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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. Consultation paper: Human rights and rental housing in Ontario

    March 2007 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission (the Commission) is soliciting your views on a range of human rights issues in rental housing. The Background Paper contains a detailed discussion of these issues and provides social and legal context. It also provides some information about the matters that are of greatest concern to the Commission. This Consultation Paper focuses on the major areas on which input is being sought.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Human rights in housing: an overview for landlords (brochure)

    2011 - International law says that people in Canada should be able to get good housing that they can afford. To help achieve this in Ontario, tenants and landlords (or housing providers) have rights and responsibilities under the Human Rights Code. Under the Code, everyone has the right to equal treatment in housing without discrimination and harassment. As a landlord, you are responsible for making sure the housing you operate is free from discrimination and harassment.

  7. Human rights for tenants (brochure)

    2011 - International law says that people in Canada should be able to get good housing that they can afford. To help achieve this in Ontario, tenants and landlords (or housing providers) have rights and responsibilities under the Human Rights Code. As a tenant, you have the right to equal treatment in housing without discrimination and harassment.

  8. The shadow of the law: Surveying the case law dealing with competing rights claims

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.