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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. Report on the inquiry into rental housing licensing in the City of North Bay

    May 2013 - The City of North Bay’s rental housing licensing bylaw was enacted on January 1, 2012 and came into effect on May 1, 2012. Among other things, this bylaw imposed a bedroom cap, gross floor area requirements and a licensing fee on certain rental units. The OHRC was concerned that the bylaw might reduce the availability of low-cost rental housing and in turn disadvantage groups protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code) who rely on that housing. As a result, the OHRC initiated an inquiry to learn more.

  2. Report on the inquiry into rental housing licensing in the City of Waterloo

    The City of Waterloo’s rental housing licensing bylaw came into effect on April 1, 2012. The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) was concerned that the licensing regime might discriminate against groups protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code) and cause them to lose their current housing, or to have a harder time finding housing in future. As a result, the OHRC initiated an inquiry to learn more.

  3. 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.
  4. Right at home: Summary report on the consultation on human rights and rental housing in Ontario

    2008 - This summary report is a short version of a longer, more comprehensive report. Both of these reports have been prepared based on a province-wide consultation on rental housing and human rights by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (the Commission). A key goal of these reports is to help people and organizations across Ontario better understand human rights in rental housing.
  5. Room for everyone: Human rights and rental housing licensing

    May 2013 - Room for everyone: Human rights and rental housing licensing addresses how licensing provisions in municipal bylaws may disadvantage groups protected by Ontario’s Human Rights Code (the Code), gives an overview of human rights responsibilities in licensing rental housing, and makes recommendations to help municipalities protect the human rights of tenants.

  6. Sexual harassment [16]

    From: Guide to your rights and responsibilities under the Human Rights Code

    Sexual harassment in housing and workplaces

    “Harassment” in this section means comments or actions based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression that are unwelcome to you or should be known to be unwelcome. They may include humiliating or annoying conduct. Harassment requires a “course of conduct,” which means that a pattern of behaviour or more than one incident is usually required for a claim to be made to the Tribunal. However, a single significant incident may be offensive enough to be considered sexual harassment.

  7. Sexual harassment in housing (fact sheet)

    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.

  8. Spreading the message about human rights in housing: 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.
  9. Submission of the OHRC to the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing

    Under Canada’s federal system of government, legal jurisdiction over human rights, including housing, divides between different levels of government – federal, ten provincial and three territorial governments. Municipal governments are a creation of provincial/territorial legislation. All three levels of government have responsibility to implement human rights norms and standards, including the right to housing.

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