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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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

  4. City of Waterloo Council Meeting - May 9, 2011 - Proposed rental housing licensing By-law (Speaking notes by Barbara Hall)

    Speaking notes by Barbara Hall
    Chief Commissioner, Ontario Human Rights Commission
    Check against delivery

    Introduction

    Mayor and Members of Council, over the past few months, staff of the City of Waterloo have worked closely with us at the Ontario Human Rights Commission – the OHRC – to create a rental housing licensing by-law that respects and advances the human rights of tenants while meeting, as much as possible, the City's operational needs.

  5. Writing a fair rental housing ad (fact sheet)

    Landlords and tenants want to comply with housing-related laws, but they don’t always know all the rules. Both landlord and tenant groups want to increase awareness about human rights in housing and to end discrimination. The Ontario Human Rights Commission created this guide to help landlords who are advertising their rental units and organizations that provide housing listings to prevent human rights violations and avoid complaints.

  6. Spreading the message about human rights in housing: you can help!

    June 1, 2011 - At the Ontario Human Rights Commission, we have heard many stories of discrimination in rental housing. Some people face discrimination right at the beginning of their search – in rental housing advertisements. Tenants and advocates have brought a number of these ads to our attention. As a result, we are working with partners in housing and the media to increase awareness of human rights in housing, and find ways to prevent and address discriminatory ads.
  7. Human rights and mental health (fact sheet)

    The Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code) provides for equal rights and opportunities, and freedom from discrimination. The Code recognizes the dignity and worth of every person in Ontario and applies to the areas of employment, housing, goods, facilities and services, contracts, and membership in unions, trade or professional associations. In Ontario, the law protects you from discrimination and harassment in these areas because of mental health disabilities and addictions. This includes past, present and perceived conditions.

  8. The shadow of the law: Surveying the case law dealing with competing rights claims

    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.

  9. RE: Proposed North Bay Rental Housing Licensing By-law

    June 28, 2011 - Over the past two years, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has monitored and reviewed rental housing licensing bylaws in various municipalities. Rental housing licensing is a relatively new option for municipalities, and our goal has been to make sure that these bylaws, even unintentionally, do not create barriers and discrimination in housing for vulnerable people who are protected under the grounds of the Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code).

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