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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. Right at home: Report on the consultation on human rights and rental housing in Ontario

    May 2008 - This report is the end result of a province-wide consultation on rental housing and human rights by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (the Commission). It documents what the Commission heard and aims to increase our collective understanding of human rights in rental housing. Individuals and organizations responsible for implementing and advancing housing rights protections need to feel “right at home” in understanding what obligations exist and how to fulfill them. Tenants also need to feel “right at home” in being able to access and live in rental housing that is free from discrimination.
  2. Policy on human rights and rental housing

    July 2009 - The Policy sets out the OHRC’s position on discrimination in the area of rental housing as it relates to the provisions of the Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code), and to Canada’s international human rights obligations. It deals primarily with issues that fall within the Code and could be the subject of a human rights claim. At the same time, the Policy interprets the protections of the Code in a broad and purposive manner. This approach is consistent with the principle that the Code’s quasi-constitutional status requires that it be given a liberal interpretation that best ensures its anti-discriminatory goals are reached.
  3. 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.
  4. Racial harassment and poisoned environments (fact sheet)

    2005 - All Ontarians have the right to be free from harassment in the workplace or in housing accommodation because of, among other things, race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, ethnic origin, citizenship and creed. While the Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”) doesn’t explicitly prohibit harassment in the areas of services, goods and facilities, contracts or membership in trade and vocational associations, the Commission will treat racial harassment in such situations as a form of discrimination and therefore a breach of the Code.

  5. Racism and racial discrimination: Organizational responsibility

    2005 - Employers, unions, educational facilities, service providers and other organizations covered by the Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”) are responsible for ensuring that their environments are free from racial discrimination and harassment. This means not just responding when issues of discrimination or harassment arise, but also taking proactive measures to monitor for and prevent their occurrence.
  6. How far does the duty to accommodate go? (fact sheet)

    2000 - Business inconvenience, resentment or hostility from other co-workers, the operation of collective agreements and customer "preferences" cannot be considered in the accommodation process. When a person with a disability needs supports in order to work, use a service or access housing, the employer, service provider or landlord has a duty to provide these supports. There are limits to this duty, and these limits are called undue hardship.

  7. Comment of the Ontario Human Rights Commission on the City of Toronto's Proposed Zoning By-law

    September 2009 - The Commission is providing comment on the City's proposed zoning by-law because the by-law has the potential to affect the housing rights of many people across the City, particularly with respect to those living in affordable housing (group homes, seniors' residences, shelters, lodging houses, etc.). The right to be free from discrimination in housing under the Code could extend to the development of affordable housing projects for people and groups identified by the Code. In addition, the Commission believes it is important to highlight the City's progressive vision of housing and human rights through its newly developed Housing Charter.
  8. Submission of the Ontario Human Rights Commission to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing's long-term affordable housing strategy

    December 2009 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission (the “OHRC”), commends the Province of Ontario for identifying the need for a long-term affordable housing strategy. The development of such a strategy was one of the main recommendations coming out of the OHRC’s own housing consultation report, Right at Home. The OHRC is very pleased to contribute to the Province’s development of this strategy. This written submission complements Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall’s verbal input to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s roundtable consultation sessions held on both June 22, 2009 and November 3, 2009.

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