On March 15, 2017, Now Toronto posted an article entitled “Rental housing squeeze leaving racialized renters out in the cold in the GTA” and authored by Shantal Otchere, who introduces herself as an “Online Producer at NOW Magazine.”
Analyzing the rental housing market in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Otchere claims that “Toronto’s housing bubble has created a landlord’s market, to the disadvantage in particular of Black renters.”
The following are excerpts from Otchere’s article:
Temi Marie says as a woman of colour it’s been difficult to find a place to live in Toronto… Her experiences reveal the frustrating situation shared by racialized renters… Housing discrimination based on race is indeed nothing new. But Toronto’s housing bubble has created a landlord’s market, to the disadvantage in particular of Black and South Asian renters. Case in point: a blatantly racist ad published on Kijiji in January advertising a vacant two-bedroom condo in Etobicoke: “Clean and tidy Etobicoke condo – NO BLACK TENANTS PLEASE!”… Another rental ad originally from Kijiji reappeared recently in the Bunz Home Zone, a popular housing group on Facebook, specifying the renter was looking for a “working caucasian [sic] person.”
Otchere’s article put the spotlight only on expressions of alleged “white” racism in the rental housing market. Examining ads on Kijiji during the last two weeks reveals a number of rental ads only for “racialized” people. The following are some recent ads on Kijiji in the GTA:
- We have 1 private room immediately available… We are looking for 1 lady preferably Muslim & urdu/hindi speaking.
- I am offering my… 1 bedroom… apartment to share with preferably a Muslim brother.
- Room on rent muslim male neede[d].
- Looking for a Male Muslim Roomate.
- 2 bed room apartment… looking for male student from india . Preferring muslim.
- Room (s) for rent for muslim girls… You would be living with a paki family.
- A share or Single Person room available with Muslim, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Indian.
- Private room with HALAL MEALS for Muslim Lady.
- Apt for sharing w/ Muslim brother.
- Den (room) for rent MUSLIM.
- SHARED ACCOMODATION for Muslim male(s).
- Roommate required… (Muslim and Male only)… Only MUSLIMS and MALES are welcome.
- Room… muslim male needed.
- Master bedroom available… Male Pakistani or Muslim preferred.
- Room for Rent – Muslim Female Only.
- Wanted a indian female roommate.
- One bedroom to share… Indian / Pakistani male preferred.
- Room for female Indian/Pakistani.
- Renting to students and working professionals. Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan or Bangladeshi guys preferred.
- New house one bed room for rent… looking for single lady or student Indian or Pakistani.
- Room FOR RENT… preferred pakistani.
- One basement room for rent… for indian Pakistani.
Part 1 of Ontario’s Human Rights Code “Freedoms from Discrimination” states the following:
“2. (1) Every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to the occupancy of accommodation, without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status, disability or the receipt of public assistance. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, s. 2 (1); 1999, c. 6, s. 28 (2); 2001, c. 32, s. 27 (1); 2005, c. 5, s. 32 (2); 2012, c. 7, s. 2 (1)…
“Announced intention to discriminate
“13. (1) A right under Part I is infringed by a person who publishes or displays before the public or causes the publication or display before the public of any notice, sign, symbol, emblem, or other similar representation that indicates the intention of the person to infringe a right under Part I or that is intended by the person to incite the infringement of a right under Part I. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, s. 13 (1).”
21. (1) The right under section 2 to equal treatment with respect to the occupancy of residential accommodation without discrimination is not infringed by discrimination where the residential accommodation is in a dwelling in which the owner or his or her family reside if the occupant or occupants of the residential accommodation are required to share a bathroom or kitchen facility with the owner or family of the owner. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, s. 21 (1).
Restrictions on accommodation, sex
(2) The right under section 2 to equal treatment with respect to the occupancy of residential accommodation without discrimination because of sex is not infringed by discrimination on that ground where the occupancy of all the residential accommodation in the building, other than the accommodation, if any, of the owner or family of the owner, is restricted to persons who are of the same sex. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, s. 21 (2).