Ontario Ombudsman's Office Calls for Improvements in Toronto's Property Standards Department: Nov. 2010

A recent report from the Ontario Ombudsman’s Office proposes positive changes to how MLS (Property Standards) complaints are dealt with. Read on to find out more about how this may impact all Toronto tenants.

The following is a short summary of the November 2010 Ombudsman's report entitled: “A DUTY TO CARE: An Investigation into Municipal Licensing and Standards’ Treatment of a Resident with Dementia”.

Summary:
A complaint was filed after MLS fined a woman with dementia over $4000 for cutting down a tree in her yard. The Ombudsmans’ office found that MLS is discriminating against people with dementia or ‘diminished capacity’ and must develop accommodation policies. They found MLS negligent in communicating poorly with residents and failing to respond to complaints about its staff.

Relevant Recommendations:

1) MLS needs to consult with mental health services and advocates to develop policy on accommodating residents with dementia or ‘diminished capacity’. Policy must be developed by March 2011 and implemented by April 2011

2) When dealing with some one who is not responsible for their own affairs(eg. has a trustee), they must make reasonable efforts to communicate with whoever is responsible for the person's affairs.

3) MLS must develop an “Escalation Protocol” and follow its existing Complaint Compliance Protocol

4) MLS must make sure notices are thorough and clear and develop a standard of service wherein residents get “clear, prompt, and complete answers”

City Response:

- Accepted all recommendations

- Say they have developed a “Multi-Jurisdictional Enforcement Team” to deal with providing services to vulnerable adults