The Ontario Human Rights Code says everyone has the right to be free from sexual harassment by their landlord, someone working for their landlord, or someone who lives in the same building. Because landlords are in a position of authority, and have access to apartments and often hold personal information, tenants can feel very threatened when they are sexually harassed. This may be especially true for low-income, racialized, gay and lesbian people, people with disabilities and other people identified by the Code who are sometimes targeted for sexual harassment.
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.
- Policy on human rights and rental housing
- Human rights for tenants (brochure)
- Human rights in housing: an overview for landlords (brochure)
- Writing a fair rental housing ad (fact sheet)
- Guidelines on developing human rights policies and procedures
- Discrimination based on disability and the duty to accommodate: Information for housing providers
On municipal responsibilities in planning and licensing housing:
For other publications on housing, click “Resource Types” on the left-hand panel.
Speaking notes by Barbara Hall
Chief Commissioner, Ontario Human Rights Commission
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Mayor and Members of Council, over the past few months, staff of the City of Waterloo have worked closely with us at the Ontario Human Rights Commission – the OHRC – to create a rental housing licensing by-law that respects and advances the human rights of tenants while meeting, as much as possible, the City's operational needs.
Landlords and tenants want to comply with housing-related laws, but they don’t always know all the rules. Both landlord and tenant groups want to increase awareness about human rights in housing and to end discrimination. The Ontario Human Rights Commission created this guide to help landlords who are advertising their rental units and organizations that provide housing listings to prevent human rights violations and avoid complaints.
June 1, 2011 - Discrimination in housing is a very real problem for many people. In Ontario, landlord, tenant and human rights organizations are working to raise awareness about discrimination in all aspects of housing. One such area is advertising for rental accommodation, where we commonly see discriminatory statements. This is an area where 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.
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.
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.
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).
April 11, 2011 - Over the past few months, staff of the City of Waterloo (the City) have worked extensively with staff of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) to create a rental housing licensing by-law that meets the City’s operational needs while respecting and advancing the human rights of tenants.
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.