The lack of affordable and suitable housing across Ontario was raised by individuals with mental health and addiction disabilities, and organizations. Statistics Canada’s 2006 Participation Activity Limitation Survey (PALS) shows that in Ontario, people with “emotional” disabilities are more likely to be in core housing need than the non-disabled population and people with other types of disabilities.
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.
- Policy on human rights and rental housing
- Human rights for tenants (brochure)
- Human rights in housing: an overview for landlords (brochure)
- Writing a fair rental housing ad (fact sheet)
- Guidelines on developing human rights policies and procedures
- Discrimination based on disability and the duty to accommodate: Information for housing providers
On municipal responsibilities in planning and licensing housing:
For other publications on housing, click “Resource Types” on the left-hand panel.
Zoning in on zoning
Every day, people across Ontario face barriers to finding or keeping rental housing because of disability, age, race, creed, sexual orientation, disability, receipt of social assistance, family status, and other grounds of the Human Rights Code. These barriers often arise because landlords make assumptions about people based on characteristics that usually have nothing to do with their ability to be good tenants.
Employers, housing providers, educators and other responsible parties covered by the Code have the ultimate responsibility for maintaining an inclusive environment that is free from discrimination and harassment, and where everyone’s human rights are respected. Organizations and institutions operating in Ontario have a legal duty to take steps to prevent and respond to situations involving competing rights.
Two public interest inquiries by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) will explore if new rental housing licensing bylaws in North Bay and Waterloo create discriminatory barriers to rental housing. The inquiries are being conducted under the OHRC’s Human Rights Code mandate to promote, advance and protect human rights in Ontario.
2012 - This guide offers an overview of the human rights responsibilities of municipalities in housing. It offers information about the various legislated tools municipalities have, and shows some examples of how municipal planners, councillors, Housing Service Managers, District Social Service Boards and others can use “best practices” to overcome discriminatory neighbourhood opposition and promote housing that is free from discrimination. The guide can also be a resource for organizations and advocates who are working with municipalities to advance human rights in housing.
In 2007, the OHRC conducted a consultation on discrimination in rental housing. We heard about the concerns that many people with mental health and addiction issues face in renting and keeping housing. We reported on these concerns in Right at home: Report on the consultation on human rights and rental housing in Ontario, and developed our Policy on human rights and rental housing.
This document explains the legal backdrop for the Commission’s Policy Framework. It is divided into two main sections. The first provides an overview and summary of key legal principles from some significant legal decisions. This section aims to help readers understand the relevant legal background when seeking to conciliate or otherwise reconcile competing rights claims. The second part of the document surveys the leading cases that deal with competing rights. It also provides examples of situations where the leading cases, and the key principles from them, have been applied by courts and tribunals. It is divided by the types of rights conflicts that most commonly arise. The cases are discussed in some detail as the specific factual context of each case is so important to the rights reconciliation process.
“Government does not recognize housing as a human right.”
(Older Women’s Network)
Throughout the consultation process, the Commission heard concerns about the need for more accessible and affordable housing and for special needs housing for seniors including those who are homeless. Submissions also highlighted that the principle of “aging in place” is central to any discussion, policy or program efforts concerning housing for older persons.
Section 2 of the Code protects older persons against discrimination in housing. This right applies to renting, being evicted, building rules and regulations, repairs and use of services and facilities. Housing includes a range of accommodation options including rental accommodation, condominiums, retirement homes and care facilities. There can be some overlap between housing and services, for example seniors’ residences in which services such as housekeeping, meals or medical assistance are provided.
The ground of family status was added to the Code in 1982. Until 1986, the Code contained an exception permitting residential buildings or parts of residential buildings to be designated as adult only. Unlike in the areas of employment and services, there has been significant litigation regarding family status issues in the area of housing, particularly in the Ontario context.