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X. Preventing and responding to discrimination in rental housing

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Housing providers can take a number of steps to prevent and appropriately address human rights complaints. Important elements of a housing provider’s strategy to address human rights issues include:

  1. Anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies and complaint procedures
    Anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies are valuable tools in promoting equity and diversity within a housing operation. Adopting, implementing and promoting these policies can help to limit potential harm, and reduce the housing operation’s liability in the event of a human rights claim. These policies should explicitly address discrimination based on all Code grounds.

    A detailed description of best practices for developing and implementing such policies and procedures can be found in the OHRC’s publication, Guidelines on Developing Human Rights Policies and Procedures.[227]
  2. Programs for reviewing and removing barriers
    Housing providers should take proactive steps to make sure that policies, programs, rules and requirements do not have an adverse impact based on Code grounds. Housing providers should do regular reviews, and based on their findings, develop and implement barrier removal strategies.

    Example: A social housing provider collects data on the effects of its allocation of subsidized housing based on chronological waiting lists, to identify ways to remove barriers for people identified by Code grounds.

    Example: An association representing rental housing providers develops a voluntary certification program. Upon complying with specific designated criteria, a landlord receives an endorsement from the association. The criteria are developed with human rights requirements and principles in mind.

    Housing providers should also make sure that whenever new policies, procedures, rules and requirements are developed, their possible impact on people identified by Code grounds is considered, and that the most inclusive options are selected, short of undue hardship.
  3. Education and training
    Education and training are essential components of any housing provider’s human rights strategy. A housing provider should have a solid understanding of the requirements of the Code, the provider’s own human rights policies and procedures, and the common barriers and stereotypes faced by people identified by Code grounds.

    Education and training are not a panacea for all human rights issues: they will work most effectively when partnered with strong and effective policies and procedures, and a proactive strategy for developing an inclusive housing operation.

To file a human rights claim, please contact the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario at:
Toll Free: 1-866-598-0322
TTY: 416-326-2027 or Toll Free: 1-866-607-1240

To talk about your rights or if you need legal help with a human rights claim, contact the Human Rights Legal Support Centre at:
Toll Free: 1-866-625-5179
TTY: 416-314-6651 or Toll Free: 1-866-612-8627

[227] See the OHRC’s Guidelines on Developing Human Rights Policies and Procedures, supra,note 204.

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