The lack of affordable rental housing and the sharp rise in rents have become key issues in Alberta. On December 5, 2023, Alberta’s Housing Critic tabled a Private Members’ Bill to introduce temporary rent caps. Bill 205 represents a vital first step toward rent regulation in the province, and if implemented, can help keep Alberta’s renters in their homes.  

Our Advocacy Toolkit for Bill 205 offers several actions that you can take to lend your voice in support of the bill and rent regulations in Alberta. 


Highlights include:

  • Why rent regulation is needed in Alberta.
  • Signing and starting petitions to the provincial government.
  • Sending a formal letter of support for Bill 205. Read our letter of support here.
  • How to participate in the public consultation.

See also: Our Tenant Leaders’ Toolbox

Inside the toolbox you’ll find:

  • A toolkit on implementing the right to housing in Canada.
  • Resources on a human rights-based approach to housing, empowering communities to claim this right, and how to target your advocacy.
  • Guides on engaging with local, provincial and territorial governments, and how to make a submission to the Federal Housing Advocate.

The Canadian Centre for Housing Rights is conducting a research project to address the knowledge gap that exists in Canada about housing and gender-based violence (GBV), with generous support from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s National Housing Strategy Research and Planning Fund.

Through this project, we aim to produce new knowledge and deepen an understanding about the relationship between GBV and housing insecurity, in order to inform policy recommendations that offer pathways to housing security for women and gender-diverse people who have been impacted by GBV.  

Gender-based violence (GBV) and intimate partner/interpersonal violence (IPV) are pervasive problems in Canada, with Statistics Canada reporting that 44% of Canadian women have experienced some form of GBV/IPV in their lifetime. Unfortunately, many times when someone experiences violence in their home, the onus is on them to leave the home in order to escape the violence. In many cases survivors are faced with housing insecurity after leaving their home, in large part due to a lack of safe, appropriate and affordable housing. This presents a key barrier to the right to housing for women and gender-diverse people, who disproportionately experience GBV/IPV and related housing insecurity.  

Project background 

While there is extensive literature on GBV in Canada, a knowledge gap exists in understanding the relationship between GBV and housing insecurity. To address this knowledge gap, this project examines the relationship between GBV and housing insecurity in five Ontario communities: Toronto, Ottawa, Peterborough, Thunder Bay and Lanark County. By conducting interviews with service providers and surveys with survivors, this project endeavors to illustrate the ways in which the ongoing crisis of housing affordability in Ontario is impacting survivors’ pathways out of violent homes.  

The project to date

An advisory committee has been assembled to assist in guiding this project, which includes Dr. Carolyn Whitzman, as well as team members from WomanACT and the Canadian Women’s Foundation. In the coming months, the project team will carry out data collection and compile findings in a report. This project has received ethics approval from the Community Research Ethics Office.


Acknowledgements

This project is generously supported by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s National Housing Strategy Research and Planning Fund.


A picture of the Canadian flag among others


On this page, find key information about the rent regulation laws in place in your province or territory, including about:

  • Rent control policies that are in place
  • Rules around rent increases
  • Limits on rent increases, and when those limits can be lifted
  • Rent increases and limits when renters change

* The information on this page was last updated in May 2024.

  • Alberta

    Can my landlord increase my rent?

    Yes, subject to certain rules.

    Does my province have a rent control policy?

    No, Alberta does not have a rent control policy, and there are no limits to how much a landlord may increase the rent. But there are some rules in the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) on how and when rent can be increased.

    What are the rules around rent increases?

    • After a renter moves in, a landlord must wait at least 12 months before raising the rent. After that, any rent increases must also be 12 months apart.
    • A landlord must give at least 3 months’ notice before the rent goes up for a month-to-month lease, and 12 weeks’ notice for a week-to-week lease. No written notice is required for a fixed term lease. A fixed term lease starts and ends on specified dates.
    • A landlord cannot increase the rent midway through a fixed term lease agreement and must wait until the fixed-term agreement has ended.
  • British Columbia

    Can my landlord increase my rent?

    Yes, subject to certain rules.

    Does my province have a rent control policy?

    Yes, British Columbia has a rent control policy in the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) which sets the maximum limits by which landlords can increase the rent every year.

    What are the rules around rent increases?

    • After a renter moves in, a landlord must wait at least 12 months before raising the rent. After that, any rent increases must also be 12 months apart.
    • Each year a landlord can only increase the rent according to the limits set in the RTA.
    • Sometimes a landlord can raise the rent if the Residential Tenancies Branch, the body that resolves disputes between landlords and tenants, decides that they can or if the renters agree to an increase in writing.
    • If a landlord does not raise the rent, they cannot apply a rent increase retroactively the following year.
    • A landlord must give at least 3 months’ notice before the rent goes up.

    Can my landlord increase my rent by more than what limit allows?

    If a landlord wants to raise the rent beyond the limits allowed in the RTA, they can apply to the Residential Tenancies Branch. The RTA lists specific reasons why a landlord can apply for an above limit which include:

    • A landlord has completed repairs or renovations that could not have been foreseen under reasonable circumstances and will not happen again within a reasonable time frame.
    • Where an extraordinary increase in operating expenses has caused the landlord to incur a financial loss.
    • Where the landlord incurs a financial loss from financing costs related to a purchase which could not have been foreseen under reasonable circumstances.

    Do rent control limits apply when renters change?

    When a renter leaves a unit, there are no legal limits for how much a landlord can increase the rent for a new renter.

  • Manitoba

    Can my landlord increase my rent?

    Yes, subject to certain rules.

    Does my province have a rent control policy?

    Yes. Manitoba has a rent control policy in the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA)which sets the maximum limits by which landlords can increase the rent every year. There is currently a rent freeze in place which means that for 2022 and 2023 the rent increase limit is 0%.

    What are the rules around rent increases?

    • After a renter moves in, a landlord must wait at least 12 months before raising the rent. After that, any rent increases must also be 12 months apart.
    • A landlord must give at least 3 months’ written notice before they raise the rent.
    • Some units are exempt from rent control limits in the RTA.
    • When a property owner decides to rent their home or other type of unit as a residential unit for the first time, they can set the rent without following the rent control limits in the RTA. But they cannot increase the rent for 12 months after the renter moves in. After the first year, the annual rent increase limit will apply.

    Can my landlord increase my rent by more than what limit allows?

    A landlord may apply to the Director of Residential Tenancies to be allowed to raise the rent above the annual limit. If a renter objects to the increase, they may file an objection with the Director.

    Do rent control limits apply when renters change?

    If a renter moves out of a unit in a building that has four or more units, the rent charged for the new renter may be increased to the average rent being charged for similar units in the same building if notice is given to the new renters. But if a renter moves out of a rental unit in a building that has three units or less, the landlord can increase the rent by any amount that they decide, if they provide notice to the new renters.

  • New Brunswick

    Can my landlord increase my rent?

    Yes, subject to certain rules.

    Does my province have a rent control policy?

    Yes. New Brunswick has a rent control policy in the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) which says that landlords cannot increase the rent to more than what is reasonable in relation to the rent charged for comparable units in the same geographical area.  However, the policy only applies if a tenant takes steps to enforce it.

    What are the rules around rent increases?

    • After a renter moves in, a landlord must wait at least 12 months before raising the rent. After that, any rent increases must also be 12 months apart unless the landlord and renter have agreed otherwise in writing.
    • Landlords must give at least 3 months’ written notice before they raise the rent for a fixed term lease (a lease that starts and ends on specified dates), and at least 6 months’ notice for a lease that is week-to-week, month-to-month, or year-to-year.
    • If a rent increase amount is for more than what is reasonable in relation to the rent charged for comparable units in the same geographical area, the tenant can apply to a residential tenancies officer to cancel the increase. However, if the tenant does not file that application, then the increase is allowed. 
    • If a rent increase amount is for more than the consumer price index (inflation rate), the tenant can apply to a residential tenancies officer to delay part of the increase by one to two years. However, if the tenant does not file that application, then the whole increase can take place in the first year. 
  • Newfoundland and Labradaor

    Can my landlord increase my rent?

    Yes, subject to some rules.

    Does my province have a rent control policy?

    No. Newfoundland and Labrador does not have a rent control policy, and there are no limits to how much a landlord may increase the rent. But there are some rules in the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) on how and when rent can be increased.

    What are the rules around rent increases?

    • After a renter moves in, a landlord must wait at least 12 months before raising the rent. After that, any rent increases must also be 12 months apart.
    • A landlord has to give a renter 6 months’ written notice before they raise the rent for a month-to-month or fixed term lease, and 8 weeks’ notice for a week-to-week lease.
    • If a landlord wants to raise the rent because they are providing a new or additional service, the landlord and renter can agree to the increase in writing and there is no need for written notice from the landlord in this case.
  • Northwest Territories

    Can my landlord increase my rent?

    Yes, subject to certain rules.

    Does my territory have a rent control policy?

    No. Northwest Territories does not have a rent control policy, and there are no limits to how much a landlord may increase the rent. But there are some rules in the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) on how and when rent can be increased.

    What are the rules around rent increases?

    • After a renter moves in, a landlord must wait at least 12 months before raising the rent. After that, any rent increases must also be 12 months apart.
    • Landlords must give renters 3 months’ written notice before raising the rent.
    • If a renter wants to end their lease because of a rent increase, the landlord must give the new renter a copy of the last notice of rent increase and rent the unit at the same price. This does not apply to subsidized housing.
  • Nova Scotia

    Can my landlord increase my rent?

    Yes, subject to certain rules.

    Does my province have a rent control policy?

    No. Nova Scotia does not have a permanent rent control policy, and there are no limits to how much a landlord may increase the rent. But there are some rules in the Residential Tenancies Act on how and when rent can be increased. The province implemented a temporary rent control policy in November 2020 in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, which is set to expire on December 31, 2023.

    What are the general rules around rent increases?

    • After a renter moves in, a landlord must wait at least 12 months before raising the rent. After that, any rent increases must also be 12 months apart.
    • A landlord must provide 4 months’ written notice before raising the rent for year-to-year and month-to-month leases, and 8 weeks’ written notice for week-to-week leases.
    • For fixed term leases, which start and end on specified dates, the lease must state the amount of any rent increases and the dates of when they will start, which cannot be more than once in one year.
    • These rules do not apply to subsidized housing.

    What is the temporary rent control policy?

    • As of 2024, landlords cannot raise the rent by more than 5% annually. Since this is a temporary policy, it might change in future years.
    • This does not apply to renters signing a new lease, except renters who have a fixed-term lease and are signing a lease for an additional fixed-term in the same rental unit. It also does not apply to renters living in subsidized housing.
  • Nunavut

    Can my landlord increase my rent?

    Yes, subject to certain rules.

    Does my territory have a rent control policy?

    No. Nunavut does not have a rent control policy, and there are no limits to how much a landlord may increase the rent. But there are some rules in the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) on how and when rent can be increased.

    What are the rules around rent increases?

    • Landlords cannot increase the rent more than once in a 12-month period.
    • Landlords must provide renters with 3 months’ written notice before they raise the rent.
    • If a renter wants to end their lease because of a rent increase, the landlord must give the new renter a copy of the last notice of rent increase and rent the unit at the same price. This does not apply to subsidized housing.
  • Ontario

    Can my landlord increase my rent?

    Yes, subject to certain rules.

    Does my province have a rent control policy?

    Yes, Ontario has a rent control policy in the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) which sets the maximum limits by which landlords can increase the rent every year. In Ontario these are referred to as guidelines.

    What are the rules of rent increases?

    After a renter moves in, a landlord must wait at least 12 months before raising the rent. After that, any rent increases must also be 12 months apart.

    Landlords must give renters a written notice of at least 90 days before the rent goes up. The notice should be on one of the forms from the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB).  Even if the landlord does not use the LTB form, a notice might still be valid if it includes all the information that can be found on the LTB form.

    Can my landlord increase my rent by more than what limit allows?

    Landlords can apply to the LTB for permission to raise the rent by more than what is allowed in the guideline. This is referred to as an above guideline increase or AGI. The RTA lists specific reasons why a landlord can apply for an AGI which include:

    • An increase in the cost of municipal taxes and charges.
    • Extra costs incurred from repairing the building or one or more of the units in it.
    • Operational costs related to security services provided for the building by someone other than the landlord. Renters can challenge a landlord’s application for an AGI at the LTB.

    If the landlord gets approval for an AGI, they must still wait 12 months between rent increases and give 90 days’ written notice to the renter before the rent goes up.

    Do rent control limits apply when renters change?

    When a renter leaves a unit, there are no legal limits for how much a landlord can increase the rent for a new renter.

  • Prince Edward Island

    Can my landlord increase my rent?

    Yes, subject to certain rules.

    Does my province have a rent control policy?

    Yes, Prince Edward Island has a rent control policy in the Rental of Residential Property Act. Each year the amount of rent increase that is allowed is decided by the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC). IRAC considers several factors to calculate the rent increase limit including vacancy rates, the economic outlook for the province, and changes to the Consumer Price Index.

    What are the rules around rent increases?

    • After a renter moves in, a landlord must wait at least 12 months before raising the rent. After that, any rent increases must also be 12 months apart, even if a new renter moves into the unit.
    • For a weekly lease, landlords must provide at least 3 weeks’ written notice before raising the rent and 3 months’ written notice for a monthly lease.

    Can my landlord increase my rent by more than what limit allows?

    If a landlord wants to raise the rent above the limit that is allowed, they must apply to the Office of the Director of Residential Rental Property, and the Director will decide on the increase. A hearing must take place which may be attended by the renter. The Director will consider different factors when making their decision including:

    • Whether the increase is necessary to prevent the landlord from sustaining a financial loss in the operation of the rental units;
    • Increased operating costs or capital expenditures provided by the landlord;
    • The expectation of the landlord to have a reasonable return on their capital investment; and
    • The date and amount of the last rent increase.
    • Other factors that were added in 2023. More time will be needed to find out how the new factors will affect the Director’s decisions.

    Do rent control limits apply when renters change?

    Rent increases are attached to the unit and not the renter. Rent cannot be automatically increased between different renters. If a new renter moves in, the landlord can only increase the rent according to the rules around rent increases mentioned above. If a landlord wants to increase the rent beyond the limit, they must apply to the Office of the Director of Residential Rental Property.

  • Quebec

    Can my landlord increase my rent?

    Yes, subject to certain rules.

    Does my province have a rent control policy?

    Yes, but it only applies if a tenant refuses a proposed increase within one month of receiving notice of it.  If a tenant doesn’t refuse, then a landlord can increase the rent by any amount.

    What are the rules around rent increases?

    • A landlord must give proper notice of any rent increase.
    • Both the landlord and renter must agree that a rent increase is reasonable before the rent is raised. The renter has the right to accept or refuse the proposed increase within 1 month of receiving notice of it.
    • If a renter rejects a proposed rent increase, the landlord may apply to the Quebec Rental Board so that it can determine what the rent should be or make a decision on the rent increase.
    • The Quebec Rental Board publishes guidelines every year on suggested rent increases, but landlords are not required to follow them.
    • If a lease provides for a change in rent, the landlord or renter may apply to the Quebec Rental Board to contest the change if it is too little or too much and ask the Board to decide on the rent amount.
    • A renter or someone who is subletting a unit may apply to the Quebec Rental Board to have their rent determined by the Board, if their rent is higher than the lowest rent paid during the 12-month period preceding the beginning of the lease or sublease, unless that rent has already been determined by the Board.
    • In all instances where rent is determined by the Board, it will remain in force for the term of the lease.
  • Saskatchewan

    Can my landlord increase my rent?

    Yes, subject to certain rules.

    Does my province have a rent control policy?

    No. Saskatchewan does not have a rent control policy, and there are no limits to how much a landlord may increase the rent. But there are some rules in the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) on how and when rent can be increased.

    What are the rules around rent increases?

    • In a fixed term lease, which has a specific end date, landlords are not allowed to raise rent during the duration of the lease unless at the beginning of the lease the landlord and renter agree on how much the increase will be and when the rent will be raised.
    • For a periodic lease, which is a lease that continues until it is ended by the tenant or landlord according to the rules of the RTA, landlords must give the renter written notice at least 12 months before raising the rent and cannot raise the rent more than once a year.
    • If a landlord is a member of the Saskatchewan Landlord Association or the Network of Non-Profit Housing Providers of Saskatchewan, they may give a renter 6 months’ advance written notice before raising the rent and shall not increase rent more than twice each year.
    • These rules do not apply to subsidized housing in which a tenant’s rent is based on their household income.
  • Yukon

    Can my landlord increase my rent?

    Yes, subject to certain rules.

    Does my territory have a rent control policy?

    No. Yukon does not have a permanent rent control policy and there are no limits to how much a landlord may increase the rent. But there are some rules in the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act on how and when rent can be increased. A temporary rent control policy was introduced in May 2021 that will be in place until January 31, 2023.

    What are the general rules around rent increases?

    • After a renter moves in, a landlord must wait at least 12 months before raising the rent. After that, any rent increases must also be 12 months apart.
    • A landlord must give a renter 3 months’ written notice before raising the rent.

    What is the temporary rent control policy?

    • Landlords cannot raise the rent by more than the annual rent limit that is set by the territory. For 2022 the limit is 3.3%.
    • The annual rent limit is tied to a renter not the rental unit. When a landlord begins a lease with a new renter, they may agree to a new rent which could be below, at, or above Yukon’s annual rent limit. Once the new lease begins, it is then subject to the annual rent limit.
    • Annual rent limits do not apply to housing where the rent is tied to the renter’s household income.

Tell your government: It’s time for strong rent regulation

The problem

Evictions are an unfortunate reality in Canada. Nearly one out of 10 Canadian households (7%) report that they have been evicted at some point in their lives. Provincial laws use evictions to address a wide range of issues, such as financial difficulties leading to unpaid rent, disputes between neighbours, safety concerns, owners’ changing plans, and more. Undeniably, these issues need to be addressed. However, eviction is a blunt instrument which has devasting impacts on renter households. It should only ever be used as a last resort.

In Canada, evictions are not always a last resort. Eviction laws in Canada do not adequately address alternatives to eviction. Instead, laws frequently treat eviction as the only solution available to address tenancy issues. To take just a few real-life examples of how alternatives to evictions are not systematically pursued:

  • In Manitoba, a tenant is evicted because she owes $450 in rent – even though she can pay the full amount by the next day.1
  • In Newfoundland, a tenant is evicted even though he can afford his rent because, during the COVID-19 pandemic, he paid half of his rent at the start of each month and half in the middle of the month.
  • In Prince Edward Island, a tenant asks for a chance to pay her rent arrears to avoid eviction. The Director of Residential Rental Property refuses to even consider the request before ordering the eviction.
  • In Yukon, a landlord is unable to prove that their tenant has done anything to warrant eviction – but eviction is ordered anyway.
  • In Saskatchewan, a tenant is evicted because they owe $5.
  • In Quebec, a tenant is evicted because they owe $2.

In each of these cases, and countless others, a renter lost their home unnecessarily because the law did not require that the adjudicator consider any alternative to eviction.

In order to pursue eviction as a last resort, proportionality can be used as an assessment tool.

Defining proportionality

Proportionality is a legal framework for deciding whether an eviction is necessary. Under a proportionality framework, a household can only be evicted if all of the following are true:

  • The eviction must have a legitimate objective.
  • Eviction must be necessary to achieve the objective, and there must be no reasonable alternative. 
  • The consequences of eviction must be proportionate to the objective.

The proportionality framework requires that an adjudicator consider all the circumstances of the case, and only order eviction if they are satisfied that all three of the above conditions have been met. The adjudicator must consider the interests of both the tenant and the landlord, but must come to their own objective conclusion as to whether eviction is really necessary.

The proportionality framework was originally developed by the European Court of Human Rights.2 Council of Europe member states are required to incorporate the framework into their eviction laws. A household facing eviction in Europe can appeal to the Court of Human Rights if the proportionality of the eviction is not properly considered.

The proportionality framework has also been adopted by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which uses it to determine whether evictions around the world are compliant with the right to housing under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).3 Almost every country in the world, including Canada, has ratified the ICESCR. Hence, countries which carry out evictions without a proportionality assessment are in contravention of their obligations under the ICESCR. Unfortunately, there is no legal mechanism to force Canada and other non-compliant countries to meet their obligations.

Proportionality in Canadian law

Eviction laws are different in every province and territory. In Ontario, Saskatchewan,4 Quebec,5 and Northwest Territories, legislation explicitly allows adjudicators the discretion to consider alternatives to eviction. Court and tribunal decisions have confirmed that adjudicators also have that discretion in Alberta,6 New Brunswick,7 and Manitoba,8 and in some cases in Yukon.9 The law gives adjudicators little to no discretion in British Columbia. The law is unclear in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland,10 Nunavut,11 and Prince Edward Island.12

This means that in some parts of Canada, but not others, adjudicators have the authority to avoid unnecessary evictions by considering reasonable alternatives. This is an important policy which makes a real difference in the lives of countless renter households.

However, no Canadian law requires that adjudicators follow a proportionality framework in eviction decisions. Hence, while adjudicators are often allowed to choose alternatives to eviction, they are not required to refuse eviction in cases where reasonable alternatives are available. In every part of Canada, renter households continue to be evicted unnecessarily.

The solution – how to implement proportionality in Canada

Proportionality in eviction is an important legal framework to ensure that eviction is always treated as a last resort. Provinces and territories can implement the framework by:

  • Amending their residential tenancies laws to ensure that adjudicators have the authority to choose alternatives to eviction.
  • Amending their residential tenancies laws to direct that adjudicators must choose alternatives to eviction, except in cases where eviction is the only reasonable solution.
  • Training adjudicators to treat eviction as a last resort.
  • Ensuring that tenants have full, fair access to legal advice and to tribunal proceedings so that they can participate in eviction decisions.

Proportionality as a tool to respond to Canada’s affordability crisis

The proportionality framework is an important tool for preventing unnecessary evictions. However, it cannot solve the housing crisis or fully protect households from eviction by itself. That is because it does not address the underlying causes of problems that lead to eviction.

For example, if a household falls behind on their rent, the proportionality framework can protect them from eviction by giving them the opportunity to pay back the rent on a repayment plan. However, this will not be enough if the rent is no longer affordable because of inadequate rent regulation that leads to unaffordable rent increases.

Governments must ensure that renters not only have access to affordable homes but are also able to maintain their tenancy. It is important that our governments implement eviction prevention policies like the proportionality framework to stabilize housing and reduce housing precarity. However, proportionality is not a silver bullet and the road to housing security for renters across Canada will also require governments to implement policies that address the root causes of our housing affordability crisis.



References

1 Manitoba Residential Tenancies Branch (RTB), ORDER NO: 2002W3538 & 2002W3539 (2002) (Unpublished decision available from the RTB through a subscription service).

2 The framework applies to all human rights in Europe. Its application to the human right to the home was confirmed in McCann v. the United Kingdom, no. 19009/04, ECHR 2008 at para. 50.

3 Lopez Alban et al. v. Spain, E/C.12/66/D/37/2018 (2019); Rosario Gomez-Limon Pardo v. Spain, E/C.12/67/D/52/2018 (2020); El Goumari and Tidli v. Spain, E/C.12/69/D/85/2018 (2021); El Ayoubi and El Azouan Azouz v. Spain, E/C.12/69/D/54/2018 (2021); Soraya Moreno Romero v. Spain, E/C.12/69/D/48/2018 (2021); Lorne Joseph Walters v. Belgium, E/C.12/70/D/61/2018 (2021).

4 Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, SS 2006, c R-22.0001, s.70(6); Williams v Elite Property Management Ltd., 2021 SKQB 46 (CanLII).

5 Civil Code of Québec, CQLR c CCQ-1991, s.1973; Sylvania Construction c. Boretsky, 2011 QCCQ 7008 (CanLII).

6 615247 Alberta Ltd. v. Wimperis, 2007 ABQB 55; Gosine v. Hepas, 2008 ABQB 321.

7 Nethervue Park v. MacKinnon et al., 2013 NBQB 15; Haldor Ltd v Ross, 2022 NBQB 14.

8 Unpublished decisions of the Manitoba Residential Tenancies Branch (RTB), available from the RTB by subscription service.

9 G.H. v H.A., 2021 YTRTO 5 (CanLII); A.J. & R.J. v F.N., 2021 YTRTO 4 (CanLII); J.B. & M.H. v E.H., 2020 YTRTO 9 (CanLII).

10 The Newfoundland Residential Tenancies Office does not appear to have ever considered that it could have the discretion to make an order other than eviction.

11 The Nunavut Residential Tenancies Office does not publish its decisions, and the Nunavut courts have not considered the question of discretion in eviction decisions.

12 A new Residential Tenancy Act was proclaimed in PEI in April, 2023. It has not yet been interpreted by the courts and tribunals.


Read also:

This resource provides an overview of a human rights-based approach to housing. It is designed to help tenant leaders identify the root causes of housing challenges, the groups whose rights are most impacted by those challenges, and the institutions that have an obligation resolve them. It provides guiding tools to develop rights-based housing solutions and to hold institutions accountable for implementing the right to housing.


Highlights include:

  • What is a Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA).
  • Who are rights-holders and duty-bearers.
  • Why is a rights-based approach necessary in housing policy.
  • What are the PANEL Principles and how can they be used in community-based policy advocacy.

This resource is part of our Tenant Leaders’ Toolbox

Inside the toolbox you’ll find:

  • A toolkit on implementing the right to housing in Canada.
  • Resources on a human rights-based approach to housing, empowering communities to claim this right, and how to target your advocacy.
  • Guides on engaging with local, provincial and territorial governments, and how to make a submission to the Federal Housing Advocate
A woman stands in front of an apartment building. She is wearing a white t-shirt and a grey sweater, and is holding a purple folder in her arms.

Across Canada, the number of people who rent their homes is growing rapidly, and the challenges they face in their homes are growing too. Many renters face excessive rent increases that leave them vulnerable to “economic eviction.” Many have so few housing options available to them that they must live in inadequate homes that are inaccessible or poorly maintained where they present dangers to their health and safety. Many even face discriminatory and illegal behaviour from some landlords, with no effective recourse available to them to protect themselves and their rights.

These are common issues that renters across Canada are facing every day. Right now, laws that apply to renters in Canada are unequal across the country, and not all renters enjoy the same basic legal protections that would allow them to live securely in their homes. This is not acceptable and it has to change.  

Housing is a human right, and it’s time for our governments to acknowledge that renters, like everyone else, need homes that are adequate and secure. 

Contact your local representatives and tell them that renters need secure homes so that:  

  • They will not face discrimination when applying for housing or while renting, and there is effective recourse available if they do.  
  • They will be able to remain in their homes and will not face “economic eviction” due to excessive rent increases at a landlord’s whim.  
  • Their home will be accessible, well-maintained and in a state of good repair.  
  • They will be able to access the support and help they need in order to challenge unfair or illegal behaviour on the part of landlords.  

All renters – no matter where they live – need basic legal protections so they can live in secure and adequate homes. 

The Canadian Centre for Housing Rights’ (CCHR) Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Annie Hodgins as CCHR’s next Executive Director.

A woman stands in front of a bookcase, smiling at the camera. She has long dark brown hair, and is wearing a black blazer jacket.

Following a comprehensive national search, the Board has selected Annie to continue her trajectory with the organization in this leadership capacity, a role she has held in an acting position since July 2022. 

Annie is a seasoned non-profit leader with expertise in housing law and policy, fund development, operations and strategic management, knowledge mobilization, capacity-building, public engagement, and advocacy. Over nearly a decade, she has served the organization in several roles including in executive leadership, operations, tenant services and public legal education. Most recently, Annie worked alongside the previous Executive Director to expand the organization’s work across Canada, to respond to the growing housing challenges facing people and communities. As a result, the organization is working to advance systemic change on a larger scale than ever before, with expanded services, a renewed focus on community-relevant and evidence-based policy advocacy, a new research department, and a thriving law reform practice. 

Outside of her role at CCHR, Annie serves as the co-chair of the City of Toronto’s Housing and Homelessness Services Network, as a member of Toronto City Council’s Tenant Advisory Committee, and as a board member at All Saints Church and Community Centre. 

“Annie is a passionate and dedicated leader, with a strong commitment to advancing the right to housing for all Canadians. The Board congratulates Annie on this appointment, and thanks her for her years of service to the organization. Through Annie’s leadership, we know the organization will continue rising to meet the challenges that lay ahead and to drive the important work of the organization until everyone has a safe and secure place to call home.”

CCHR Board Co-Chairs Charlotte Turner and Greg Zatulovsky

About Annie Hodgins

Annie has worked with communities, advocates and governments to advance the right to housing in Canada for a decade. In her time at CCHR she has held various roles including Deputy Executive Director, Manager of Operations and Strategic Initiatives, and Manager of CCHR’s Tenant Services Program. Annie is a skilled writer and public speaker with expertise in housing law and policy, fund development, operations, strategic management, knowledge mobilization and capacity building. Before joining CCHR in 2013, she worked in fund development and as a Researcher and Office Manager for the Institute on Governance, supporting the work of Vice President of the Toronto office. Annie has a Bachelor’s degree in History and English from the University of Toronto and a Master’s degree in History from York University. She also holds certificates in Strategy and Competitive Advantage from the Rotman School of Management, and Non-Profit Leadership from the University of Toronto. She is involved in several committees and boards, including as the co-chair of the City of Toronto’s Housing and Homelessness Services Network, as a member of Toronto City Council’s Tenant Advisory Committee, and as a board member at All Saints Church and Community Centre. 

Across Canada, renters are increasingly struggling to find affordable housing and to remain in their homes. Eviction rates in Canada are shockingly high, with 7% of Canadian households reporting that they have been evicted at some point in their lives. Many people who are evicted from their homes may not find another place to live, and every year more than 235,000 people in Canada experience homelessness. This does not capture the experiences of hidden homelessness like individuals couch surfing or living in overcrowded conditions with their family and friends.  

The human right to housing is an important framework for opposing unnecessary evictions and preventing the growing experiences of homelessness. Under Canada’s National Housing Strategy Act (NHSA) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), Canada is obligated to respect, protect, and fulfill the right to housing. The obligation to respect the right to housing prohibits Canadian government bodies, such as residential tenancies tribunals in different provinces, from evicting households from their homes, except when an eviction is necessary as a last resort. 

Specifically, eviction is only permitted under international human rights law if all the following are true: 

  • The eviction must have a legitimate objective. 
  • Eviction must be necessary to achieve the objective, and there must be no reasonable alternative.  
  • The consequences of eviction must be proportionate to the objective.

This is because international law recognizes that, like other human rights, adequate housing is fundamental to human dignity. It can only be restricted in circumstances where the restriction is justified in a free and democratic society.   

Unfortunately, all too often Canadian tribunals order evictions in violation of these basic principles. For example: 

  • Households that owe rent can be evicted with no consideration of whether the eviction is necessary.  In many cases, households would have been able to repay their arrears on a repayment plan, if given the chance. 
  • Households can be evicted with no consideration of whether the eviction is proportionate.  Evictions can be ordered for minor and even trivial reasons, even where the impact on the household losing their home will be severe. 
  • In many provinces, households can be evicted simply because their lease is up, even if the eviction will serve no purpose whatsoever.

To further complicate the matter, Canada’s eviction laws vary wildly between provinces. Some provincial laws allow tribunal adjudicators to consider the circumstances and decide whether eviction would be fair, so that it would at least be possible for the tribunal to respect the right to housing. Other provincial laws give adjudicators no choice but to order evictions, making it impossible for them to respect the right to housing. These varying laws have created uneven protections for renters across the country, leaving many vulnerable to losing their homes without the chance to present their circumstances and the devastating impact that an eviction may have on their lives.  


How do we solve this issue?

To ensure that renters in Canada have a fair chance to live in their homes and contribute meaningfully to their communities and the economy, we need a shift in our approach to eviction. To meet Canada’s obligation to respect the right to housing, we recommend that each province and territory must: 

  • Amend its residential tenancies laws to provide that eviction can only be ordered if it serves a legitimate objective, is necessary to achieve that objective, and is proportionate to the objective. 
  • Train tribunal adjudicators to respect the right to housing in their decisions. 
  • Ensure that tenants have access to eviction alternatives, such as rent banks to help pay their rent rather than losing their home if they were unable to pay their rent in full. 
  • Ensure that tenants have full, fair access to legal advice and to tribunal proceedings so that tribunals have all the information before them to determine whether an eviction is truly necessary. 

Evictions can be devastating for those who experience them. In too many instances, evictions can lead to experiences of homelessness. It is our duty as a democratic society to protect everyone, irrespective of their income or circumstances, to live with dignity and in secure homes.  

A woman is standing on her balcony, leaning with her arms folded on the railing in front of her. She looks out to the city below with a somber expression.

Across Canada, renters are increasingly at risk of housing insecurity. Many are facing “economic eviction” due to excessive rent increases, others are forced to live in over-crowded, poorly-maintained, or inaccessible homes because it is the only housing they can afford, and some also face discrimination and other illegal behaviour from landlords.  

This winter, through our Secure Homes for Renters campaign, CCHR is calling on the federal government to ensure that there are basic legal standards to protect renters across Canada, and hundreds of Canadians have joined us in this call.  

We know there is a great need for this work, because renters across the country tell us so every day. Every year, we hear from hundreds of renters about the struggles they are facing in their housing, and these challenges only continue to grow. Our team is working to respond to these challenges by advancing change at a systemic level, and also by helping renters assert their rights and avoid eviction on the ground. 

“A group of four tenants reached out to us back in August. Their landlord was insisting they had to be out because of the sale of the property. He was trying to shame them and squeeze them into leaving,” recounts Tim Heneghan, one of CCHR’s staff lawyers. “Any time the landlord is trying to apply pressure, our job is to minimize that pressure.” 

This past year, nearly 1,700 renters contacted CCHR’s services program for assistance, which is almost 20% higher than last year, and last month, demand for our services reached an all-time high. Our team provides legal information, guided referrals, connections to pro bono legal help, and legal advice and representation to people during what is often a frightening time in their lives.  

CCHR lawyer Ademofe Oye-Adeniran recounts working with a renter who was facing eviction for reasons beyond his control. If this renter were evicted, not only would he lose his home, the city would likely also lose another affordable unit. “Their rent was $700 for a bachelor unit, which was quite affordable for Toronto, and I was able to take that on,” says Oye-Adeniran. She represented the renter in front of the Landlord and Tenant Board, and ultimately helped to prevent him from being evicted.  

In addition to our services, CCHR works to empower communities by delivering training and building leadership and advocacy skills among renters in communities across Ontario, and in cities like Halifax, Winnipeg and Calgary. This year, our training programs reached over 1,100 renters, service providers and housing providers.  

“Last week, tenants who were having an argument with their landlord asked us to come into their building to present a training on housing rights basics,” says Jessica Long, CCHR Senior Program Lawyer. “We provide about two trainings per week, including public presentations at libraries, to students at universities, and to shelter residents.” 

Meaningful engagement is key to realizing the right to housing and advancing secure homes for renters, and it is foundational to our approach. “Any time you are going through something like evictions or issues in your housing situation, and you feel like David and your landlord feels like Goliath, you just have to talk to people,” says Heneghan, reflecting on his experience supporting renters. “The ones who succeed are the ones who look to community, and we’ve got a big part to play there, but just one part of a larger whole.” 

As we continue working toward ensuring that all renters have secure homes, please consider supporting our work by making a donation this holiday season. Your support helps us continue to provide direct and practical help to renters facing eviction and housing insecurity right now, as we continue to push for better legal protections for renters across Canada over the longer term.  

Please donate today.

Toronto, ON – November 30, 2022 – A new report released by the Canadian Centre for Housing Rights (CCHR) finds that newcomers and refugees face heightened discrimination when they are searching to secure rental housing in Toronto. CCHR’s latest report measures the extent of discrimination faced by newcomers to Toronto and the impact of race and gender on the degree of differential treatment.  

The audit employed a paired testing method to measure discrimination when newcomers and refugees are in search of rental housing. The research team contacted over 1,300 rental listings in Toronto and found that both men and women face discrimination when disclosing newcomer status to housing providers. Newcomers on average face 11 times as much discrimination as non-newcomers when searching to secure a rental home. The study also found that racialized newcomers experienced more discrimination compared to non-racialized newcomers when calling to inquire about a rental listing: female newcomer callers experienced a 62% increase in discrimination and male newcomer callers experienced a 267% increase in discrimination, when they had accents that presented as racialized.  

“Toronto’s out-of-control rents combined with a limited and diminishing supply of affordable housing is a dreadful rental market for newcomers to navigate and successfully secure housing in,” says Bahar Shadpour, the Director of Policy and Communications at CCHR. “Landlords have become very selective about who they rent to and often have stringent requests and application criteria for newcomers.”  

The audit also found that family status compounded the experience of discrimination. Women who disclosed that they have a child faced a high degree of discrimination. Racialized newcomer women faced a 563% increase in discrimination when they disclosed the presence of a child compared to racialized newcomer women who did not disclose the presence of a child.  

“To prevent discrimination and increase access to housing, governments must enforce our human rights protections and adopt policy solutions that meet the unique housing needs of newcomers and refugees,” says Shadpour.  

Explore the report and key findings:  

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