings including dates and locations will be posted on the Commission’s website. Individuals and groups can also make written submissions. The Commission will report back publicly on findings and recommendations, and will develop a new policy to help guide tenants and landlords to protect and promote their rights and responsibilities.

This initiative falls under the Commission’s mandate to conduct public inquiries, engage in research, develop public policy, undertake programs of public education and pursue remedies in the public interest under Ontario’s Human Rights Code.

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Afroze Edwards
Sr. Communications Officer
Communications and Issues Management
(416) 314-4528

Jeff Poirier
Senior Policy Analyst
Policy Education, Monitoring and Outreach Branch (PEMO)
Ontario Human Rights Commission