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Commission launches report calling for collective housing strategy

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July 8, 2008

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For immediate publication

Toronto - Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall and the Ontario Human Rights Commission today launched “Right at home: Report on the consultation on human rights and rental housing in Ontario.” This report, which follows a year of public sessions, meetings and submissions involving hundreds of individuals and organizations across the province, focuses on housing as a human right, and sets out a framework for collective action to identify, remove and prevent discrimination in rental housing.

The Commission heard how tenants are affected by issues such as adults only rental ads, discriminatory attitudes and applicant screening requirements including large rent deposits or requests for guarantors for some tenants based on Code grounds such as gender, race or ancestry. Many tenants, housing providers and decision-makers also spoke about the challenges arising from the duty to accommodate because of disability or family status.

A pervasive lack of awareness around domestic and international human rights and obligations in housing was also reported. Poverty was identified as a systemic factor that affects the ability of a wide range of tenants protected under Ontario’s Human Rights Code to find and keep rental housing. For some tenants, the lack of affordable housing, low social assistance rates and minimum wage rates and discrimination contribute to homelessness – an international human rights issue. The Commission also heard repeatedly how many tenants across the province, particularly individuals with mental illness, are negatively affected by “not-in-my-backyard” or NIMBY opposition to affordable housing.

“Right at home” includes 37 recommended actions for various levels of government, decision-makers such as housing tribunals and boards, partners in affordable housing development, social housing providers, private-market housing providers, service providers, tenant organizations and human rights advocates

“While we need a national housing strategy, all sectors at all levels must take collective and meaningful steps now” said Chief Commissioner Hall. “The Commission is ready to do its part using its new mandate. This Report is just the beginning of our commitment to help make human rights lived rights for tenants across Ontario.”

Visit the Commission’s website to view the Report and other related information.


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Afroze Edwards
Sr. Communications Officer
Communications and Issues Management
(416) 314-4528


Jeff Poirier
Senior Policy Analyst
Policy Education, Monitoring and Outreach Branch (PEMO)
Ontario Human Rights Commission