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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. Paying the price: The human cost of racial profiling

    October 2003 - The Report begins with a brief explanation and definition of racial profiling. In addition, the Report explains the human cost of racial profiling on the individuals, families and communities that experience it. It details the detrimental impact that profiling is having on societal institutions such as the education system, law enforcement agencies, service providers and so forth. It also outlines the business case against profiling – in essence the economic loss sustained as a result of racial profiling.
  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. Proposed regulation on inclusionary zoning – concerns and recommendations

    February 1, 2018 - Dear Minister Mauro and Minister Milczyn, I hope this finds you well. The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) commends the Government for giving municipalities inclusionary zoning powers as a means to increase the availability of affordable housing. However, I am writing today to raise concerns about the “Proposed regulation under the Planning Act related to inclusionary zoning,” and to urge the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to make changes to its proposed regulation to make sure that it provides the tools and flexibility that municipalities need to meaningfully address the affordable housing crisis.

  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. Re: Bill 140, Strong Communities through Affordable Housing Act, 2011

    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.
  7. Re: Draft new Zoning By-Law

    May 18, 2010 - In September 2009, we raised concerns about the human rights impacts of placing restrictions on housing types which could lead to discrimination against some groups. Many of these concerns have not been resolved by the current draft of the zoning by-law. We strongly encourage the City of Toronto to look again at our September 2009 submission (a copy of which is attached) and our recommendations to resolve the human rights issues.

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