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In recent years, human rights analysis has evolved to take into the context in which discrimination occurs. Under the Code , individuals are protected from discrimination and harassment on the grounds listed above. However, there is an increased recognition that discrimination is often based on more than one ground, and that these grounds may intersect thus producing unique experiences of discrimination.

The phenomenon of intersectionality is frequently evident in complaints of discrimination in the area of rental housing accommodation. Often, tenants will experience differential treatment based on more than one ground, and these grounds will play off one another. For example, a young lone mother in receipt of public assistance who is looking for rental housing could potentially experience discrimination on the basis of her gender, age, family status and receipt of public assistance. While the following sections discuss each Code ground individually, it is important to be mindful of the potential for more than one ground to be at issue simultaneously, and for these grounds to intersect.

As such, this Paper highlights some of the more common intersections of grounds, where appropriate. In addition to race, the Code prohibits discrimination in rental housing on several related grounds, as outlined above. These grounds include primarily the grounds of colour, ethnic origin, ancestry, place of origin, citizenship and creed religion.

Depending on the circumstances, a human rights complaint of discrimination based on race may cite race alone or may include one or more related ground s. However, as a social construct, the ground of race is capable of encompassing the meaning of all of the related grounds, and any characteristic that is racialized [90] and used to discriminate. Racial discrimination in rental housing may take a variety of forms. It is likely that the most common problem that racialized persons continue to face is the denial of opportunities to apply for rental housing or to view properties.

In this regard, landlords may use subtle screening methods to bypass certain individuals in the tenant selection process. Racialized persons may be advised that an apartment has already been rented only to have a White friend inquire about the availability of the accommodation and be told that it is still available.

There are several human rights cases in Ontario that have dealt with this type of racial discrimination. For example, in Richards v. Waisglass [91] , a Board of Inquiry found that the respondent discriminated against the complainant, a Black woman, because of her race when he refused to rent her an apartment. When the complainant and the respondent met, the respondent appeared reserved, refused to take any information from her and stated that he wished to keep showing the apartment to other prospective tenants. The Board found that the respondent could not have come to a reasonable conclusion that the complainant would be loud and have noisy parties during their brief encounter and concluded that he had decided it was unlikely that the complainant would be financially stable and would likely have parties.

The Board found that both assumptions were based on negative stereotypes about Black people. One of the ways in which researchers have attempted to gauge the extent of racial discrimination in rental housing is through auditing studies. For example, in the s and s, the U. Department of Housing and Urban Development backed several broad housing audits that produced ificant evidence of discrimination toward and differential treatment of racialized persons across major U. For instance, Black and Hispanic auditors posing as prospective apartment renters were shown 25 percent fewer units than White auditors with comparable income qualifications.

The authors relied on socio-linguistic research that shows that individuals are able to make fairly accurate racial attributions on the basis of linguistic cues alone. These racial effects interacted with and were generally exacerbated by gender and class.

Lower-class blacks experienced less access to rental housing than middle-class blacks, and black females experienced less access than black males. By far the most distinguished group, however, was lower-class black females. Across all measures, female speakers of Black English Vernacular consistently fared the worst. As a result of this unusually intense discrimination, poor black women in Philadelphia are forced to spend far more of their time and put in much greater effort making phone calls just to reach prospective landlords.

Comparable audits conducted in Canadian cities, albeit on a smaller scale, have revealed similar themes. These audits indicate that individuals from Black and Aboriginal communities, in particular, are subjected to discriminatory treatment when seeking to rent housing.

There has also been an increase in discrimination against persons identified as, or perceived to be, Muslim, Arab and South Asian since September 11, The Commission has heard several reports of individuals being subjected to Islamophobia [98] by housing providers when attempting to secure rental accommodations.

Racial discrimination in rental housing accommodation is not just about the denial of access to housing opportunities. Racialized tenants may experience unequal access to housing-related services or may otherwise be subjected to differential treatment throughout the course of their tenancies. For example, tenants may be subjected to substandard living conditions or a failure to carry out repairs.

In Ontario Human Rights Comm. Elieff [99] , the Divisional Court reversed a finding by a Board of Inquiry that found that no discrimination had taken place against the complainant in her tenancy. The complainant, a woman of Cambodian ancestry, alleged that her landlord had provided substandard maintenance of her apartment building to both herself and other tenants of Asian ancestry.

Further, she alleged that he had discriminated against them by making derogatory comments about Asians in a newspaper article. The Board found that while the lack of water, broken windows and appliances, cockroach invasions and raw sewage on the property constituted substandard conditions, a successful complaint could not be made out for discrimination or harassment based on race since these conditions affected both non-Asian tenants as well as Asian tenants. It also gave little weight to the comments the landlord had made about Asians.

The Board did, however, award compensation for reprisal actions taken by the respondent after the complainant had launched an action. On appeal, the Court upheld the reprisal judgment but reversed the finding that there had been no discrimination towards the complainant. The Court found that the derogatory remarks made about Asians resulted in differential treatment for members of that group, even though all of the tenants of the building were subjected to the same deplorable living conditions.

It held that a poisoned environment had been created, which was a violation of the Code. Racialized tenants may also be subjected to unequal rental requirements, particularly in a low vacancy rental climate. Discrimination may also occur as a result of issues being made about the cultural practices of racialized tenants.

For example, cooking odours have been the subject of two Tribunal decisions. In Fancy v. In Chauhan v. Norkam Seniors Housing Cooperative Association [] , the complainant was found to have cooked foods in her home that were an expression of her ethnicity and ancestry which produced odours.

She experienced differential treatment when she was ordered to cease producing these odours or face eviction. Moreover, the landlord was not found to have a reasonable and bona fide justification for its conduct. Racialized tenants may also experience harassment after a tenancy has been granted. In King v. Bura [] , a Tribunal found that the respondent owners of a shared house harassed and discriminated against the complainant for several years, which had a serious effect on him both emotionally and physically. The Tribunal was satisfied that this behaviour constituted discrimination and that it created a poisoned environment for the complainant.

Tenants may also be subjected to discriminatory treatment due to their association with a racialized person. Johnstone [] , a housing provider was found to have breached the Code when he evicted his tenant, a White woman, after she had a Black friend over for dinner. In Hill v. Misener No. The complainant, a White woman with two bi-racial children, was deeply offended, and even though she did not disclose to the respondent that she could not rent the apartment because of her family, the Board found that discrimination had occurred and awarded compensation.

While the Aboriginal population is subjected to many of the same experiences as other racialized groups in the rental housing market, this group also seems to encounter unique and distinct difficulties when attempting to secure rental housing. It has been observed that:. Aboriginals and the Aboriginal homeless are easy targets of discrimination in the housing market.

There are Aboriginal males and females who fall into the hard-to-house category. They face particular difficulties in locating housing, and many never really succeed or are evicted. In most cases, needy Aboriginal families and individuals do not have the financial resources to secure adequate housing. In Flamand v. DGN Investments [] , a Tribunal found that the complainant was discriminated against because of her Aboriginal ancestry and family status. After the complainant had viewed an apartment, she contacted the respondent owner to tell him that she wished to rent it and set up an appointment to give him the deposit.

He then informed her that he had to show the apartment to other people and would need references. When she contacted him later to provide the references, he avoided her phone calls and then informed her later that he was looking for a married couple to rent it instead.

The Tribunal recognized the intersectional nature of the case and found that the respondent had based his decision not to rent to the complainant on the characteristics he attributed to Aboriginal people, in combination with his stereotypical views of lone mothers as being unable to shoulder childcare responsibilities alone. This was an improvement from when they were 80 percent more likely to be in core housing need.

Access to acceptable rental housing is a crucial step in the adaptation process for new Canadians. Housing is a portal through which one may access a whole range of other essential resources, including language training, employment opportunities and schooling. For this reason, housing is often used as a gauge by which to assess the degree to which new Canadians have adjusted successfully in their new homeland. In addition to facing racial discrimination, new immigrants and refugees must cope with numerous barriers relating to their citizenship status in the area of rental housing accommodation.

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