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I. Raising public awareness and addressing discrimination

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Many Ontarians are entirely unaware of their rights and obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code) when it comes to rental housing. People seeking housing may not know their Code rights or how they can address their rights. Even if they do, they may not see the practical benefit of accessing the human rights system or other available mechanisms and may find that there are barriers to doing so.

Similarly, housing providers and landlords can run afoul of the Code, in part out of a lack of understanding of its application to them. Some may have a mistaken belief that they can pick tenants that they find most desirable, while others are confused about the complex rules around what can be used to assess a prospective tenant and when a guarantor can be obtained. There may be other requirements, such as those contained in municipal or provincial laws, of which people are unaware.

It is clear that a greater awareness and understanding of the application of the Code to this area would help ensure fewer human rights issues and better redress for those who do experience discrimination. The Commission would like to hear more about what can be done for tenants and housing providers to raise awareness, provide guidance and improve access to mechanisms to address human rights concerns in rental housing.

What can the Commission do to raise public awareness about human rights issues in rental housing and to more effectively combat discrimination in this area? What role do others have in this regard?

What can be done to promote better access to resolution of human rights issues in housing?

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