Published by the Housing Network Ontario, on March 17th, 2011
The government is changing the social housing system in Ontario:
Let's make sure it changes for the better!
The Government promised that the new Housing Services Act would make sure the affordable housing system ‚Äòput people first'. The new law does not do nearly enough.
If the government is serious about a housing program that focuses on positive results for low-income Ontarians, the new Housing Services Act must be changed. Take action by March 31st!
The Housing Services Act must be changed to:
1. Prevent the privatization and sell-off of social housing:
Affordable housing strengthens the foundation of communities and is an important public asset. The Housing Services Act should make it illegal for municipalities to reduce the number of units of social housing.
2. Restrict punitive rent-geared-to-income rules:
Tenants on social assistance who live in social housing should not be worse off if they find a job. The Housing Services Act should protect tenants from rapid, unfair rent hikes if their income rises.
3. Improve fairness for tenants:
Tenants need an independent review process when disputing decisions made by housing providers, such as cancelling a rental subsidy. The people reviewing the decisions should not be the co-workers of the people who made them in the first place. The Housing Services Act should mandate the creation of an independent panel to consider these disputes.
4. Introduce Inclusionary housing:
One of the fastest and fairest ways to create stable, equitably accessible, affordable housing is to ensure that it is built into any new development. The government needs to amend the Planning Act to allow municipalities to introduce inclusionary housing policies.
5. Social Housing providers need a fair appeals process:
Under existing legislation, co-ops and non-profits have not had the ability to seek an independent review of Municipal Service Manager actions or decisions that did not involve costly court proceedings. The Housing Services Act must introduce an independent, fair and transparent appeals process for housing providers.
Tell the government that this opportunity to improve Ontario's affordable housing system cannot be wasted.
Take Action NOW:
1. Copy this email and add your own reasons for the government to make these changes, then send it to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy , BEFORE MARCH 31, by emailing the clerk at: [email protected]
2. Call/email your MPP and tell them that the new Housing Services Act, must be changed to better protect tenants and promote affordable housing.
Even with these changes, Ontario needs to improve the long-term affordable housing strategy by introducing targets and timelines and funding in order to meaningfully address the housing crisis. Ontarians need:
- New affordable housing units and repairs to rundown housing.
- A housing benefit and rent regulation to close the gap between low incomes and rising rents.
- Supports and services to help people access and maintain housing they can afford, and to ensure equitable, inclusive communities.
You can view the proposed legislation at: