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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. 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.
  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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).
  5. Re: Bill 140, Strong Communities through Affordable Housing Act, 2011

    April 5, 2011 - On behalf of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, I would like to congratulate you on bringing forward Bill 140. The Bill is receiving general support for taking positive steps on oversight, local planning and flexibility for delivery of affordable housing services, as well as for its requirements on municipal zoning laws permitting second unit apartments. However, concerns remain about very long waiting lists for limited availability of affordable housing in Ontario.
  6. Re: Submission of the Ontario Human Rights Commission on Bill 21, an Act to regulate retirement homes

    May 14, 2010 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) supports the regulation of retirement homes across the province. However, we ask the Committee to consider specific recommendations to amend the Bill to enhance the ability of retirement homes providers to meet their obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code (Code)
  7. Re: Draft new Zoning By-Law

    May 18, 2010 - In September 2009, we raised concerns about the human rights impacts of placing restrictions on housing types which could lead to discrimination against some groups. Many of these concerns have not been resolved by the current draft of the zoning by-law. We strongly encourage the City of Toronto to look again at our September 2009 submission (a copy of which is attached) and our recommendations to resolve the human rights issues.

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