Housing

Recreational marijuana – coming to a unit near you

May 23rd, 2017 by Lauren Blumas

The federal government has announced its plans to legalize recreational marijuana. In addition to legalizing possession of cannabis for recreational purposes ‑ we’ve long had a regime for legal possession of medical cannabis ‑  the proposal allows households to grow up to four marijuana plants under 100 cm. What will legalization mean for rental and co‑op housing?

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Iler Campbell featured in CBC news article on housing co-ownership

March 22nd, 2017 by Iler Campbell

Lauren Blumas is featured in a CBC news article highlighting “creative solutions to unattainable house prices.” The article highlights: the trend of co-buying homes; a couple who’ve elected to stay renters in the city while buying income property outside of the city; and non-profit condo developer (and Iler Campbell client) Options for Homes.

Lauren is quoted on the need for “co-purchasers sign a legally binding document called a co-ownership or co-tenancy agreement prior to buying the home.”

Read the article here.

Eight days and counting… Join us at our Human Rights for Co-ops event March 4th

February 24th, 2017 by Iler Campbell

On Saturday, March 4, 2017, we will host our first IC Education event in Durham Region.   And we’d love to see you there!    Our housing provider clients regularly inquire about human rights issues – how to distinguish a human right from a personal preference and how far the housing provider’s duty to accommodate extends.   If you’d like to join us for our Human Rights Refresher at Otter Creek Co‑op in Whitby on Saturday, March 4, 2017, please register.  We have a few spaces left.

How inclusionary zoning stands to grow affordable housing in Ontario

February 23rd, 2017 by Claudia Pedrero

This article was first published on rabble.ca

On December 6, 2016, the Ontario legislature passed the Promoting Affordable Housing Act, 2016, expanding the powers of Ontario municipalities to implement “inclusionary zoning,” a requirement for developers to build affordable units when constructing new market‑rate housing. The Act changes the provincial Planning Act, RSO 1990, c.P.13, by obliging some municipalities, while making it optional for others, to adopt inclusionary zoning policies. A discussion on the adoption of the Act and debates surrounding its inclusionary zoning provisions can be found on our firm’s blog.

These legislative changes come years after rising housing prices, lagging income levels and dwindling federal and provincial funding have created an increasing need for new affordable housing in Ontario. Significantly, according to the 2017 Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, over the past 13 years Toronto’s house prices have nearly doubled compared to household incomes, thus making market-rate housing unaffordable for an increasingly larger portion of the population. The same study also notes that nearby areas such as Hamilton and Oshawa are becoming unaffordable for middle‑income residents.

What inclusionary zoning will look like on the ground remains unanswered. By extension, it is difficult to predict whether the changes will have a significant impact on the need for affordable housing in Ontario. For example, it is unclear what an “affordable unit” means under the new changes and how affordable units will have to be priced. However, the province is slated to release regulations in early 2017 that will hopefully give some meat to its approach and allow municipalities to develop their policies and bylaws. Read the rest of this entry

Human Rights Refresher for Housing Co ops, Saturday, March 4, 2017 10 a.m. to noon.

February 6th, 2017 by Celia Chandler

Are you on a housing co‑op board that is struggling about how to respond to complaints that second hand smoke is causing a child’s allergies to get worse? Are you a housing co‑op manager concerned that the capital budget is going to take a hit as more members need accessibility retrofits in their units? Are you a bit unclear about what things are covered by the Human Rights Code and what are not?

As a lawyer serving housing co‑ops, I’m asked these kinds of questions all the time. It also seems like there are a few co‑op members out there who want to use the language of human rights to justify the things they’d like to see at the co‑op.

If you’d like to learn a bit more about human rights in housing co‑ops, please join us at a human rights refresher as part of our IC Education series. We heard many of you who don’t like coming to our office in downtown Toronto, so we’re taking this one on the road! Otter Creek Co‑operative Homes has graciously offered to let us use its meeting room at 835 McQuay Boulevard, Unit 30 in Whitby. Sign up early because space is limited.

RSVP here

What medical documentation should you accept when asked to accommodate a disability?

February 2nd, 2017 by Celia Chandler

Our housing provider and employer clients often get asked to accommodate mental and physical disabilities under the Human Rights Code. While we’ve known for a long time that it’s OK to ask for medical documentation to support the requests, it’s been a bit unclear what should be included in doctors’ notes. Sometimes clients got notes that were too skimpy and other times clients got lengthy ones that revealed much more information than was necessary to meet the request.

Yesterday, the Human Rights Commission released some guidance for doctors, for people requesting accommodation, and for housing providers and employers who have been asked for accommodation. The Commission tells us that a doctor’s note should include:

  • that the person has a disability
  • the limitations or needs associated with the disability
  • whether the person can perform the essential duties or requirements of the job, of being a tenant, or of being a service user, with or without accommodation
  • the type of accommodation(s) that may be needed to allow the person to fulfill the essential duties or requirements of the job, of being a tenant, or of being a service user,
  • in employment, regular updates about when the person expects to come back to work, if they are on leave

To see what the Commission released yesterday, click here.

To see the Commission’s Policy on ableism and discrimination based on disability, click here.

Save the Date: IC Education, our workshop series, will turn its attention to human rights in housing on March 4, 2017, at Otter Creek Co‑operative in Whitby. More details to follow soon!