All posts by CERA Staff

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Check out new tools to help you claim your rights!

PROJECT UPDATE! Facilitating Local Responses to Housing Discrimination

After many hours of writing and lots of conversations with our wonderful partners across the province, we’re excited to share over twenty new housing rights resources and self-advocacy tools for tenants that we’ve been working on over the past several months. Here they are!

At CERA, we believe that knowing your rights is the first step to making them a reality. These new tools are designed to offer tenants and housing sector professionals key information and strategies to enable Ontarians to realize your human rights in rental housing. Translated versions are coming soon!

Know Your Rights Guide & Tip Sheets

This easy to use Guide has been designed to address common questions and walk tenants through practical examples of ways you can self-advocate: Tenant Toolkit – Human Rights & Rental Housing in Ontario

We will  soon be adding customized Tip Sheets for: Newcomers in Hamilton,  women who have experienced domestic violence in Toronto, Aging and Senior Tenants in London, Tenants facing discrimination in Windsor , Indigenous Tenants in OttawaIndigenous Youth in Thunder Bay, and  Tenants with Mental Health Issues in Sudbury.

Realize-Your-Rights Postcards

Want to self-advocate with a landlord about a time you were treated unfairly under the Human Rights Code? You can use these postcards to educate landlords and your friends and family about housing rights in Ontario.

Myth: Landlords can dictate how many bedrooms a family needs

Myth: Landlords can refuse to rent to someone who does not have references or a credit rating

Myth: Aging tenants need to move out to find a more accessible unit that meets their changing needs

Myth: Landlords can evict tenants that they think are “too old” to live independently

Myth: Landlords just need to collect the rent and do repairs, nothing else

Myth: Landlords can discriminate against indigenous housing seekers

Myth: A landlord can refuse to rent to someone because they have a mental illness

Myth: tenants with worsening disabilities need to move out to find a place that meets their needs

Myth: Landlords can refuse to rent to someone because they are “too young”

Myth: If someone doesn’t have landlord references or a credit rating, landlords can refuse them

Myth: landlords don’t have to rent to people who receive social assistance

Myth: landlords can refuse you if you don’t make 3x the rent

Myth: landlords can refuse to rent to families with children

 

If you or your organization would like hard copies of any of the above resources, please contact us at renee(at)equalityrights.org

Next Steps! CERA will be re-visiting our partners across the province to work with local Housing Rights Ambassadors on spreading the word about human rights in housing in April and May 2016. Stay tuned! If you would like to join one of our upcoming workshops, contact Renee at renee(at)equalityrights.org.

Thanks again to our partners for their feedback and guidance:

Age Friendly London Network, CMHA Sudbury Manitoulin, Housing Help Hamilton, Kinna-aweya Legal Clinic, Odawa Native Friendship Centre’s Drop In, Voices Against Poverty and numerous shelters, drop-ins and community organizations in Toronto.

Special thank you to our funder for this project:

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CERA pens Open Letter to the Prime Minister

Read CERA’s open letter to the Canadian government following the release of the UN’s report on Canada on March 7th, 2016.

How well is Canada doing as a signatory to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights?  According to CERA’s ED Renee Griffin, we can and must do better.

Contact your local MP and tell them that you want to see resources to implement the UN’s recommendations on the right to housing included in the upcoming budget on March 22nd! Find your MP’s contact information here.

For more about the UN’s report on Canada, check out these news stories:

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/03/07/un-raises-concern-over-canadas-persistent-housing-crisis.html

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/un-housing-crisis-1.3480979

NEW RESOURCE EXPLAINS THE AODA TO LANDLORDS

RECENTLY RELEASED: Unlocking the AODA – Landlords’ Obligations Under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

These resources are designed to assist small-to-medium-sized landlords in implementing the requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005. These resources were produced by CERA with support from the Government of Ontario.

Unlocking the AODA – Guide for Landlords 

Unlocking the AODA – Toolkit for Landlords 

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Join us! Dec 10th Speakers’ Panel & Open House

On International Human Rights Day (December 10th) join us for a discussion of the importance of a human rights based approach to homelessness and housing insecurity in Canada. The CERA team will also be on site to provide information about CERA’s work on discrimination in housing in Ontario.

The evening will include:

6:00-7:30 pm : :  Welcome to CERA & Speakers’ Panel

featuring Cathy Crowe (Street Nurse), Bruce Porter (Director of the Social Rights Advocacy Centre, Co-Director of Social Rights in Canada, and CERA co-founder), and Victor Willis (Executive Director of Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre, and member of CAMH’s Board of Trustees).

7:30-8:30 pm : :  Open House & Ways to Support CERA

~ ~ Light refreshments will be provided ~ ~

RSVP online here and share on Facebook! You can also help us spread the word by downloading a copy of the invitation and sharing it with you communities: Invite – Speakers’ Series Dec 10

Photo Contest: Your Housing, Your Reality

Share your housing story, through your eyes.

CERA is collecting images about the reality of housing in Ontario. What does fair housing mean to you? What are the biggest housing-related challenges in your life?

Send us your photo, and you’ll be entered to receive a $100 gift card.

Selected photos will be included in a photo book to kick-start conversations about housing rights in Ontario.

Download the required  Submission Form – Your Housing Your Reality and email it along with your photo to katie@equalityrights.org

Submission Deadline: October 28th, 2015

Read more here 

PROJECT UPDATE! Facilitating Local Responses to Housing Discrimination

If our recent conversations with hundreds of tenants, housing seekers and professionals in the housing sector are any indication, discrimination in rental housing continues to be serious problem in communities across Ontario.

Public legal education and knowledge sharing are central to ending discrimination in housing, and CERA is grateful for funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation that has taken us to seven communities across Ontario where we have met with hundreds of Ontarians. Recently completed Housing Rights Workshops in Hamilton, Toronto, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Ottawa, London and Windsor targeted local key priorities, and brought residents and community based advocates together to learn about CERA’s approaches to overcoming discriminatory barriers in rental housing.

Unanimously, workshop participants agreed that opportunities to learn about and discuss the Human Rights Code and related housing legislation is necessary, and that communities could benefit from more frequent workshops or local leaders that work to target housing discrimination specifically. We’re excited to start this work in year 2 of the project.

One young mother who joined us for a workshop at a Violence Against Women shelter in Toronto said she was surprised by “the fact that being pregnant cannot be a reason for being denied housing” under the law. A senior tenant who attended a workshop in Ottawa was surprised to learn that landlords cannot refuse to rent to aging tenants because they may need modifications to the unit to accommodate mobility issues. Participants in many regions were surprised to learn landlords should also not deny anyone a rental unit based on family size.

Ontarians have asked for practical resources so that they can take advocacy around housing rights into their own hands. As part of this Ontario Trillium Foundation funded initiative, we are producing a number of user-friendly resources, available soon online and in print. Together, these resources will enable Ontarians to inform themselves, their housing providers, and their communities about their rights under Ontario’s Human Rights Code.

• Want to send a clear message to a landlord about discriminatory practices? Use one of these printer-friendly postcards. More postcards are coming soon:

• Want to share information about your housing rights with your friends or family? Our forthcoming tool kit will be available for download on our website soon, or you can request your hard copy by emailing cera@equalityrights.org.

In the meantime, check out our other useful resources.

WHAT’S NEXT?

The second phase of this project, starting this summer, will see us re-connecting with our partners and workshop participants to develop community-led outreach initiatives that will continue to combat housing discrimination in each community.

Thank you to our supporting partners who helped to spread the word about CERA’s work. We look forward to working with you in the year ahead.

Age Friendly London Network
CMHA Sudbury Manitoulin
Housing Help Hamilton
Kinna-aweya Legal Clinic
Voices Against Poverty
and numerous shelters, drop-ins and community organizations in Ottawa and Toronto

Special thank you to our funder, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario.

Charter Challenge refused by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of Canada has refused to hear our Right to Housing appeal. After five years of courageous work by the applicants and our lawyers, this decision ensures that the Canadian courts will not hear our Charter challenge to hold the Canadian and Ontarian governments responsible for the crisis in affordable housing and homelessness.

The courts have said that this issue is political rather than legal in nature. If that’s the case, it’s time for the government to step up and develop a National Housing Strategy that properly addresses homelessness and inadequate housing, and protects the most vulnerable members of our community.

Homeless and precariously housed Canadians can’t afford to wait any longer!

Read the press release here

Read the Toronto Star article here.