November 23, 2012 - The Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) is proposing amendments to the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) 2005 on land use planning issued under the Planning Act (Act). The Act requires the PPS be reviewed every five years. The Ministry began the review in March 2010. The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) is pleased to see proposed amendments that address some of the concerns and recommendations from its initial submission made in 2010 as well as other amendments that would further advance protection for human rights. The OHRC especially welcomes proposed additions that would recognize the interests of Aboriginal communities.
In a decision on October 31, the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) granted the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) party status in the Lynwood Charlton Centre’s appeal of a decision by the City of Hamilton. The OHRC requested party status because of its concerns about human rights issues when the City turned down Lynwood Charlton’s request to move its housing for eight teenage girls with mental health issues.
Toronto – The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has made a formal request to the Ontario Municipal Board to intervene in the Lynwood Charlton Centre’s appeal of a decision by the City of Hamilton. This step is based on the OHRC’s concerns about human rights issues when the City denied Lynwood Charlton the zoning required to move housing for eight teenage girls with mental health issues.
Discriminatory opposition to affordable housing for groups protected under the Code (“Not-in-my-backyard” syndrome or “NIMBYism”) makes it much harder to develop affordable social and supportive housing for people with mental health issues or addictions.
Toronto – The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) today released Minds that matter: Report on the consultation on human rights, mental health and addictions. This report outlines what the OHRC heard in its largest-ever policy consultation across Ontario, and sets out a number of key recommendations and OHRC commitments to address human rights issues that affect people with mental health disabilities or addictions.
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.
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.
Your Worship and Councillors, I am writing to restate my concerns about the human rights implications raised by the zoning application by the Lynwood Charlton Centre. As stated in my letter of January 24, 2012, applying the radial separation distance to this application makes one ask whether the City of Hamilton is creating discriminatory barriers for vulnerable people.