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Centre for Urban and
Community Studies
University of Toronto
455 Spadina Ave.
Suite 400
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M5S 2G8

(416) 978-2072
(416) 978-7162


Policy Options for Rent Regulation and Tenant Protection in Ontario

A policy options forum on rent regulation, tenant protection and related issues was held on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2003. This event was sponsored by the Centre for Urban and Community Studies at the University of Toronto and the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario. Julia McNally, Kenn Hale and David Hulchanski are among the policy experts who presented an overview of the issues and potential solutions.

2005 Update

Tenant Protection Debate, Ontario Legislature,
Nov. 15, 2005

click here for PDF

Ontario Premier Neglects Tenant Rights, Carol Goar
click here for PDF

UN Human Rights Committee complaint, Ontario Tenants, CBC Interview Oct. 2005
Audio: QuickTime or Windows Media

The recently elected Liberal government in Ontario has promised to repeal the Tenant Protection Act and introduce a new system of rent regulation within one year. This policy options forum was designed to provide an opportunity to discuss the key issues and options for revised rent regulation and tenant protection legislation. The opening presentations were broadcast live over the internet and have been archived and made available on this website for viewing, using the services of the Knowledge Media Design Institute of the University of Toronto.

1. Documents from the Forum
2. Election Promises, Ontario Liberal Party, 2003
3. Recommendations for Tenant Law Reform
4. Context: Rental Housing Problems
5. The Human Right to Adequate Housing

1. Documents from the Forum

Rent Regulation and Tenant Protection: Issue and Options
David Hulchanski, Professor and Director, Centre for Urban and Community Studies, University of Toronto
click here for PDF of Part I
click here for PDF of Part II
click here for PDF of Part III
click here for PDF of Part IV and V

Residential Landlord & Tenant Relations:
Restoring the Balance

Kenn Hale, South Etobicoke Community Legal Services, and Mary Todorow & Julia McNally, Advocacy Centre for Tenants
click here for PDF

Statement of Principles: New Landlord/Tenant and Rent Control Legislation
Legal Clinics’ Housing Issues Committee, Advocacy Centre For Tenants Ontario, June 2003
click here for PDF

The LCHIC and the ACTO proposals for change regarding residential landlords and tenants, compared to the Ontario Liberal Party's housing policy proposals
Prepared by the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO), Fall 2003
click here for PDF

Recommendations for an Improved Process for Provincial Appointments to Adjudicative Tribunals
Government Adjudicative Appointments Group, Ontario Community Legal Clinics, April 2003
click here for PDF

Improving Social Housing Regulations: A List of Recommendations
Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario, submitted to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, March 2003
click here for PDF

Re-constructing the Work of the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal: First Steps to a Fairer Process
Katherine Laird, Legal Director, Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario
click here for PDF

"Decisions Adverse to a Household": Protecting social housing tenants under the Social Housing Reform Act and the Tenant Protection Act: Revocation of RGI assistance and Subsequent Evictions for Arrears of Rent
Toby Young, Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario, and Bruce Best, Clinic Resource Office, Legal Aid Ontario
click here for PDF

Rental Housing in Ontario: Quick Facts
The Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario, November 2003
click here for PDF

Income and Wealth of Owners and Renters in Ontario, 1984 and 1999
Urban Centre Fact Sheet, 2001
This fact sheet supplements CUCS Research Bulletin #2, A Tale of Two Canadas: Homeowners Getting Richer, Renters Getting Poorer, Income and Wealth Trends, 1984 and 1999, August 2001.
click here for PDF of the Ontario Fact Sheet
click here for Research Bulletin #2, A Tale of Two Canada


2. Election Promises, Ontario Liberal Party, 2003

Minister of Municipal Affairs speech to landlord association, Dec. 2003
click here for PDF

Ontario Liberal Platform on Communities, Affordable Housing and Rent Control
click here for PDF

Backgrounder to the Liberal Party
Strong Communities Plan
(further details on election promises relating to
housing and related issues), 2003

click here for PDF

Ontario Liberals will restore real rent controls
September 30, 2003, Ontario Liberal Party press release
“Ontario Liberals will restore real rent controls and provide a variety of measures to protect tenants. The Liberal plan is clear. We will bring in real rent control legislation within one year. We will introduce a Rent Bank to help tenants with short-term arrears so that they can keep their homes. We will establish … “
click here for PDF

Liberals unveil tenant-aid package: Affordable housing, strong rent controls, emergency funding outlined in policy aimed at renters
November 26, 2002, The Globe and Mail.”
Ontario's Liberal Party is attempting to mobilize the province's tenants in its bid to oust the Conservative government by offering an extensive package to protect renters and help those who have difficulty meeting their rent. The package includes stronger rent controls, short-term help for those who cannot meet their rent in an emergency, construction of affordable housing and expanded housing allowances.”
click here for PDF

Liberals pledge 'real' rent control – Latest plank in election platform Ontarians to get the details today
November 25, 2002, Toronto Star
The Ontario Liberals are to release details of their election strategy today including bringing back rent controls. "We are talking about a return to real rent control," a spokesperson for the Opposition Liberals said. "We will provide real protection for tenants and make unfair rent increases illegal."
click here for PDF


3. Recommendations for Tenant Law Reform

Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations, A full response to the issues raised in the Residential Tenancy Reform Consultation Paper, June, 2004
As the Public Consultation period concludes, this paper is intended to give a perspective from the Federation of Metro Tenants Associations on the status of rent reform in Ontario. The case for real rent control, a new and fair law, and an overhauled Tribunal is strong.
click here for PDF

Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations, Ontario's Green Paper: Rents will Still Increase, April 2004
The discussion paper is weak on the issue of stopping Above Guideline Increases. Tenants in thousands of apartment buildings have experienced unfair and unjust and compounding rent increases based on capital expenditures or temporary jumps in utility costs (already included in the guideline).
click here for PDF

Renters Educating & Networking Together (R.E.N.T.), Reform of the T.P.A., April 2004
R.E.N.T. is a proactive, non-partisan group of volunteer citizens who seek to improve the state of tenants within the Region of Waterloo, through education, organization and general representation. Our primary concerns centre around Rent Increases - and all the sections of the TPA which refer to rents.
click here for PDF

Future Directions on Rent Regulation and Laws affecting Tenants by Shelter, Housing and Support Division, City of Toronto, February 2004
This presentation to the Rooming House Working Group reports on: the rental housing situation in Toronto; key parts of the TPA; future directions; and next steps.
click here for Power Point slide show

Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations, A New Tenant Law: Suggested Changes to Current Tenant Law in Ontario, February 2004.
We have worked with tenants from every part of the City of Toronto. In November, 2002, members of the FMTA approved a 15 point resolution for change. In November 2003, members approved a 29 point "Redprint for Tenant Law Reform." This document builds on these resolutions and reflects the unfairness experienced by tenants and their hopes for change.
click here for PDF

Federation of Metro Tenant's Associations, Position on Tenant Law Reform, December 2003
From our experience of working with tenants in hundreds of buildings in Toronto since the TPA came into effect, we have seen tenants' desperate need for change. The following reflects the ideas and aspirations of the Toronto tenant community. The new Government has promised a new law within one year. We promise them that we will work constructively to achieve the best possible legislation.
click here for FMTA Press Release, December 2003
click here for FMTA Redprint for Tenant Law Reform, December 2003


4. Context: Rental Housing Problems

State of the Crisis, 2003: Ontario Housing Policies are Dehousing Ontarians
By Michael Shapcott, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Ontario Alternative Budget Paper, March 2003
Ontario has lost 45,000 private rental units over the past eight years. The province has also lost 23,300 affordable social housing units, along with another 59,600 affordable social housing units that should have been built. Tenants face a growing affordability squeeze as rents in existing units have increased significantly since 1995 – as much as 30% or higher in some areas – at the same time that renter household incomes have been stagnant or declining. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
click here for PDF

Affordable Housing in Canada:
In Search of a New Paradigm

Toronto Dominion Bank, TD Economics, Special Report, 2003
Housing is a necessity of life. Yet, after ten years of economic expansion, one in five households in Canada is still unable to afford acceptable shelter – a strikingly high number, especially in view of the country’s ranking well atop the United Nations human-development survey. What’s more, the lack of affordable housing is a problem confronting communities right across the nation – from large urban centres to smaller, less-populated areas. As such, it is steadily gaining recognition as one of Canada’s most pressing public-policy issues.
click here for PDF

Housing Policy for Tomorrow's Cities
J. David Hulchanski, Canadian Policy Research Networks, Research Report, December 2002
Canada’s housing system is “dehousing” Canadians. Reversing that situation must be part of any national strategy to enhance the quality of life and competitiveness of Canada’s cities. Housing Policy for Tomorrow’s Cities investigates the federal responsibility for access to affordable housing in the country’s major urban centres. “Canada’s housing system is discriminatory. Public policy relies on, and reinforces a market mechanism which works for owners but not for renters,” says Hulchanski. “The result is that certain households are increasingly excluded from access to housing.” Public regulation, mortgage insurance and tax breaks have created a sustainable home ownership sector. Not so for rental housing. In that sector, demand far exceeds supply, leaving many out in the cold.
click here for PDF

Targeting the Most Vulnerable: A Decade of Desperation for Ontario's Welfare Recipients
Michael Oliphant and Chris Slosser, Daily Bread Food Bank, Ontario Alternative Budget 2003, Technical Paper #6, May 2003
April 1, 2003 was the tenth anniversary of the last time welfare benefits were raised in Ontario after a 21.6% cut in 1995 (and since 1995, inflation has increased by 15.8% in Ontario, making the real value of that cut now over 37%). According to the Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB), the impact of the cut was felt immediately: food banks across the province saw an increase of more than 30% in the number of people accessing their services from 1995 to 1996. Current welfare rates fail to meet the cost of both rent and food as measured by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and by the Nutritious Food Basket measure calculated by public health units in each community across the province. As such, this paper proposes short-term changes to the existing welfare system through immediate rate increases as a means of providing needed relief to the financial pressures that place welfare recipients in housing insecurity and food shortages.
click here for PDF

Profiting from a Manufactured Housing Crisis
Michael Shapcott, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Ontario Alternative Budget Paper, June 2002
The 4.8 million women, men and children living in rental housing in Ontario remain mired in the province's worst housing crisis in more than a decade. But the bad news for millions of renter households is a virtual goldmine for investors and their financial advisors, including a former assistant deputy provincial housing minister. The province's over-heated rental market is showering them with big returns even as tenants struggle to make their monthly rent. They are buying up rental buildings with moderate rents in Toronto, Mississauga, Burlington, St. Catharines, Ottawa, London, Brampton, Kitchener-Waterloo and other communities, then using weakened tenant protection laws to drive up rents and bank the profits, a big chunk tax-free.
click here for PDF

Homeless-Making Processes and
Canada’s Homeless-Makers

By J.D. Hulchanski, for Toronto Disaster Relief Committee (TDRC), March 2000
Since the 1980s a number of homeless making processes have been set in motion. These ‘processes’ are not caused by ‘nature’ – such as an earthquake, ice storm, or flood. They are human made processes. People, in public and private institutions and organizations large and small, from households to corporations and governments, have set in motion and have left unchecked these homeless making processes. People able to stop or redress the harm fail to do so. Homelessness in Canada will not be eliminated until we can specifically name the people and groups who create, promote, refuse to redress and who benefit from these homeless making processes. They are Canada’s homeless makers.
click here for PDF

Made-in-Ontario Housing Crisis
Michael Shapcott, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Ontario Alternative Budget Paper, May 2001
According to this report, six years of Harris government housing policy, including massive social housing cuts and growing handouts to private developers, has been a dismal failure. All ten of Ontario's rental markets saw a drop in rental vacancy rates, a sure sign of a province-wide housing crisis. Not surprisingly, all ten markets also saw rental rates increase, often at double the rate of inflation. The three worst rental markets in Canada are in Ontario: Ottawa, Toronto and Kitchener.
click here for PDF

The Grapes of Rent: A History of Renting
in a Country of Owners

Donald A. Krueckeberg, Housing Policy Debate, 10(1), 1999
In addition to neighborhood antagonism and financing challenges, multifamily housing faces political prejudice. Krueckeberg argues that there is a centuries' long political bias against both renters and rental housing. He says federal and state housing policies should seek a balance of rental and ownership choices through incentives that support markets in proportion to the needs and financial capabilities of all consumers.
click here for PDF


5. The Human Right to Adequate Housing

The Human Right to Housing, 1945 to 1999: Chronology of United Nations Activity
J. David Hulchanski and Scott Leckie, February 2000
This report chronicles in outline form a half century of UN activity on housing rights. It provides a comprehensive overview of how, when and by what method the United Nations has been working towards assuring that all humanity understands, implements and enjoys all human rights, including the fundamental right to a safe and secure place to live with peace and dignity.
click here for PDF

Adequate Shelter: A Fundamental Human Right
Paul Martin, MP and Joe Fontana, MP
The Task Force believes that those searching for adequate, affordable housing may be better served by giving them some form of constitutionally guaranteed right to shelter. This would help them combat the weak or inadequate anti-discrimination laws as well as make governments face, and begin to resolve the desperate shortage of adequate, affordable housing. This constitutional guarantee would force governments to deal in a positive manner with these problems or be subject to legal claims brought forward by those disadvantaged by a lack of access to adequate housing.
click here for a PDF


CURA: Gentrification &
Inclusive Communities

Toronto Neighbourhoods Research Network

Strategic Lobbying 101

Rent Regulation Options

Housing and Child Welfare

Participatory Research Resources