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Citizens With Disabilities - Ontario
"TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER"

         



Ontario Human Rights Commission's Consultations on Rental Housing

by Laurie Letheren, Staff Lawyer

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (the Commission) is currently holding a public consultation on human rights in rental housing. Many persons with disabilities face numerous barriers to accessing adequate housing and often experience discrimination in their home and by housing providers.

The Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code) guarantees a right to "equal treatment with respect to the occupancy of accommodation, without discrimination because disability". In addition, the Code imposes on obligation on housing providers to accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities to the point of undue hardship.

In the background paper prepared by the Commission for this consultation (See: http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/issues/housing) the introduction states:

It is difficult to overstate the importance of adequate housing to an individual's ability to fully participate in and be a part of his or her community. Adequate housing is a necessity. It is also a prime indicator of an individual's overall quality of life. Housing provides the foundation for interacting with the broader community and for general well-being and social inclusion.

The Commission recognizes that despite the rights guaranteed in the Code, persons with disabilities may often be among the most vulnerable when it comes to abuse of rights to and in housing. The Commission wants to hear the public's experiences in rental housing and will report back publicly on its findings and recommendations.

The Commission is seeking input in three major areas

The Commission's website (See: http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/issues/housing) contains the following information about the ways that the public can participate in the consultation:

If you are interested in participating in one of these sessions, please RSVP as soon as possible. You will be contacted to confirm your participation in the meeting and be given details of the time, location and format of the meeting.

Written submissions and RSVPs may be sent by mail, fax, phone or e-mail to:

"Housing Consultation"
Ontario Human Rights Commission, Policy and Education Branch
180 Dundas Street West, 7th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M7A 2R9
Fax: 416-314-4533
Phone: 416-979-0175
Marci Mosher-Mandel
E-mail: RSVP@ohrc.on.ca
(please indicate "Housing Consultation" in the subject line)

Those who choose not to make a submission may complete a survey that is available on line at http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/issues/housing/tenantsurvey or can be obtained from the Commission. The survey is another way for the public to describe their experiences with human rights and rental housing.

The following are some of the questions that the Commission would like to address in this consultation. However, participants may address any issues that they believe the Commission should be addressing.

The Commission has indicated that following the consultation, it will develop a new policy to aid in increased protection and promotion of rights and responsibilities under the Code.

The Commission's website also indicates that persons or organizations can invite the Commission to attend a public meeting to discuss issues of human rights in housing. Invitations should be received by August 31, 2007 for events to be held in the fall of 2007.

Taken from June 18 th, 2007 ARCH Newsletter

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