Clinics Fight to Legalize Rooming Houses in Toronto

Posted on: Friday, April 30, 2010

Several community legal clinics are challenging Toronto’s by-law banning rooming houses, and bringing attention to the lack of affordable housing in the GTA.

Regini David, a community legal worker at West Scarborough Community Legal Services, was recently interviewed on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning about a petition to legalize rooming houses throughout the Toronto. Currently, rooming houses are only allowed in the former City of Toronto, and in a few neighbourhoods in Etobicoke and York. Many other areas have an outright ban.

Bart Poesiat, a community legal worker with Parkdale Community Legal Services, is also trying to change the city’s rooming house by-law. He’s part of the Rupert Coalition, a group of concerned tenants, landlords and community workers. The Rupert Coalition and Advocacy Centre for Tenants – Ontario (ACTO) are in the process of filing a Human Rights application against the city by-law.

According to an article prepared by the Rupert Coalition, “regulated rooming houses can increase the amount of truly affordable housing in the city in a way that does not make large demands on government budgets.”

Listen to the CBC Metro Morning interview with Regini David and Chandra Kandasamy, a former tenant of an illegal rooming house, or visit the West Scarborough Community Legal Services Petition to find out more. Information on the Rupert Coalition is available on their blog.