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Age discrimination and housing (fact sheet)

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Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, older persons have a right to be free from discrimination in housing.  This right applies to renting, being evicted, building rules and regulations, repairs and use of services and facilities.  Housing includes a range of accommodation options including rental accommodation, condominiums, retirement homes and care facilities.

The Commission encourages housing aimed at older persons, including those less than 65 years of age, which will foster the objectives of the Ontario Human Rights Code.  This would include housing that is designed to be barrier-free and to promote "aging in place".  However, anyone who wishes to have eligibility criteria for housing is reminded to consult the Commission’s policies and guidelines to ensure compliance with the Human Rights Code (in particular, the Policy on discrimination against older persons because of age and the Guidelines on special programs).

Older persons may have special needs which require accommodation so that they can enjoy housing on an equal basis with other residents.  The person responsible for the housing, such as the landlord or the condominium corporation, can be asked to make changes to accommodate such needs, unless it would be an undue hardship. Types of accommodation might include:

  • changes to an older person’s apartment (except where owned by the person him or herself), building entrance, sidewalks, parking facilities and common areas;
  • physical modifications such as installing elevators, ramps, visual fire alarms and doorbells for the hearing impaired, different door handles, lower counters etc;
  • changing a rule to address an older person’s needs;
  • allowing transfer to another unit with out penalty; and
  • providing better maintenance such as more frequent snow removal.

Such changes usually promote accessibility for others as well.