Campaign promotes "Housing as a human right"

TORONTO, March 1 /CNW/ - The Ontario Human Rights Commission, the City of Toronto, the Federation of Rental-Housing Providers of Ontario, the Greater Toronto Apartment Association and the Human Rights Legal Support Centre have joined forces to promote housing as a human right. The partners are encouraging Toronto tenants and landlords to learn more about these rights by today launching a poster that will appear in 120 transit shelters across Toronto during the month of March.

The "Housing is a human right" campaign tells people about their rights and how to use them. The poster directs people to the websites of the partnering organizations for more information.

The campaign reflects the principles contained in the City's recently adopted Toronto Housing Charter - Opportunity for All. In addition to supporting the human right to housing, the Charter is also intended to discourage the not-in-my-backyard reaction to the creation of new affordable housing.

This is the first phase of a province-wide OHRC initiative to educate tenants and landlords about their rights and responsibilities relating to human rights and housing.

"When we did public consultations for our new Policy on Human Rights and Rental Housing, we often heard that tenants and landlords did not know that human rights applied to housing," said Barbara Hall, Chief Commissioner of the OHRC. "I am pleased that such a diverse group is helping send such a strong collective message."

"Access to safe, secure and affordable housing is the foundation on which successful lives and healthy communities are built," said Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, chair of the City of Toronto's Affordable Housing Committee. "This campaign reminds people that housing is a human right and highlights the City's support for people to live in the neighbourhood of their choice without discrimination."

"Everyone looking for housing deserves respect and fair treatment," said Vince Brescia, President and CEO of FRPO. "All housing providers have an obligation to be educated about their human rights responsibilities and FRPO is proud to work with our partners today to promote awareness. There is no place for discrimination in the housing marketplace."

"We are proud to be part of this important campaign in Toronto," said Brad Butt, President and CEO of GTAA. "Discrimination in any form is unacceptable. Housing providers have a responsibility to respect the Human Rights Code and promoting that adherence is essential."

"We are pleased to work with landlords to send a clear message that there's no room for discrimination," added Kathy Laird, Executive Director of the HRLSC.

Smaller versions of the poster, in both English and French will be available for downloading on the OHRC website. As well, campaign materials can be updated to include the logos and details of other organizations or municipalities that are interested in helping the OHRC send the message that housing is a human right for all Ontarians.

SOURCE Ontario Human Rights Commission

For further information: For further information: Rosemary Bennett, Ontario Human Rights Commission, (416) 314-4549, rosemary.bennett@ohrc.on.ca; Gil Hardy, Affordable Housing Office, City of Toronto, (416) 397-4701, ghardy@toronto.ca; Vince Brescia, President and CEO, Federation of Rental-Housing Providers of Ontario, (416) 385-1100 ext. 20, vbrescia@frpo.org; Brad Butt, President and CEO, Greater Toronto Apartment Association, (416) 565-2270


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