Human Rights Legal Support Centre

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What is Discrimination?

Image of person holding a key

Housing

The Human Rights Code protects against discrimination in the place where you live or want to live. You have the right to be free from harassment by your landlord, superintendent or other tenants, if the harassment is because of a ground in the Code, such as ethnic origin, disability or sex.

For example, a landlord cannot refuse to rent an apartment to you because you are an Aboriginal person or harass you because of your sexual orientation.

There are some exemptions to the rules about discrimination in rental housing. For example, the Human Rights Code allows an owner to refuse to rent to someone because of their gender or race if the owner or his or her family would be sharing a kitchen or bathroom with the tenant.

The Human Rights Commission has information for tenants about discrimination in rental housing on its website.

Tenants can get also get information from the Centre for Equality Rights in Housing at 1-800-263-1139.

The Code also protects you against discrimination in buying a condominium, in renting for a co-op or in purchasing a home. For example, a condominium cannot refuse to approve your purchase because you are a recent immigrant. A vendor cannot refuse to complete a house sale because you are a racialized person.

If you are a tenant facing eviction or experiencing harassment that is not related to a discriminatory ground – such as race or disability – you can get help from the Landlord and Tenant Board at 1-888-332-3234 or 416-645-8080.

If you are unemployed or have a low income, you may qualify for legal assistance at a community legal clinic. To find the clinic in your area, call Legal Aid Ontario at 1-800-668-8258 or 416-979-1446.