Denying someone housing in Toronto based on their country of origin, race and religion is illegal, tenant advocates say stories about discrimination in the rental market are all too common. It is possible for a tenant facing discrimination while looking for housing to file an application at the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.
Renee Griffin, executive director of the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation says she receives regular calls from people who believe they’ve been discriminated against.
“It may be that they speak with an accent, it may be that when the landlord sees them they think that they’re not Canadian,” she said.
It’s long been a problem but Griffin said the lack of affordable housing and “landlord’s market” makes it worse.
Based on what Griffin sees, many don’t report these cases or drop out before completing the long and cumbersome process. Even when they do go to the tribunal, settled cases do not include a public ruling. Better tracking and monitoring of complaints is needed, she added.
Geordie Dent with the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations said landlord training, or “some kind of mandatory penalty” for landlords who break the law would help prevent this type of discrimination.
“We sadly see this kind of thing all the time,” he said.
“If you’re going to provide a place to live, you ought to, bare minimum, follow the law.”
To read about a man who was recently denied an apartment based on his religion and country of origin in Toronto, visit: