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International human rights instruments have recognized adequate housing as a human right. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,[102] ratified by Canada in 1976, states in Article 11(1) that:

The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions. The States Parties will take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of this right, recognizing to this effect the essential importance of international cooperation based on free consent.

The General Comment on the Right to Adequate Housing by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights[103] emphasizes that the enjoyment of the right to adequate housing must not be subject to any form of discrimination. As well, it clarifies that the right is to adequate housing, including considerations of security of tenure, accessibility, habitability, and affordability, among others. Financial costs associated with housing should not be at a level where the attainment and satisfaction of other basic needs are compromised or threatened. The right to adequate housing has also been affirmed in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, [104] and the Convention on the Rights of the Child,[105] which Canada has also ratified.

The 1977 report on the Commission’s mandate, Life Together, expressed concerns about the lack of protection in the Human Rights Code against discrimination in housing based on marital and family status. At that time, the Code prohibited discrimination based on marital status only in employment, and did not prohibit discrimination based on family status at all. The report noted that the Commission was receiving many reports of discrimination in housing against persons who were single, divorced, or separated. It also noted the extreme difficulty that families with children were having accessing housing in some communities. The report recommended expanding the protections of the Code to deal with these issues, stating that:

The crucial question ... is whether or not enough suitable housing accommodation for families with children is available within a particular area or community. If the answer is “no”, the “adults only” policies which discriminate against families with children should not be allowed.[106]

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. As a result, the case law in Ontario generally recognizes broad protection in housing context for the parent-child relationship. Beginning with Fakhoury v. Las Brisas Ltd.[107], tribunals have recognized the rights and importance of families and of the need to protect housing rights. The caselaw has steadily expanded the scope of the family-status protection to include denial of housing to a woman because she is pregnant, to combat animus against single parent families, and to provide protection to families where the parents are not legally married. [108] A range of issues related to family status has been successfully addressed in the caselaw. Tribunals have found that the stipulation of a minimum number of bedrooms based upon the number and gender of the children may have the result of impeding the access of single-parent families to housing.[109] Tribunals have also found against restrictions in apartment buildings to “families” where that designation excludes single parent families or common-law couples.[110] Restrictions on children in condominimiums have been declared contrary to the Code,[111] as have restrictions on the use of condominium facilities by children.[112]

However, more than 20 years after the inclusion of family status in the Code, family status is still among the most commonly cited grounds of discrimination in complaints regarding housing.

Numerous reports detail the lack of access to safe, affordable, adequate housing for families with children, particularly female-headed single parent families. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (“CMHC”), 42 percent of single parents are in core housing need.[113] The City of Toronto Report on Homelessness stated that families represented 46 percent of the people using hostels in Toronto in 1996. At that time, 19 percent of the homeless population in Toronto, or 5,300 homeless people were children. Of the 100,000 people on the waiting list for subsidized housing, 31,000 were children.[114]

The problem is especially grave for families from racialized communities. Of Aboriginal single parent households in urban centres, 70 percent are in core housing need. While over 30 percent of female single parents who identify as ethno-racially European are homeowners, only 4.5 percent of female single parents who identify as African, Black or Caribbean are.[115] Single parent recent immigrant families also experience significantly higher levels of core housing need.

There has been, for a number of years, scant new supply of affordable rental housing. When vacancy rates are low, landlords can rent to households that are perceived to be “less risky”, with the result that low-income households are marginalized in the search for housing and are forced to accept housing that is less affordable, or is of poorer quality.[116] One Aboriginal single mother, responding to a survey on child poverty, said:

I was looking for apartments and [found out] nobody wants you. Nobody wants you if you are on assistance. Nobody wants you if you have kids. Nobody wants you if you are young. [117]

While the OHRC has most often heard reports of discrimination with respect to the private rental market, concerns have also been raised regarding allocation of social housing. [118] Frequently, social housing providers lack adequate internal complaint mechanisms for responding to issues of discrimination in the selection of tenants.

In addition to experiencing direct refusals of rental accommodation, families with young children are marginalized in the rental housing market by their low income. In Toronto, families of four who use food banks spend 70 percent of their income on rent, leaving only $3.65 per person per day to spend on clothing, food, transportation, personal care, and other expenses.[119] A survey on Aboriginal child poverty found that in Toronto, Aboriginal families with children are often paying between 50 and 75 percent of their income in rent.[120]

In the most extreme circumstances, families find themselves living in shelters. Shelter surveys indicate a dramatic increase in usage by women with children, particularly Aboriginal and Black women.[121] Single parent families enter the shelter system at twice the rate of two-parent families. [122]

Safety is an important concern when women are looking for housing. The constant struggle to find adequate, affordable housing is particularly disruptive for women and children. Many women return to abusive relationships because they have no other place to go.[123] The jury in the Coroner’s Inquest into the murder of Gillian Hadley by her former husband recognized the key role of the lack of affordable housing alternatives in the ongoing exposure of Gillian Hadley to her ex-husband and made a number of recommendations aimed at increasing the access of women and children to affordable housing.[124]

Lack of access to adequate, affordable housing has long-term consequences. For example, children in families spending the majority of their income on rent are at a higher risk of malnutrition and respiratory and other diseases. [125] Links have also been made between housing and neighbourhood characteristics and children’s educational achievements. Children’s socio-emotional health is strongly associated with housing quality.[126] A recent study found that the deteriorating housing circumstances in Toronto are a significant factor in the admission of children to the care of the Children’s Aid Society: families and children who are clients of the CAS in Toronto face substantial obstacles to obtaining adequate and appropriate housing, and for some this affects their ability to care for their children.[127]

What are the barriers to adequate, affordable housing for individuals with caregiving responsibilities?

What can be done to improve access to adequate, affordable housing for families?

Access to Housing

Refusal to Rent to Families with Children

A number of reports have indicated that discrimination plays a substantial role in determining who gets and is able to keep adequate, affordable housing. The City of Toronto Report on Homelessness[128] states that:

[I]t is not uncommon for families that are staying in shelters or in motels, families with good credit histories and good references, to be refused an apartment by many different landlords. Discrimination can make the housing market impenetrable for those most in need of housing.

This is corroborated by the consistent pattern of complaints to the OHRC on housing issues. As one report stated, “focussing on the supply of rental housing will not solve the housing crisis if those that most need housing are still turned away by the unchecked discrimination of landlords”. [129]

In a recent decision, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal found that a single mother was denied the opportunity to rent an apartment after the landlord discovered that she had a child. The landlord stated that he would not rent the apartment to a family with children, and further refused to return the complainant’s deposit. The complainant testified that it took her five months to find another suitable apartment: on approximately five occasions she was turned down by landlords who stated that they did not rent to people with children. [130]

Other cases have involved negative stereotypes about teenage children. In Bushek v. Registered Owners of Lot SL 1, a complaint that a family was forced to leave their apartment because it included two teenage children was ultimately dismissed. However, the Tribunal expressed concerns about the negative attitudes towards teenagers expressed by building management:

Some of the evidence did suggest that in attempting to balance the interests of its residents, the strata council did not adequately concern itself with the interests of teenagers. Though teenagers were able to use the facilities and participate in events, the security problems appear to have cast a shadow of suspicion over teenagers. The suggestion that they put off prospective buyers and upset the elderly would understandably be offensive. Though these comments may have arisen out of the very real problems the building had experienced with some teenagers, they reflect the type of stereotyping that human rights legislation is designed to prevent. [131]

A variety of negative attitudes and stereotypes may be at play behind a refusal to rent to families with children. For example, landlords may refuse to rent to families with small children on the basis that small children are “noisy” and will disturb other tenants. The insistence that a criteria for tenants is that they have a “quiet lifestyle” or that the building is “not soundproof” is a common theme in the rejection of rental applicants with small children.[132]

The practice of landlords of asking the ages of prospective tenants on application forms has been found by the Tribunal to be a prima facie act of discrimination on the basis of family status. Where landlords ask such questions, the onus will shift to them to demonstrate that there was in fact no such discrimination:

[T]here is great merit in the argument of the Commission that a landlord only asks the question as to the age of the prospective co-occupant so he can deny the application if the answer discloses the prospective co-tenant to be a child or perhaps an elderly person. While it might be argued a landlord needs to know the ages of co-occupants in his building in case of fire and for numerous other reasons, such information can be acquired by the landlord after apartment units have been rented.[133]

The Commission has also received complaints where the actions of the landlord are based, not on the presence of children per se, but on the number of children in the family. The Commission has considered such complaints to fall within the ground of family status.

As well, discrimination may be based on specific stereotypes or negative attitudes about single mothers, families on social assistance, or families from racialized communities.

The Commission is concerned about the widespread practice of designating rental apartments, condominiums, or other housing as “adult lifestyle communities”. It is common to see rental housing or condominium developments advertised as “adult lifestyle”, and the Commission has referred for Tribunal hearings a number of complaints where applicants with children have been refused tenancy in such housing. Such landlords or property managers are in effect advertising their intent to discriminate against families with children.

The practice of barring occupancy by minors was considered in the important case of York Condominium v. Dudnik.[134] That case involved a condominium by-law barring families with children younger than 16 or 14 years of age from occupying condominium units. The Ontario Divisional Court concluded that such policies had the effect of discriminating on the basis of family status, since “Such restrictions and policies are aimed at preventing children under the specified age from residing with their parent or parents in the latter’s choice of ccommodation”.

The Commission has recognized that older persons benefit from the support, community and security offered by seniors’ housing projects, and the importance of “aging in place”. There are circumstances where housing aimed at the needs of older Ontarians will promote the objectives of the Code. Section 15 of the Code permits preferential treatment for persons aged 65 and older, and therefore permits housing that is limited to persons over the age of 64. Section 14 of the Code permits special programs to alleviate hardship and disadvantage, such as specially designed barrier-free housing projects aimed at older persons with disabilities. Section 18 creates a defence for religious, philanthropic, educational, fraternal or social institutions or organizations that primarily serve the interests of older persons and that provide housing as part of their services. However, there is no defence that permits “adult lifestyle” housing that results in the exclusion of children or persons under a certain age.[135]

Are there other ways in which discrimination against families with children is manifested in the housing market?

Occupancy Policies

Landlords or property managers may also have occupancy policies that, while they do not directly exclude families with children, have a negative effect on such families, or on some such families. Some such requirements may be bona fide.

For example, in Ward v. Godina,[136] the landlord had adopted a “no-transfer” policy. While external applicants with children were not denied tenancies, existing tenants whose families were growing were disadvantaged. A human rights Tribunal found that this policy constructively discriminated on the basis of family status:

This policy is neutral on its face in that it applies to all existing tenants, whether the existing tenant family has children or not. However, the policy has a disproportionate effect or adverse impact on families with children. They are generally the ones who need more living space and who are more likely to seek transfers. Being unsuccessful, they are the families who must then either suffer the disadvantage of limited living space or seek external accommodation to meet their needs, with the consequential inconvenience and upsettedness. Families placed in such a situation are inevitably under additional stress through the disruption, which has a deleterious impact upon all members of the family.

The Tribunal found that the landlord could have accommodated the needs of the complainant and of other families in her situation, without undue hardship.

Policies regarding the number of occupants per number of rooms or bedrooms may also have an adverse impact on families with children. In Desroches v. Quebec (Commission des droits de la personne),[137] the complainant was denied the opportunity to rent the apartment of her choice when the landlord discovered that the complainant was in the process of a divorce, and that her two daughters would be visiting her every Sunday. The landlord had a standing policy not to rent any of his four and a half room apartments to more than two occupants. The Quebec Court of Appeal found that this policy constituted “ a very effective anti-child barrier”, since the policy had the effect of excluding all children who live with two parents, as well as all single parent families with more than one child. The policy therefore violated the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.

In a more recent case,[138] a landlord had an informal policy of renting one-bedroom apartments only to couples or singles; two bedrooms to a couple with one child; and three bedrooms to couples with two children. Although he might rent a three bedroom apartment to a person or a couple with three children, he would only do so if the children were very young, and even so the family would have to move to a bigger unit fairly soon. The complainant in this case was a single mother of three children, who was seeking (and was denied) a three-bedroom apartment. This policy was found to have a discriminatory effect on the basis of family status. Concerns have also been raised with respect to policies that place restrictions on sharing of rooms by opposite sex siblings, on the basis that such policies may reduce the ability of families with children to access affordable housing. These types of policies may have a significant impact on the social and economic rights of families, as they effectively deny access to the type of housing that is affordable for them.

Larger families may be similarly disadvantaged in the allocation of social housing. For example, in subsidized units, larger families may be required to apply only for larger units that are difficult to obtain, and may be disqualified altogether for eligibility for subsidy by their family size if there are no subsidized units large enough. [139]

The method of allocating social housing may also have an impact on families. As waiting lists for subsidized housing are often of many years duration, a chronological waiting list effectively bars families with young children from accessing housing in a timely fashion.[140]

Are there other occupancy policies that may have a negative effect on families with children? In what circumstances are occupancy policies that may have a negative effect on families with children justifiable?

Requirements Related to Income

Given the disproportionate levels of poverty among some types of families, particularly female-led single parent families, requirements related to income may have an adverse impact on these families. In a Quebec case, Drouin v. Wittan and Lavalee,[141] a landlord refused to rent to the complainant because she was poor and her source of income was social assistance, without considering whether or not she was a reliable tenant. The landlord in fact stated that poor people cannot pay their rent. The Tribunal found that exclusions based on low income may constitute indirect discrimination against single parent families, and the respondents were found to have violated the Quebec Charter.

Persons with low incomes have been particularly affected by the application of minimum income criteria. For example, landlords may apply a standard guideline that a tenant applicant should be spending no more than 25-35 percent of his or her income on rent. Those who fall short of this ratio are rejected. While this is rationalized as a necessary means of assessing an applicant’s ability to pay the rent, its use results in the denial of access to rental units to members of disadvantaged groups protected by the Code, including those identified by family status, who typically have lower incomes. There is no evidence that individuals from disadvantaged or low income groups, when spending more of their income on housing than a rent-to-income ratio would allow, are more likely to default on rent payments.

Research indicates that approximately one-third of Ontarians pay in excess of 30 percent of their household incomes in rent.[142] Overwhelmingly, these persons pay their rent in full and on time. There is no evidence that social assistance recipients default on their rent more often than others, or that they are less responsible with their money.[143] In fact, a 1997 report by the Quebec Human Rights Commission shows that 78 percent of defaulting tenants had a job at the time they failed to pay the rent.[144] The Quebec report concluded that a tenant selection criterion used by landlords based on a rent-to-income ratio leads to systemic discrimination for individuals with low income on the ground of “social condition”.[145]

In Ontario, the use of rent-to-income ratios and minimum income requirements was considered in the case of Kearney v. Bramalea.[146] The case involved three landlords, two of which used rent-to-income ratios, and a third that applied a minimum income cut-off of $22,000 per annum. The Board of Inquiry ruled that rent-to-income ratios and minimum income criteria breach the Code, whether used alone or in conjunction with other criteria or requirements. The Board found that the evidence showed that these practices had a disparate impact on groups protected under the Code, including those identified by marital and family status, and that these policies were not bona fide as they had no value in predicting whether a tenant would default. On appeal, the Ontario Superior Court upheld the Board’s finding that the landlord’s use of rent-to-income ratios/minimum income criteria as the sole basis for refusing applications constituted indirect discrimination against the complainant on a ground prohibited by the Code. [147]

The Code was subsequently amended by the addition of section 21(3), which permits landlords to use, in the manner prescribed by the Code and regulations, income information, credit checks, credit references, rental history, guarantees or other similar business practices for selecting prospective tenants. With respect to the use of income information, Reg. 290/98 under the Code permits landlords to request income information from a prospective tenant only if the landlord also requests credit references, rental history, and credit checks, and to consider income information only together with all the other information that the landlord obtained.

The Board of Inquiry in Vander Schaaf v. M.R. Property Management Ltd. [148] considered the use of rent-to-income ratios in the context of the new regulations. While the Board did not find a causal connection between the denial of the application and the use of rent-to-income ratios in this instance, it did make a number of comments with respect to this issue. The Board stated that the phrase “income information” is broad enough to encompass information about the amount, source and steadiness of a potential tenant’s income. It further stated that permitting landlords to obtain “income information” does not permit them to apply rent-to-income ratios.

Receipt of Social Assistance and Access to Housing

In September 2004, the total number of families receiving social assistance through the Ontario Works (“OW”) program was 188,661.[149] Of this total, 38 percent were sole support parents, and 12 percent were couples. In regards to families with children and/or dependent adults, the numbers are very different. The latest caseload statistics show that slightly more than half (53 percent) of OW participants with dependents are sole support parents. When combined with couples with children or caring for a dependent adult, the percentage rises to 75 percent.[150] Thus, three quarters of those on social assistance are caring for dependent children and/or adults.

Each month, families on OW receive a shelter allowance along with a basic needs allowance. The amount received (for both allowances) is based on the size of the family: the bigger the family, the greater the amount. In 2003, the monthly shelter allowance provided by OW ranged from $325 for a household of one to $673 for a household of six or more.[151] As is quite well known, these amounts are much less than the current average rent in Ontario and the difference in amounts creates a shelter gap. In order to afford rent or mortgage on a home, families often combine their basic needs and shelter allowance. This is especially true for sole support parents who rely on a single income to support their families. For example, in 2003, the maximum monthly allowance for a single parent with two children under twelve years was $1,086 ($554 shelter allowance and $532 basic needs allowance). If this family rented a two-bedroom apartment in Toronto, they would have approximately $31 left after rent to cover all other needs for the month.[152] Because rent takes up the majority of the assistance received, many sole support parent-led families are turning to food banks and other means to make ends meet. Also, the stress of having to do this every month may hinder their ability to find employment or participate in OW employment activities.

Currently, one of the responses to the effects of high rents on sole support parent-led families has been access to social or subsidized housing. Families living in such housing pay a rent amount that is related to their income, which is often more affordable for single parent families. However, subsidized housing costs may become problematic if an OW participant begins a new job. As his or her income rises, so does the rent and thus, the family does not benefit from the additional employment income.[153] As well, waitlists for such housing are quite long. In 2004, 158,000 households were on waiting lists for affordable/social housing in Ontario.[154] Families may therefore have to wait years to access subsidized housing. The Commission has received complaints regarding the practice whereby a co-operative charges as rent the entire shelter allowance of a tenant on social assistance, which obliges the tenant to make additional payments for utilities, even though the shelter allowance was intended to cover the cost of utilities.

As noted previously, international human rights treaty bodies have expressed concern regarding the deepening poverty and lack of access to housing among sole support mothers in receipt of social assistance. The Commission shares this concern, viewing this as a serious human rights issue. The intent of the Code, as expressed in the Preamble, is to promote a society in which the dignity and worth of all are recognized, and all feel a part of the community, and able to contribute to the community. The Commission urges the government, in the spirit of the Code, to take steps to address this issue.

What should be done to improve access to housing among parents in receipt of social assistance?

Occupation of Housing

Differential Treatment

As well as experiencing difficulties in obtaining housing, families with children may experience differential treatment in the occupancy of housing. In Leonis v. Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation No. 741,[155] an Ontario Board of Inquiry found that the complainant was discriminated against because of his family status as the parent of a child under 16. The rules of the condominium where the complainant lived prohibited children under 16 from using certain recreation facilities, and permitted access to others only during very restricted hours. The Board of Inquiry found that the recreational facilities were an integral part of the complainant’s occupancy of accommodation, and that such rules indirectly discriminate on the basis of family status. The Board of Inquiry noted that the rules would have a disparate negative impact on parents because their child care responsibilities would restrict them from using the facilities on their own, and many parents would wish to use the facilities in the company of their children. While it was reasonable for the respondents to have some rules restricting access, particularly where there were health and safety concerns, the complainant and his daughter could have been provided with greater access to the facilities without undue hardship.

Children’s Noise

The Commission has heard reports that families are being evicted from their apartments because of the noise of children crying.

Life in apartment-type housing inevitably involves some exposure to the noises and activities of one’s neighbours. Many normal activities cause noise – listening to music or socializing, for example. Children, like other tenants, may cause noise as part of their normal activities, such as playing, talking and crying. Noises associated with children’s normal activities should not be treated differently from other types of noise that may be experienced when living in close quarters. Nor should the noise normally associated with children be an excuse for refusing to rent to families with children.

Where children’s noise is genuinely disruptive to other tenants, all parties can work cooperatively to resolve the issue. Parents can take reasonable steps, consistent with good parenting practices, to minimize children’s noise.
Landlords can attempt to resolve matters without evicting families. For example, extra soundproofing for an apartment could be considered, or moving a family to a different apartment.

Accommodation of Needs Related to Family Status

The Commission has heard reports that families have been barred from rental housing because of concerns for childrens’ safety. There may on occasion be situations where some alterations may be required to housing to accommodate the needs of children. For example, it may be necessary to place safety devices on windows or balconies in high-rise apartments. Such steps may be reasonable accommodations on the part of a landlord. Families with children should not be barred from rental housing because such reasonable steps are required.

What should a Commission policy statement on family status and the occupancy of housing contain?

What should the Commission’s policy position be on issues related to children’s noise in the housing context?

What types of accommodations for family status are appropriate in the housing context?

How can the Commission assist landlords in understanding and complying with their obligations under the Code?

[102] Supra, note 30
[103] CESCR General Comment 4 on Article 11(1), 13/12/91.
[104] Supra, note 31
[105] Supra, note 33
[106] Supra, note 40.
[107] (1987) 8 C.H.R.R. D/4028 (Ont. Bd. of Inq.). This case is also important for its express consideration of public policy debates and international human rights documents, such as the Universal Declaration of Rights.
[108] For example, in Thurston v. Lu (1993), 23 CHHR D/253, the tribunal held that denying to a woman the right to apply for the apartment and rejecting her outright because she had a child resulted in prima facie discrimination. In Cunanan v. Boolean Developments Ltd. (2003), 47 CHHR D/236, the tribunal found a breach of the Code where the landlord refused to rent to a complainant because her family, which included three teenage children, was not the “ideal” size according to “Canadian” standards and was not suitable. In Peterson v. Anderson (1991), 15 C.H.R.R. D/1, the tribunal held that the eviction of a pregnant tenant was discrimination on the ground of family status, as well as sex. The tribunal found evidence of stereotypes and disapproval of single parenthood and unmarried conjugal relationships, even though there was no general restriction on children in the building.
[109] Supra, note 107. In this case, there was a policy whereby a four-person family, composed of one parent and three children, were required to rent at least a 3-bedroom unit. The tribunal held that there was no reasonable justification for this unequal treatment.
[110] Booker v. Floriri Village Investments Inc. (1989) 11 C.H.R.R. D/44 (Ont. Bd. of Inq.)
[111] This important decision was affirmed on appeal. (Dudnik v. York Condominium Corp. No 216 (No. 2) 12 C.H.H.R. D/325, affirmed (1991) 14 C.H.H.R. D/406 (Ont. Div. Ct.)
[112] Leonis v. Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corp. No. 741 (1998), 33 C.H.R.R. D/479 (Ont. Bd. of Inq.)
[113] Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation 2001 Census Housing Series. Research Highlight Socio-Economic Series 4-002. (Ottawa: 2004). In Canada, a household is considered to be in core need if: they are paying 30 per cent or more of their before tax income on mortgage payments, taxes, utilities and rent; the dwelling is in need of major repairs; or, parents and children, or children of different genders over the age of five have to share a bedroom.
[114] Report of the Mayor’s Homelessness Action Task Force: Taking Responsibility for Homelessness (Anne Golden, Chair), (January 1999).
[115] Supra, note 64
[116] Tom Carter and Chesnya Polevychok, Housing is Good Social Policy, Canadian Policy Research Networks (December 2004) at 8
[117] Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres, Aboriginal Child Povery: A Status Report on Aboriginal Children and Their Families (October 2000).
[118] Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation, Women and Housing in Canada: Barriers to Equality, (Toronto: March 2002.
[119] Jane Jacobs, Dark Age Ahead, Toronto: Random House of Canada, 2004
[120] Supra, note 117
[121] Supra, note 118
[122] Supra, note 114
[123] Supra, note 116
[124] The February 20, 2002 Recommendations are available online at
[125] Supra, note 116 at 15
[126] Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Housing Canada’s Children (2000)
[127] S. Chau at al., One in Five ... Housing as a Factor in the Admission of Children to Care (Toronto: Centre for Urban and Community Studies, November 2001).
[128] Supra, note 114
[129] Supra, note 64
[130] St. Hill v. VRM Investments Ltd (2004) CHRR Doc. 04-023. 2004 HRTO 1
[131] (1997) CHRR Doc. 97-224, (B.C.H.R.T.) at para. 48. See also Watkins and Cypihot, (2000) CHRR Doc. 00-0036 2000 BCHRT 13, and Cunanan v. Boolean Developments Limited , supra, note 108
[132] See for example Huot v. Chow (1996) C.H.R.R. Doc 96-178 (BCCHR)
[133] Supra, note 130 at para 29
[134] Supra, note 111
[135] For a detailed discussion of housing and older persons, refer to the Commission’s Policy on Discrimination Against Older Persons Because of Age (Ontario Human Rights Commission, March 2002), online: Ontario Human Rights Commission <>.
[136] (1994) CHRR Doc. 94-130 (Ont. Bd. Inq.)
[137] (1997), 30 C.H.R.R. D/345 (C.A. Que.)
[138] Cunanan v. Boolean Developments Limited, supra note 108. See also Fakhoury v. Las Brisas Ltd., supra note 107
[139] Supra, note 110
[140] Ibid at 18
[141] (1993) 20 C.H.R.R. D/349 (Que. Trib.), upheld on appeal, (1997), 29 C.H.R.R. D/1 (Que. C.A.)
[142] J.D. Hulchanski,, How Households Obtain Resources to Meet their Needs: The Shifting Mix of Cash and Non-Cash Sources (Toronto: University of Toronto, 1994) at p.34-35; M. Ornstein, Income and Rent: Equality Seeing Groups and Access to Rental Accommodation Restricted by Income Criteria, (Toronto: York University, October 1994) at p.63.
[143] J. Stapleton, Report on Social Assistance Programs in Ontario (April 1994) at 8.
[144] Commission des droits de la personne, Pauvreté et droit au logement en toute égalité : une approche systémique (Québec, avril 1997) at 50.
[145] The Quebec report further states that:

  • Housing should not be seen as a good like any other because it fills a basic human need for shelter;
  • Landlords are obligated to provide appropriate housing to individuals who can demonstrate their ability to fulfill the obligations of a lease without discrimination based on source of income or rent-to-income ratio measures;
  • The presence of risk does not justify a systemic refusal to rent to individuals on social assistance.

[146] Kearney v. Bramalea, J.L. v. Shelter Corporation, Luis v. Creccal Investments (1998), 34 C.H.R.R. D/1 (Ont. Bd.of Inq.)
[147] (2001), 39 C.H.R.R. D/111 (Ont. Sup. Ct.)
[148] (2000), 38 C.H.R.R. D/251 (Ont. Bd. of Inq.)
[149] Ontario Works: Quarterly Statistical Report, September 2004, Ministry of Community and Social Services, online: <>
[150] Ibid
[151] Advocacy Centre for Tenants in Ontario,
[152] Toronto Community and Neighbourhood Services, Social Assistance and Social Inclusion: Findings from Toronto Social Services’ 2003 Survey of Single Parents on Ontario Works, (2003). Online: <>
[153] Daily Bread Food Bank, Ontario Works? (2004).Online: <>
[154] Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association/Cooperative Housing Federation of Canada, Moving Forward for Ontario Children and Families (2004), Campaign 2000.
[155] Supra, note 112

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