In 2007, the OHRC conducted a consultation on discrimination in rental housing. We heard about the concerns that many people with mental health and addiction issues face in renting and keeping housing. We reported on these concerns in Right at home: Report on the consultation on human rights and rental housing in Ontario, and developed our Policy on human rights and rental 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.
- 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.
2012 - This guide offers an overview of the human rights responsibilities of municipalities in housing. It offers information about the various legislated tools municipalities have, and shows some examples of how municipal planners, councillors, Housing Service Managers, District Social Service Boards and others can use “best practices” to overcome discriminatory neighbourhood opposition and promote housing that is free from discrimination. The guide can also be a resource for organizations and advocates who are working with municipalities to advance human rights in housing.
Two public interest inquiries by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) will explore if new rental housing licensing bylaws in North Bay and Waterloo create discriminatory barriers to rental housing. The inquiries are being conducted under the OHRC’s Human Rights Code mandate to promote, advance and protect human rights in Ontario.
Employers, housing providers, educators and other responsible parties covered by the Code have the ultimate responsibility for maintaining an inclusive environment that is free from discrimination and harassment, and where everyone’s human rights are respected. Organizations and institutions operating in Ontario have a legal duty to take steps to prevent and respond to situations involving competing rights.
Zoning in on zoning
Every day, people across Ontario face barriers to finding or keeping rental housing because of disability, age, race, creed, sexual orientation, disability, receipt of social assistance, family status, and other grounds of the Human Rights Code. These barriers often arise because landlords make assumptions about people based on characteristics that usually have nothing to do with their ability to be good tenants.
The lack of affordable and suitable housing across Ontario was raised by individuals with mental health and addiction disabilities, and organizations. Statistics Canada’s 2006 Participation Activity Limitation Survey (PALS) shows that in Ontario, people with “emotional” disabilities are more likely to be in core housing need than the non-disabled population and people with other types of disabilities.
Discriminatory opposition to affordable housing for groups protected under the Code (“Not-in-my-backyard” syndrome or “NIMBYism”) makes it much harder to develop affordable social and supportive housing for people with mental health issues or addictions.
November 23, 2012 - The Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) is proposing amendments to the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) 2005 on land use planning issued under the Planning Act (Act). The Act requires the PPS be reviewed every five years. The Ministry began the review in March 2010. The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) is pleased to see proposed amendments that address some of the concerns and recommendations from its initial submission made in 2010 as well as other amendments that would further advance protection for human rights. The OHRC especially welcomes proposed additions that would recognize the interests of Aboriginal communities.
March 2013 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) is pleased to provide input on the City of Toronto’s Draft Zoning By-law. But we remain concerned that some central human rights issues are not addressed.
March 1 2013 - The OHRC recognizes that accessibility requirements have been enhanced with each new edition of the Building Code regulation and welcomes the latest proposal for new barrier-free design requirements. The OHRC also has a number of concerns about the proposed changes as well as additional recommendations for barrier-free requirements in the Building Code regulation.