Maytree works to advance viable evidence-based policy solutions that protect and promote the right to housing for all people in Canada, with an emphasis on prioritizing those most in need. We monitor and analyze developments in housing policy at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels, particularly with regard to affordability of housing and access to affordable housing. We also support research by partners and independent researchers in the sector.

Evictions prevention

Maytree worked with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) to explore how the COVID-19 pandemic was impacting tenants and their ability to make rent payments. This research informed a series of recommendations to the Ontario government on how they could prevent tenants from falling into arrears in the short-term and prevent a rise evictions in the long-term.

The Ontario government passed Bill 184 Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act in July 2020. While the Bill introduced some measures that better support tenants, other measures compromised the right to adequate housing. Maytree’s submission provided recommendations on how the Bill could be improved through measures such as extending rent controls and increasing tenants’ access to legal advice.

Rent-Geared-to-Income (RGI)

The Ontario government’s 2019 Community Housing Renewal Strategy was accompanied by a proposal to change the regulations for the social housing waiting list in Ontario and for the RGI assistance calculation. The changes aimed to simplify the existing system and maximize the use of community housing. Maytree’s submissions highlighted how the regulations could be amended further to better meet these goals.

Maytree also produced a backgrounder that outlined how the new RGI calculations would impact tenants receiving COVID-19 emergency benefits. It included suggestions on what could be done to help RGI-tenants navigate the change and uncertainty.

Inclusionary zoning

To meet its affordable housing goals, the City of Toronto is developing an inclusionary zoning policy that would require new housing developments to include some units that are designated as affordable housing. While the City’s proposed framework was quite cautious, a report by housing research consultant Steve Pomeroy (published by Maytree) showed that a few adjustments could increase the delivery of affordable units without limiting development.

Since then Maytree provided the City with further advice on how future feasibility studies could fully assess the capacity of Inclusionary Zoning to maximize the supply of affordable housing available to those in greatest need.

Multi-tenant homes

Multi-tenant homes (MTH), traditionally known as rooming houses, come in a wide range of forms and are home to a diverse array of residents. They are a vital source of deeply-affordable housing, yet MTH are not permitted in the majority of Toronto’s neighbourhoods. Having different MTH rules across the City has resulted in dwelling rooms being lost to upscaling in some areas while proliferating quickly and illegally in other areas.

The City of Toronto has proposed a consistent city-wide framework for MTH to address these challenges. Maytree, in collaboration with the City, conducted a human rights review of the proposed changes. The review focused on the right to adequate housing and whether the proposed changes would address concerns about adequacy, safety, and affordability.