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Re: Residents angry over housing project

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November 14, 2007

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Letters to the Editor
The Toronto Star
1 Yonge Street
Toronto ON  
M5E 1E6

Dear Editor:

The Ontario Human Rights Commission has identified discriminatory NIMBY “Not in My Back Yard” opposition as a human rights concern and a major barrier to the development of much needed affordable and supportive housing.

Questions about land use are a legitimate part of the planning process. However, meetings that allow people to determine who lives in their neighbourhood are another matter. 

Persons and groups identified under the Ontario Human Rights Code should not have to ask permission from prospective neighbours before moving in. Efforts to keep out persons with disabilities, including mental illness, are no less offensive than preventing racialized persons from moving into a neighbourhood.

One in five Canadians will experience mental illness and yet be good citizens and good neighbours in every community across the province. There is no place for assuming a link between mental illness and criminality. I applaud Councillor Mammoliti for his efforts as chair of the affordable housing committee to prevent such stereotyping of persons with mental illness. 

Yours truly,

Barbara Hall, B.A., LL.B, Ph.D (hon.)
Chief Commissioner