About Us

The Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA) is a not-for-profit charitable organization dedicated to preventing evictions and ending housing discrimination across Ontario. CERA was founded in 1987 as the only organization in Canada with a primary focus on promoting human rights in housing. Nearly 30 years later, we continue to carry out our mandate through public education, research, law reform, casework, test case litigation and using international human rights law and mechanisms. Our intake program, funded by the City of Toronto, provides assistance and support to individuals who are experiencing housing issues related to eviction and human rights.

Our Roots

The Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA) was formed in 1987 by a provincial coalition of low income families who successfully advocated for improved protections under Ontario’s Human Rights Code. As a result of their work, the province of Ontario has come to have the best legal protections against discrimination in housing in Canada. However, having rights ensconced in the law was only one step. When evidence indicated that these protections were not being enforced, CERA was established to ensure that human rights protections in housing exist in practice. Since 1987, CERA has advocated for low income households and marginalized groups,  addressing systemic barriers to accessing affordable, appropriate accommodation.

CERA Today

For nearly three decades, CERA has pursued our vision, using human rights tools to combat housing insecurity and homelessness across Ontario. Discrimination is a key barrier that prevents people from accessing and keeping the housing they need. We work with tenants, landlords, community partners and the public to build awareness about housing rights, and to build the capacity of Ontarians to recognize and defend their human rights.

Our model for change-making involves the following interventions, which we accomplish through time-limited project funding and donor support:

  • Unique Services for Tenants: Our direct service model is primarily phone-based, and serves over 1,500 marginalized users per year. Our intake services are fast and responsive, and we engage clients as team members in creative problem-solving as we work to prevent homelessness and overcome discrimination.
  • Creative Public Engagement and Education: Our innovative outreach approach responds to real needs across Ontario and include strategies such as youth-focused interventions incorporating the arts, and culturally-specific housing rights training for First Nations tenants in remote areas. CERA knows that partnerships make us stronger, and we work closely with groups across the province to reach those in need.
  • Legal Initiatives that Challenge the Housing Status Quo: In addition to on-the-ground supports for individuals and communities, our staff lawyer works tirelessly to improve housing policy and set legal precedents that benefit marginalized renters.
How CERA Funds Its Unique Approach

CERA is a not-for-profit charitable organization. We receive no stable ongoing funding from any source. In order to continue providing our services, we rely on individual project grants and direct fundraising. We gratefully accept donations of any amount.

Housing discrimination is still a reality. With your support, CERA can help…

$10 educates a tenant about her housing and human rights
$30 supports our Eviction Prevention Hotline for one hour
$75 can prevent an eviction into homelessness

 

You can donate securely through CanadaHelps by clicking the link below, or by contacting us at cera@equalityrights.org or 416-944-0087 Ext 3.

Charitable receipts will be issued. Thank you!

 

Charitable Registration Number:  106897853RR0001

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