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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. Consultation paper: Human rights and rental housing in Ontario

    March 2007 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission (the Commission) is soliciting your views on a range of human rights issues in rental housing. The Background Paper contains a detailed discussion of these issues and provides social and legal context. It also provides some information about the matters that are of greatest concern to the Commission. This Consultation Paper focuses on the major areas on which input is being sought.
  2. Human Rights and rental housing in Ontario: Background paper

    March 2007 - While the Code protects against discrimination in a broad range of situations relating to housing, this Paper will focus on residential tenancies, or rental housing arrangements. Housing studies indicate that those who live in rental housing are persons, typically, who have lower incomes and who are disproportionately vulnerable to discrimination and therefore identified by the Code. This Paper is intended to provide an overview of the social and legal context for understanding the human rights issues in the area of rental housing. The Commission sees this Paper as the background for a broad exploration of human rights issues in the area of rental housing.
  3. Human rights in housing: an overview for landlords (brochure)

    2011 - International law says that people in Canada should be able to get good housing that they can afford. To help achieve this in Ontario, tenants and landlords (or housing providers) have rights and responsibilities under the Human Rights Code. Under the Code, everyone has the right to equal treatment in housing without discrimination and harassment. As a landlord, you are responsible for making sure the housing you operate is free from discrimination and harassment.

  4. Human rights for tenants (brochure)

    2011 - International law says that people in Canada should be able to get good housing that they can afford. To help achieve this in Ontario, tenants and landlords (or housing providers) have rights and responsibilities under the Human Rights Code. As a tenant, you have the right to equal treatment in housing without discrimination and harassment.

  5. 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.

  6. Human rights and not-in-my-back-yard (NIMBY)

    NIMBY opposition to affordable housing development was a major human rights issue raised by consultees, including both tenant advocates and housing providers. People should not have to ask permission from anyone, including prospective neighbours, before moving in just because of stereotypes relating to grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code (Code). Concerns about affordable housing projects should be legitimately anchored in planning issues rather than stereotypical assumptions about the people who will be housed.

  7. Discrimination and rental housing

    Most landlords and housing providers try to comply with the Ontario Human Rights Code and work hard to meet the needs of their tenants. However, for some tenants, discrimination in housing is not an unusual occurrence. The lack of affordable and adequate housing, when combined with overt and subtle discrimination in housing, means that many people protected by the Code are excluded from the housing market, forced to pay higher rents than they can actually afford, or relegated to poor quality housing options.

  8. The consultation on human rights and rental housing

    In May 2007, the Commission initiated a public consultation with the launch of background and consultation papers both entitled Human Rights and Rental Housing in Ontario. Beginning in June 2007, the Commission held public and private meetings in four cities across the province to hear about the extent of the problems and to identify potential solutions. Around 130 organizations and an additional 24 individuals participated in afternoon consultation meetings in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ottawa, Sudbury and Toronto, and over 100 people participated in evening sessions in these locations.