Commission launches report calling for collective housing strategy

    TORONTO, July 8 /CNW/ - Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall and the Ontario
Human Rights Commission today launched "Right at home: Report on the
consultation on human rights and rental housing in Ontario." This report,
which follows a year of public sessions, meetings and submissions involving
hundreds of individuals and organizations across the province, focuses on
housing as a human right, and sets out a framework for collective action to
identify, remove and prevent discrimination in rental housing.
    The Commission heard how tenants are affected by issues such as adults
only rental ads, discriminatory attitudes and applicant screening requirements
including large rent deposits or requests for guarantors for some tenants
based on Code grounds such as gender, race or ancestry. Many tenants, housing
providers and decision-makers also spoke about the challenges arising from the
duty to accommodate because of disability or family status.
    A pervasive lack of awareness around domestic and international human
rights and obligations in housing was also reported. Poverty was identified as
a systemic factor that affects the ability of a wide range of tenants
protected under Ontario's Human Rights Code to find and keep rental housing.
For some tenants, the lack of affordable housing, low social assistance rates
and minimum wage rates and discrimination contribute to homelessness - an
international human rights issue. The Commission also heard repeatedly how
many tenants across the province, particularly individuals with mental
illness, are negatively affected by "not-in-my-backyard" or NIMBY opposition
to affordable housing.
    "Right at home" includes 37 recommended actions for various levels of
government, decision-makers such as housing tribunals and boards, partners in
affordable housing development, social housing providers, private-market
housing providers, service providers, tenant organizations and human rights
    "While we need a national housing strategy, all sectors at all levels
must take collective and meaningful steps now," said Chief Commissioner Hall.
"The Commission is ready to do its part using its new mandate. This Report is
just the beginning of our commitment to help make human rights lived rights
for tenants across Ontario."
    Visit the Commission's website to view the Report and
other related information.

    Aussi disponible en français

For further information:

For further information: Jeff Poirier, Manager, Communications, Policy
and Education Branch, (416) 314-4539; Afroze Edwards, Sr. Communications
Officer, Policy and Education Branch, (416) 314-4528

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