Policy on Human Rights and Rental Housing


The Ontario Human Rights Commission has released a legal paper today (global habitat day as proclaimed by the United Nations) that provides a detailed guide to the right to rental housing in Ontario law. The paper is aimed at tenants, landlords, rights advocates and lawyers – and will help guide the application of the Ontario Human Rights Code to rental housing. While the legal paper only covers Ontario, rights advocates are working to get human rights commissions across Canada, and at the national level, to set out in more detail the application of the international right to adequate housing to domestic law and policies.

Some excerpts from the report: "The international community has long recognized that housing is a fundamental and universal human right that must be protected in law. Both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights3 and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (the ICESCR),  recognize the right to housing. Other international treaties that have affirmed the right to housing include the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Canada has ratified all of these treaties, and in doing so, has endorsed the view that housing is a human right. The challenge for Canada is to make these high level principles a lived reality for Canadians. Human rights bodies across Canada play a key role in making this happen. In Ontario, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (the OHRC) has a special responsibility to help Canada fulfill its international human rights commitments. In this Policy, the OHRC brings the principles contained in international covenants into communities and homes across Ontario."