Canada has recognized that adequate housing is a fundamental human right in international instruments such as the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Canada has also agreed to take appropriate steps towards realizing the right to adequate 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.
- 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.
At every step of the consultation, people shared their experiences, feelings and insights. These personal perspectives play a key role whenever human rights issues are considered. Each story offers one person’s glimpse of a larger issue affecting people across Ontario.
In May 2007, the Commission initiated a public consultation with the launch of background and consultation papers both entitled Human Rights and Rental Housing in Ontario. Beginning in June 2007, the Commission held public and private meetings in four cities across the province to hear about the extent of the problems and to identify potential solutions. Around 130 organizations and an additional 24 individuals participated in afternoon consultation meetings in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ottawa, Sudbury and Toronto, and over 100 people participated in evening sessions in these locations.
February 11, 2008 - We understand that Oshawa City Council is holding a meeting tonight to discuss a proposed bylaw that would limit student housing options in designated neighbourhoods around the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Durham College.
“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.
Section 2 of the Code prohibits discrimination in housing based on family status. This right applies to renting, being evicted, building rules and regulations, repairs, harassment, and use of services and facilities.
Housing in the news
When discussing a bill to prohibit discrimination in housing, Liberal leader John Wintermeyer said the bill didn’t go far enough, because it only applied to rental housing with more than six units.
“We are in no way interfering with the rights of individuals to choose their own friends and operate their own homes as they see fit,” said Premier Leslie Frost.
Reginal Gisborn (CCF) hoped that this was only the beginning in promoting equal opportunity in housing accommodation.