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 post
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.
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!
February 2nd, 2017 by Iler Campbell
We’ve been hearing more and more about co-buying as a means of accessing the real estate market for those who might otherwise not be able to afford a house of their own. The incredible amount of interest in our event last Thursday just went to show how interested people are in this concept.
For those of you who wish to learn more or refresh your memory, here are the presentations from our event.
January 26th, 2017 by Celia Chandler
This post was first published on rabble.ca
Law is a tool. It’s a tool for everyone to use. And with increasing numbers of people representing themselves in court and using legal how-to books and online resources, everyone is using it. Lawyers and judges have a responsibility to talk and write clearly so that others can effectively use the tool.
Legalese is the term used for language used by lawyers and in legal documents that is difficult for ordinary people to understand. Here are four techniques that exclude others: Read the rest of this post
January 6th, 2017 by Iler Campbell
Registration is open for our latest IC Education event, The How-To’s of Co-Buying. Claim your spot here.
Learn everything you need to know about co‑buying as a way to enter the housing market. Our experienced panelists will walk through the co‑buying process from start to finish. Join us to learn about choosing the right property, financing, and legal arrangements for co‑buyers.
Read the rest of this post