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Housing

Use of the term “accommodation” refers to housing. You have the right to equal treatment when buying, selling, renting or being evicted from an apartment, house, condominium or commercial property. This right also covers renting or being evicted from a hotel room. 

The Code applies to terms and conditions in contracts and leases such as the amount of rent, security deposits, the requirement of guarantors, occupants’ rules and regulations, lease termination and eviction. Your right to housing without discrimination also includes suitable access to doors, laundry rooms, swimming pools, other common areas, repairs and other aspects of housing.
 
The Code does not apply if you have a “personality conflict” with the landlord or another tenant that is not linked to a Code ground. Also, the Code does not apply if you share a bathroom or kitchen with the owner or the owner’s family.
 
The Code also applies to municipalities, as both regulators and providers of housing. They must ensure that their bylaws, processes and decisions do not target or disproportionately affect groups relating to a Code ground. 
 
OHRC policies, guides and other publications include:
 
On human rights and rental housing:

For other publications on housing, click “Resource Types” on the left-hand panel.

  1. Comment of the Ontario Human Rights Commission on the City of Toronto's Proposed Zoning By-law

    September 2009 - The Commission is providing comment on the City's proposed zoning by-law because the by-law has the potential to affect the housing rights of many people across the City, particularly with respect to those living in affordable housing (group homes, seniors' residences, shelters, lodging houses, etc.). The right to be free from discrimination in housing under the Code could extend to the development of affordable housing projects for people and groups identified by the Code. In addition, the Commission believes it is important to highlight the City's progressive vision of housing and human rights through its newly developed Housing Charter.
  2. Submission of the Ontario Human Rights Commission to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing's long-term affordable housing strategy

    December 2009 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission (the “OHRC”), commends the Province of Ontario for identifying the need for a long-term affordable housing strategy. The development of such a strategy was one of the main recommendations coming out of the OHRC’s own housing consultation report, Right at Home. The OHRC is very pleased to contribute to the Province’s development of this strategy. This written submission complements Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall’s verbal input to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s roundtable consultation sessions held on both June 22, 2009 and November 3, 2009.
  3. Human rights in housing: an overview for landlords (brochure)

    2011 - International law says that people in Canada should be able to get good housing that they can afford. To help achieve this in Ontario, tenants and landlords (or housing providers) have rights and responsibilities under the Human Rights Code. Under the Code, everyone has the right to equal treatment in housing without discrimination and harassment. As a landlord, you are responsible for making sure the housing you operate is free from discrimination and harassment.

  4. Human rights for tenants (brochure)

    2011 - International law says that people in Canada should be able to get good housing that they can afford. To help achieve this in Ontario, tenants and landlords (or housing providers) have rights and responsibilities under the Human Rights Code. As a tenant, you have the right to equal treatment in housing without discrimination and harassment.

  5. Comment of the Ontario Human Rights Commission on Every Door is the Right Door: Towards a 10-Year Mental Health and Addictions Strategy - Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

    August 2009 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission, (the “Commission”) commends the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (“Ministry”) for its work on an improved strategy to meet the needs of Ontarians with mental illnesses and addictions. The Commission is pleased to provide its input on this discussion paper, particularly with respect to the sections on Stigma and Healthy Communities.
  6. Comment of the Ontario Human Rights Commission on the City of Oshawa's student accommodation strategy

    March 2010 - The OHRC has made a commitment to educating and addressing human rights concerns regarding opposition to affordable housing, which has the potential to discriminate against groups protected by the Code. Oshawa has been attempting to address the student housing issue since it has been dealing with community tensions raised due to post-secondary off-campus student accommodation. Oshawa's strategy may have an impact on land use planning in communities across Ontario responding to similar tensions.
  7. Submission of the Ontario Human Rights Commission to the Standing Committee on Social Policy on an Act to regulate retirement homes

    May 2010 - Through its various consultations on age, disability, housing, and mental health, the OHRC has heard about the human rights concerns that have arisen with respect to retirement homes. For example, it has heard about retirement home providers not accommodating older residents' disabilities. It has heard about issues of heterosexism and homophobia, where gay, lesbian or bisexual people's lives were not recognized and their partners not acknowledged, or they were subjected to homophobic treatment by facility staff. Several groups expressed concern regarding the cultural, linguistic, and religious needs of older persons living in care facilities.
  8. Comment of the Ontario Human Rights Commission on the Provincial Policy Statement - 2005

    2010 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission (the OHRC) thanks the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) for the opportunity to comment on the Provincial Policy Statement, 2005 (PPS). The Province of Ontario (the Province) is requesting submissions as part of the five-year review of the PPS. The OHRC will focus its comments on sections that may have human rights implications, and in particular on elements that have implications for including or excluding people from Ontario Human Rights Code-protected groups.
  9. Sexual harassment in housing (fact sheet)

    The Ontario Human Rights Code says everyone has the right to be free from sexual harassment by their landlord, someone working for their landlord, or someone who lives in the same building. Because landlords are in a position of authority, and have access to apartments and often hold personal information, tenants can feel very threatened when they are sexually harassed. This may be especially true for low-income, racialized, gay and lesbian people, people with disabilities and other people identified by the Code who are sometimes targeted for sexual harassment.

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