Proposed Amendment to the Housing Services Act, 2011 to Support Community Safety
Ontario Regulation 367/11
Bill or Act:
Housing Services Act, 2011
Summary of Proposal:
The Housing Services Act, 2011 establishes the legislative framework for social housing in Ontario. Rent-geared-to-income assistance is administered locally by 47 Service Managers (municipalities and district social services administration boards) designated under the Housing Services Act, 2011 to manage social housing programs across the province.
Service Managers are responsible for determining a household's eligibility for rent-geared-to-income assistance and priority access to subsidized housing in their service area. These determinations are made in accordance with provincial eligibility and priority rules, and local eligibility and priority rules that are set by the Service Manager on specific matters as specified by regulation.
Once an applicant household is determined to be eligible for rent-geared-to-income assistance, they are placed on a centralized waiting list. When the household reaches the top of list, they are offered a subsidized unit in a social housing building.
Social housing providers are only permitted to refuse to offer a unit to a household who has reached the top of the waiting list in certain limited circumstances that are set out in section 50 of Ontario Regulation 367/11 (e.g., based on their rental history, the housing provider has reasonable grounds to believe the household will not pay their rent, etc.).
Currently, social housing providers are not allowed to refuse to offer a unit to households due to previous criminal activity where the household has been found eligible for rent-geared-to-income assistance.
These proposed amendments are part of a larger Community Housing Renewal initiative. Under this strategy, the government is committed to making community housing safer for some of the most vulnerable residents.
The current proposal would amend section 50 of Ontario Regulation 367/11 by adding to the circumstances under which a housing provider would be allowed to refuse to offer a unit to a household at the top of the waiting list. This proposed change would give community housing providers the authority to refuse to re-house a household based on a previous eviction for a serious criminal offence.
If a member of the household had previously been evicted due to serious illegal activity, a housing provider would have the option to refuse to offer a unit to that household.
The ministry is seeking feedback on this proposed change which is intended to help reduce crime and gang-related violence in community housing so that all residents feel safer in their homes.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
There are no major direct compliance costs (i.e., no new capital or operating costs, or fees) associated with this proposal. There are potentially minimal administrative costs related to resources spent by Service Manager and housing providers to learn about the regulatory change and their obligations for compliance.
April 17, 2019
Comments Due Date:
July 1, 2019
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
777 Bay St., 14th Floor
Toronto, ON M5G 2E5