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The Dream Team Goes

on the Road
A report to the Law Foundation of Ontario

1 The Dream Team Goes on the Road


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The Dream Team is extremely grateful to the many people and organizations who
worked with us to make the Road Show a reality. They supported our dreams,
shared our struggles, trusted our instincts and helped us to celebrate our success.
In Particular we would like to thanks members of the “Road Show” steering commitǦ
tee who through many meetings and discussions shared their knowledge and inǦ
sights to ensure the success of this project:

Steering Committee:

x Jennifer Ramsay The Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario


Yutaka Dirks
x Paul Dowling HomeComing Community Choice Coalition
x Jackie Rankine Houselink Community Homes
x Mark Shapiro The Dream Team
x Esther Mwangi The Dream Team
x Linda Chamberlain The Dream Team
x Phillip Dufresne The Dream Team
x Linda Chamberlain The Dream Team
x Eliana Roman The Dream Team
x Brain Harper The Dream Team
x Pedro Cabezas The Dream Team

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x Executive Summary………………………………….…. 4
x Background………………………………………………… 8
x The Research……………………………………………… 9
x Education and Networks………………………………. 11
x Review of Road Show Communities……………….. 12
x Impacts of the Road Show…………………………….. 17
x Other Opportunities…………………………………….. 19
x Human Rights……………………………………………… 20
x Conclusion …………………………………………………. 22

Appendix A Discussion about whether to focus on group home byǦlaws

Appendix B Outline “script” of the Road Show workshop

Appendix C Media account of Council proceedings on Toronto supportive


housing project

Appendix D Report of evaluations of the Road Show

Appendix E Summary Report “We Are Neighbours”

Appendix F Research report on discriminatory zoning – GHK International

Appendix G Selected publicity materials from Road Show communities

Appendix H Tool Kit (Draft)

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The Dream Team is a group of about 20 psychiatric consumer/survivors, and family


members who advocate for more supportive housing in Ontario for people with mental
health issues. In 2007 the Dream Team received a grant from the Law Foundation of
Ontario to fund research, education and outreach about the impact of restrictive proviǦ
sions in municipal policies and zoning byǦlaws on people living with mental health isǦ
sues.

The Dream Team’s partners in the project are the Advocacy Centre for Tenants OnǦ
tario (ACTO) and HomeComing Community Choice Coalition.

With the support of the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO), the Dream
Team hired land use planning consultants, GHK International, to research the land use
planning policies and practices of Ontario municipalities to find examples of discrimiǦ
nation against people with disabilities. GHK found wide spread discrimination in planǦ
ning policy and practice based on the characteristics of the people who will live in proǦ
posed housing.

Based on the research, the Dream Team set out to visit a number of municipalities
where the zoning byǦlaws can be seen to be discriminatory. The Dream Team Road
Show was designed to share information with people in these communities about disǦ
criminatory planning practices and to build networks that will support ongoing inforǦ
mation sharing and collaboration.

The communities visited by the Road Show were: KitchenerǦWaterloo, Thunder BayǦ
Ottawa , Smiths Falls, and Toronto

The Dream Team Goes on the Road 4


The table on the following pages sets out the Road Show process compared to the
benchmarks identified in the original proposal to the Law Foundation.

The Road Show was very successful, a lot has been learned along the way and new opǦ
portunities for learning lie ahead. This report describes the process to develop the
Road Show and the results of the presentations in various communities and suggests
some next steps for the Dream Team to build on that success and to continue to share
the message of the Road Show.

Probably the most profound impact of the Road Show was to change the way in which
people think about community resistance. What might have been perceived in the past
as a conflict between the interests of one group, neighbours and another, developers
of housing is now better understood as an issue of fundamental human rights. The
Dream Team is confident that their work has encouraged consumers, developers and
supporters of supportive housing in communities across Ontario to continue to pursue
the right of people to live in communities of their choice without discrimination.

For the members of the Dream Team, it has strengthened their resolve to speak out.
They recognize that they, and all people that live with mental illness, have the same
rights as others to live where they choose. The Dream Team has embraced the human
rights message as an organizational priority. They will continue to use the Road Show
and other tools to share this message with others.

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Benchmark Activity Target Date Comments and changes

Establish formal steering com- early August, 2007 Completed


mittee

Submission to Ontario Human August 31, 2007 Completed; as well, individual Dream
Rights Commission Team members had confidential dis-
cussions with OHRC staff about dis-
crimination they faced with respect to a
proposed supportive housing develop-
ment in Toronto
Meeting with partners and September 2007 Completed
planners to review research to-
date
Finalize municipalities to be Sept/Oct 2007 Completed
visited

Communication to existing October 2007 Completed


networks (HomeComing, ON-
PHA, legal clinics, consumer
networks) outlining plans for
“Road Show” & requesting
contacts & assistance
Meeting with partners to flesh October 2007 Completed spring 2008, timelines
out road trip shifted as a result of challenges de-
tailed below
Meeting with OHRC to report October 2007 Both HomeComing and Dream Team
on Dream Team plans and re- members participated actively in con-
view possible joint strategies sultation on Human Rights and Rental
Housing
Road Show begins with pub- late October Road Show began in Waterloo on May
licity 23, 2008

Road Show continues fall 2007- Thunder Bay May 28, 2008
Spring 2008 Ottawa June 12, 2008
Smiths Falls June 13, 2008
Follow-up with communities after 1st session Ongoing communication with partners
in the above cities

Ongoing information sharing Ongoing List serv created of participants in


with expanding network of Road Show sessions who completed
contacts evaluation forms; Dream Team com-
municating with an expanded list of
organizations & networks
Establish province-wide net- January 2008 - No longer considered appropriate ob-
work of Dream Team affiliates Spring 2008 jective – individual community choice
of strategy
Ongoing review of evaluations Ongoing Evaluation completed using forms
distributed at local sessions completed at sessions and through fol-
low up survey

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Expansion of current Dream February 2008 Will take place in summer of 2009 as
Team web site to include re- final report is posted in Dream Team’s
ports on local sessions website and distributed to our network

Interim report to funders Spring 2008 Submitted August 2008

Formalizing new network of Late spring/early Ongoing contacts with other communi-
psychiatric survivors and ad- summer 2008 ties agreed upon in Strategic Planning
vocates process

Creation of newsletter report- Summer 2008 Final report is being prepared in a


ing on Road Show form fit for publication on the Dream
Team web site and in other media
(subject to funding)
Wider distribution of newslet- Summer 2008 Summer 2009
ter through new network and
existing networks

Follow-up with communities Summer 2008 - Ongoing.


visited to provide support Fall 2008

Drafting of motions to munici- Fall 2008 The Dream Team actively intervened
pal councils and/or provincial in an application for a supportive hous-
government as needed ing development in the City of To-
ronto, with enormous success. The
Dream Team presented a brief orally &
in writing to the City of Toronto in the
context of the City’s Affordable Hous-
ing Consultations

The Dream Team and others are pursu-


ing the potential to file human rights
complaints related to discriminatory
by-laws.

Search for further funds for Fall 2008 The Dream Team has refined the Road
continued Road Show and dis- Show for continued presentations in
cuss other possible activities other communities; has developed a
such as video workshop, highlighting discriminatory
planning, has designed a tool kit for
use by local communities faced with
issues of discriminatory planning prac-
tices (see Appendix H) and is currently
pursuing funding for publication and
printing of the tool kit.
Final report of activities Dec. 2008 Final report completed June 2009

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For more than 10 years the Dream Team have been telling their stories, stories of their
personal struggles with homelessness and the stigma of living with mental illness. And
stories as well about the lifeǦaltering benefits of supportive housing and how their lives
have been changed by living in supportive communities and by becoming members of
the Dream Team.

The Dream Team is a group of about 20 psychiatric consumer/survivors, and family


members who advocate for more supportive housing in Ontario for people with mental
health issues. Through presentations and workshops and by telling their own life stoǦ
ries to politicians, community groups and institutions, Dream Team members have
been transformed from being homeless to become committed advocates for supporǦ
tive housing and fighting NIMBYǦism (Not In My BackYard); from psychiatric consumer
survivors to educators demythologizing “mental illness”.

As Dream Team members told their stories about the life altering benefits of supporǦ
tive housing, they became aware of the discriminatory attitudes of some people in the
community toward this form of affordable housing. They also experienced the way in
which the local land use planning process is used to create barriers to the development
of needed housing. They became convinced that something needed to be done to reǦ
spond to this discriminatory practice.

In 2007 the Dream Team received a grant from the Law Foundation of Ontario to fund
research, education and outreach about the impact of restrictive provisions in municiǦ
pal policies and zoning byǦlaws on people living with mental health issues. Their plan
was to take their stories to a next level, to share their personal stories and commitment
with other communities across Ontario informed by inǦdepth research.

The Dream Team’s partners in the project are the Advocacy Centre for Tenants OnǦ
tario (ACTO) and HomeComing Community Choice Coalition. The Advocacy Centre for
Tenants Ontario (ACTO) is a provinceǦwide community legal clinic that works to better
the housing situation of Ontario residents who have low incomes including tenants, coǦ
op members and people who are homeless. Homecoming promotes the rights of peoǦ
ple with mental illness to live where they choose. Homecoming ensures city planning
practices do not become a platform for discrimination, prejudices and fears, identifies
potential human rights abuses and takes legal action against them, as well as helping
supportive housing providers create new housing.

The funding provided under the Law Foundation’s Law and Innovation Fund is inǦ
tended to “advance the understanding of law and justice through education, research,
libraries and legal aid.” The Dream Team’s project was designed with three distinct

The Dream Team Goes on the Road 8


phases:
x To conduct research on planning policies and practices which restrict the location
of supportive housing
x To conduct education sessions in selected Ontario communities to share infor
mation about the impact of these policies and practices
x To build networks with like minded people and organizations in communities
across the province in order to inform a human rights response to discriminatory
planning policies and practices.

Over the next two years the Dream Team’s Road Show unfolded, with changes in diǦ
rection, changes in personnel and, occasionally, changes in priority. The changes all
contributed to the value of the project. This report describes the process to date. The
Road Show has been wildly successful, a lot has been learned along the way and new
opportunities for learning lie ahead.

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With the support of the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO), the Dream
Team hired highly respected land use planning consultants, GHK International, to reǦ
search the land use planning policies and practices of Ontario municipalities in order to
find examples of discrimination against people with disabilities. A copy of the research
report is attached as Appendix F.

GHK looked at a large number of municipal byǦlaws and found that discrimination in
planning policy and practice is wide spread. They found byǦlaws, policies and practices
which discriminate not based on the physical form of the housing but on the characterǦ
istics of the people who live there. They describe this “people zoning” as an affront to
the principles in the Ontario Human Rights Code1 and the Canadian Charter of Rights
and Freedoms2.

The research by GHK found that land use planning can support discrimination either
through discriminatory municipal laws and policies or through discriminatory planning
practices. They found that affordable housing and supportive housing are not even
defined in municipal zoning byǦlaws, making it difficult to argue that these forms of
housing are subject to discrimination in byǦlaws. On the other hand, organizations that
try to develop these forms of housing report that they are often required to submit to
more intensive community consultation and more rigorous review than other forms of
housing. Even if the byǦlaws are not discriminatory, clearly the practice often is.

The clearest case of discrimination in zoning byǦlaws is in the treatment of shelters,


group homes and residential care facilities. Group homes, defined by the characterisǦ

9 The Dream Team Goes on the Road


tics of their residents, are subject to a number of provisions including caps on resiǦ
dents, limits on types of dwellings, distancing requirements, and other policies that
narrow the range of opportunities for group home providers and their residents. GHK
chose to focus the research on group home byǦlaws in order to produce a strong case
against people zoning, to challenge the most blatant discrimination and, hopefully, to
establish a legal precedent.

This decision to focus on group home byǦlaws resulted in intensive soul searching for
the Dream Team and its partners. Most supportive housing providers no longer see
the group home model as the ideal way to meet the housing and support needs of psyǦ
chiatric consumer/survivors. Concerns were raised that focusing on group homes
might be seen as an endorsement of that housing model and that it might lead to a diǦ
version from the real issues of affordable and supportive housing. For a more detailed
review of the discussion see Appendix A. After a lengthy debate, the Dream Team and
their partners agreed to continue the focus on group home byǦlaws as the vehicle to
challenge the legitimacy of “people zoning”, while at the same time recognizing that
discrimination is also achieved through planning practices.

The second phase of research looked more deeply at the byǦlaws and policies of six OnǦ
tario municipalities: Toronto, Ottawa, Kitchener, Cambridge, Sarnia and Smiths Falls.
In all six communities the byǦlaws and policies related to group homes were found to
be discriminatory. While these were not the only examples of such discrimination, they
provide a good cross section of municipalities of different sizes and locations. A deǦ
tailed discussion of the zoning byǦlaws in each of these communities can be found in
the GHK Report Ǧ Appendix F.

End notes:
1- Section 2. (1) of the Ontario Human Rights Code states:
Every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to the occupancy of accommodation, with-
out discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed,
sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status, disability or the receipt of public assistance

2- Section 15. (1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms States:
Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and
equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on
race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

The Dream Team Goes on the Road 10


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Based on the GHK research, the Dream Team set out to visit a number of municipaliǦ
ties where the zoning byǦlaws can be seen to be discriminatory. The Dream Team was
ready to go on the road!

The Dream Team Road Show, as it came to be called, had two clear purposes:

x To share information with people in diverse communities about the discrimina


tory nature of planning byǦlaws, policies and practices and the impact of these
planning provisions on the ability of people living with disabilities to access af
fordable and supportive housing
x To build networks with like minded people and organizations in communities
across the province that will support ongoing information sharing and collabora
tion.

The communities finally selected for the Road Show reflect a cross section of Ontario
municipalities. Some of them were included in the inǦdepth analysis carried out by
GHK, while others were added because the Dream Team had established relationships
in those communities. All had byǦlaws that discriminated against people based on perǦ
sonal characteristics. The municipalities selected for the Road Show were:
x KitchenerǦWaterloo
x Thunder Bay
x Ottawa
x Smiths Falls
x Halton
x Toronto

In each municipality the strategy was to identify local contacts who would be asked to
host the Dream Team’s visit to the community. The hosts could include consumer surǦ
vivors, agencies or housing providers, all of them local people with an interest in reǦ
moving barriers to the development of supportive housing. The Dream Team would
meet with the host to describe the Road Show and to negotiate the role of the local
community in providing the location, publicizing the event and following up afterǦ
wards.

Through this process the Dream Team learned that no two communities are the same,
that each community requires a different game plan and that the Dream Team needs
to be flexible to respond to the different circumstances.

A brief description of the experience in each community is provided here, along with
some of the evaluative feedback received from local participants. Publicity materials
from various communities are attached as Appendix G.

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KitchenerǦWaterloo was the first stop on the Road Show tour. In late February of 2008
members of the Dream Team and their partner organizations met with representatives
of the Homelessness and Housing Umbrella Group (HHUG), a broad based group made
up of representatives of a number of key local agencies, as well as representatives of
the Regional government.

The process of negotiating the role of the host was very labour intensive, with detailed
exchanges about the fit between the goals of the Dream Team and HHUG’s sensitivity
to the local political situation. Among other things, HHUG worried about the potential
perception that Kitchener was being criticized by people coming from Toronto with
the message that local byǦlaws are discriminatory. They specifically requested that the
Dream Team presentation focus on the positive impact that supportive housing has
had for members of the Dream Team and the challenges that zoning can present in
terms of getting new supportive housing built, without making specific references to
local byǦlaws.

While this approach seems, on the face of it, to be at odds with the fundamental apǦ
proach of the Road Show project, it reflects the reality of the local situation, compliǦ
cated by the fact that a City of Kitchener ByǦLaw is currently being challenged before
the Ontario Municipal Board by HomeComing and ACTO, two of the Dream Team’s
partners, on the basis that it is discriminatory.

There were also concerns raised that the interactive parts of the presentation might be
too challenging for the community members. HHUG representatives said that they
thought most people would be coming in order to learn more about the issue, that it
hadn’t been advertised as a workshop to develop a tool kit on how to respond to these
issues. This was ironic for the members of the Road Show planning group, who had
enlisted the help of a professional workshop designer and facilitator specifically for her
assistance to make the workshops more interactive.

As it turned out, the Dream Team's workshop presentation in KitchenerǦWaterloo was


timely. Two days before the Road Show’s visit a supportive housing project that had
received financial support from the municipality was the target of community opposiǦ
tion. A group of residents approached Kitchener City Council to demand that funding
for the supportive housing project be revoked. Council stood firm and voted unaniǦ
mously to go ahead with the housing development. Articles in the local media were
very supportive of the project, and aghast at the level of negative reaction from the
community.

On the day of the Road Show meeting, HHUG also presented a homelessness report

The Dream Team Goes on the Road 12


card to two area MPPs, two MPs and the local Mayor. All of the politicians responded
positively, despite the fact that the highest grade received by the municipality on any
of the five parameters measured was a C+!

The process was very instructive for Dream Team members and the intense negotiaǦ
tions ultimately created a strong union between the Dream Team and local partners.
The workshop as presented was highly interactive and received very positive feedback
from the people that attended. For the outline “script” of the workshop see Appendix
B.

In the evaluation completed at the end of the workshop in Kitchener, almost all of the
people that responded (15 out of 18) said that the meeting as a whole was “great” and
provided them with helpful information. Several said that the group discussion was the
most useful. All five community contacts that responded to a survey several months
later said that the opportunity to discuss issues with other people in their community
was one of the most useful parts of the presentation – one even called for more group
interaction. While not all participants learned a great deal, some were already quite
knowledgeable, they all felt that the Dream Team should continue to take their mesǦ
sage to other communities.

Thunder Bay was the next stop for the Road Show. The Dream Team and their partǦ
ners wanted to include a northern community in the Road Show to ensure that people
were aware that discriminatory planning was not only a southern issue and that the
commitment to responding is province wide.

Initial contacts were made with the local legal clinics and, through them, the Housing
and Homelessness Coalition. Local contacts related difficulties that the emergency
shelter had encountered trying to get a parcel of industrial land rezoned to permit a
new shelter, where the opposition was targeted to poor people in general rather than
specifically to people with mental illness.

The City had introduced a group home byǦlaw which restricts the number of group
homes within a particular area. The local Association for Community Living threatǦ
ened to challenge the byǦlaw if it was enforced, but did not have a specific project that
was at risk. There was interest in the Dream Team Road Show from a number of local
mental health agencies who were prepared to help organize and carry on the educaǦ
tion work locally.

The Thunder Bay Housing and Homelessness Coalition coordinated the Road Show
event in late May 2008. Local organizers were disappointed with the turnǦout, yet
those who attended were pleased with the results, most evaluations said that the
meeting as a whole was “good” or “great”. Similar to Kitchener, survey respondents
may not have learned a lot about the specific issues that they did not already know but
found all parts of the presentation useful (the role play, the Dream Team members stoǦ

13 The Dream Team Goes on the Road


ries and the opportunity for discussion with members of the Dream Team and with
people from their own community.

Ottawa presented a challenge in finding a local group to sponsor the Road Show. IniǦ
tial contact was made by ACTO with Psychiatric Consumers of Ottawa, who considǦ
ered sponsorship of the Dream Team’s visit but decided not to proceed.

Contact was also made with Ottawa Salus, a supportive housing provider. They reǦ
sponded with some willingness to support the initiative but unable to take a lead role
due to other pressures. They identified that, in terms of discriminatory zoning issues,
Ottawa was not particularly bad. There is a “special needs housing” definition in the
zoning by law from the old City which is problematic in terms of distance separation
requirements. The byǦlaws from the suburban municipalities that are now part of OtǦ
tawa were expected to be more difficult in that they may lack a definition but have
other constraints that would make it difficult to locate supportive housing. All of these
things are seen in the context of the City’s consolidation of the byǦlaws for the new
amalgamated City.

Finally Options Bytown agreed to invite the Dream Team to attend their Annual GenǦ
eral Meeting and to present a shortened version of the Road Show. Options Bytown is
a nonǦprofit organization that provides supportive housing services in Ottawa, combinǦ
ing affordable housing with onǦsite counselling, training and other services for people
who have very low incomes and a history of homelessness or special needs that may
relate to mental illness, HIV/AIDS or substance use and need help to live independǦ
ently.

The logistics of the Ottawa Road Show event were disappointing for the members of
the Dream Team as well as for some local organizers. The last minute nature of the
arrangements meant that the presentation had to be shortened and was still rushed.
The fact that the Dream Team stories came right after presentations by consumers
from the local community took away from their impact. It was suggested that the
Dream Team come back to Ottawa another time to present to the Ottawa Supportive
Housing Network. The Network collaborates in coordinated access and research.
Their Housing Plus web site features the stories of tenants and staff of supportive
housing. http://www.housingplus.ca/Ourstories.html

Smiths Falls was an unqualified success. The ingredients which made it so were:
x Total commitment from local organizers
x A committed lawyer from the local legal clinic who worked very hard to make
sure organizations and advocates in the community understood what the session
was about and were prepared to come on board
x Sensitivity of the Dream Team Coordinator to take things slowly with local orǦ
ganizers

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x Small but focussed community support
x Direct involvement of people affected by discriminatory byǦlaws
x Great planning and thought by local organizers in terms of venue and food

In an eǦmail dated June 16, 2008, the local facilitator wrote:


“We had a dream day with the Dream Team here in Smiths Falls on June
13th! What a transformative experience! For a town close to the epicentre of the
'underǦexamined' rural housing crisis, the Dream Team was an awakening for this
community. What exemplary work you're doing, among other things, to raise our
collective morale (all 42 of us on Friday!). Consumers have a long and proud history
of organizing and putting forth forwardǦleaning strategic initiatives Ǧ The Dream
Team is a brave example of our collective capacity. Some participants
who previously could barely leave their homes, found their voices again during this
event, and the three breakǦout groups produced a wealth of information for our
followǦup actions.”

Lisa Levesque, Manager, Mental Health Support Project Ǧ The Link, Lanark, Leeds
and Grenville Ǧ a part of Lanark Health & Community Services

Halton Region was identified as a good location for the Road Show to visit due to its
proximity to Toronto and the sense that homelessness and supportive housing are
emerging issues in that community. Steering Committee members reached out to loǦ
cal contacts in an unsuccessful attempt to identify local consumer organizations that
would be interested to participate. Contacts at the Regional government who were
familiar with the Dream Team and their rightsǦbased approach indicated that their exǦ
perience is that a softer approach has been more successful in their community. In
fact, Halton Region has actively supported the development of a consumer group,
Voices for Housing Choices, which tells their stories in a similar way to the Dream
Team. The Dream Team is exploring possibilities to connect with this group and other
supportive people locally at a later date.

The experience in Halton taught the Dream Team that it is important to be flexible to
respond to the unique needs of each community. The extent of local commitment to
affordable housing and the presence of well organized consumer voices suggest that it
may be more appropriate for the contact in this community to be with these local supǦ
porters than to convene a public forum to hear the Dream Team.

The City of Toronto is a different case altogether: there are lots of active people and
organizations; the Dream Team is well known and the issues of discriminatory zoning
are well known. A different approach is needed. The Steering Committee investigated
various forums in and around Toronto where the Dream Team might make Road Show
presentations. These discussions resulted in a number of workshop opportunities,
which, while they were significant, did not end up being in Toronto. For a description of

15 The Dream Team Goes on the Road


these related workshops see the section on “Other Opportunities” below.

While the Dream Team was preparing the Road Show, two incidents occurred in the
City of Toronto, which illustrated the phenomenon of discriminatory planning pracǦ
tices. In both cases the Dream Team played a role in highlighting these discriminatory
practices and successfully overcoming them.

In the first incident, neighbours had demanded that their local councillor convene a
public meeting so that they could speak against a proposed supportive housing develǦ
opment, even though the project required no planning approvals and, consequently,
no community consultation. The proponent agreed to hold an “open house” where
people could come to hear information about the development but not to speak
against it.

Dream Team members were present at the open house, as neighbours of the proposed
development angrily confronted the councillor for failing to inform them in advance
and for not stopping the development. It was difficult and disturbing for Dream Team
members to experience such hostility directed against people living with mental illness
and those who support their right to live in communities of their choice.

At the City’s Affordable Housing Committee, chair Giorgio Mammoliti steadfastly reǦ
fused to allow deputants to raise concerns about who will live in the proposed housing
development: "I won't accept not in my back yard, I will not accept it. In fact, I don't
want to talk to anybody if they're going to bring that approach. I'm going to move forǦ
ward with our agenda and I'll only listen to, and the committee will only listen to, valid
planning arguments."

In December 2007, Toronto City Council approved funding for the development. SevǦ
eral councillors made specific references to the human right of people to live in comǦ
munities of their choice without discrimination on the basis of disability. One councilǦ
lor affirmed that neighbours do not have a veto; another pointed out that people with
mental illness are more often the victim than the perpetrator of violence or crime. SevǦ
eral councillors spoke of their own experiences where neighbours were initially conǦ
cerned and yet, after the housing was complete, there have been no issues.

At the end the Councillor representing the area of the proposed development stood up
at Council and expressed her disappointment with her neighbours, and affirmed her
support for the project in the face of the anger of her constituents. Her courage and
leadership was affirmed by Mayor David Miller and her colleagues on Council. She
stands as a role model for all municipal councillors. For one media account of the CounǦ
cil proceedings, see Appendix C.

The second incident that occurred in the City of Toronto during the period of time that
the Road Show was being developed involved a long serving Member of Provincial ParǦ

The Dream Team Goes on the Road 16


liament (MPP) who wrote a letter to the Committee of Adjustment in reference to an
application for a minor planning variance to allow conversion of an existing building to
supportive housing for people living with mental illness. In addition to raising quite leǦ
gitimate planning issues related to building standards and parking, the MPP wrote at
length that the neighbourhood already has enough group homes, boarding homes,
shelters, mental health facilities and homes for homeless men and psychiatric surviǦ
vors. He went on to associate such developments with a variety of problems, includǦ
ing: pimping, drug use, drug dealing and “crazed individuals ... stealing items outright
and urinating in front of their shops.”

The letter was distributed widely by the MPP, seeking to demonstrate his support of
the neighbourhood in opposing the development.

On January 31, 2008 nine members of the Dream Team issued a press release as they
filed a formal complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission related to the
legislator’s written remarks. In response to widespread media coverage, the MPP
apologized “if his remarks offended anyone and said that he supports communityǦ
based housing for the mentally ill.” Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty publicly
“chided” the MPP for his “overzealous” remarks but said that the apology was enough
for him.

After investigation, the Ontario Human Rights Commission mediated a meeting beǦ
tween the Dream Team members and the MPP, which resulted in a conclusion which
was satisfactory to the Dream Team members.

p”—ˆŠ›šG–G›ŒGy–ˆ‹Gz–žG

A number of mechanisms were used to assess the effectiveness of the Road Show, to
determine the impact on those who participated and to seek advice for future presenǦ
tations of this nature:
x Evaluations were distributed at each of the workshop presentations (53 reǦ
sponses)
x A survey was sent to every participant for whom contact information was
available (14 replies)
x Interviews were conducted by members of the Dream Team with six key conǦ
tacts in the communities visited
x Interviews were conducted with 3 people that assisted with the preparation
and presentation of the Road Show
x A survey was completed by 7 members of the Dream Team who participated
in the Road Show

Detailed reports of these surveys are attached in Appendix D.

17 The Dream Team Goes on the Road


Respondents were asked how useful they felt different parts of the Dream Team presǦ
entation were:
x Dream Team members stories
x Role play about racism and other types of discrimination
x Opportunity to discuss issues with Dream Team members
x Opportunity for participants to discuss issues with other people from their
community

Almost all respondents felt that the first three of these aspects of the presentation
were very useful, with the first two being the most frequently noted. The discussions
with other people in the community were seen as useful by a few fewer people because
they were already familiar with the issues in their community.

While most of the participants were familiar with the issues presented in the workshop,
either from personal experience or by having read or heard about them, almost all said
they learned a little (26) or a great deal (37). Only a small number (6) said they did not
learn anything, usually because they were already very familiar with the issues. Several
respondents suggested that the Dream Team seek out broader audiences as well as
speaking to the converted. Potential audiences include local politicians, business leadǦ
ers, churches, social service providers, service clubs and more potential consumers.

Many of the survey respondents report that they were “strongly committed before the
workshop” (18), the remainder (5) all said that they are strongly committed after hearǦ
ing the Dream Team. When asked how they have reacted or would react or act if faced
with issues of discrimination related to supportive or affordable housing in their comǦ
munity, almost all reported that they would take action in support of the development,
including:
x Speak up in support of the development (8)
x Write a letter in support of the development (3)
x Attend a meeting (2).

Of the 53 people that completed evaluations at the workshops, 45 said they will be takǦ
ing action in their communities on the issue of discrimination against people with menǦ
tal health issues. The actions will include: continued local action, starting new initiaǦ
tives locally, speaking up and forming partnerships with other groups locally.

The Road Show was a very positive experience for the Dream Team members that parǦ
ticipated. They said that it had a number of benefits, including:
x Increased my capacity to deliver public education
x I am more selfǦconfident about public presentations
x I have a deeper understanding of the relationship between land use planning
and human rights

The Dream Team Goes on the Road 18


x I have a closer working relationship with other Dream Team members

Almost everyone agreed that the Dream Team should continue to take the message to
other communities (one said “not sure”). Many respondents said that the presentation
was excellent and that the Dream Team should not change a thing; there were a few
suggestions for things to do differently in the future, including:
x More group interaction
x Improve communication, the Dream Team should create its own poster, letǦ
ting people in the local community know that all people, especially consumǦ
ers, are welcome; that food and bus tickets will be provided
x Broaden the audience to include local politicians and family members
x Involve local people more and hear their stories. It shouldn’t just be about ToǦ
ronto
x Identify key contacts in each community and work with them to make sure

v›Œ™Gv——–™›œ•›ŒšG

At the same time as the Dream Team and its partners were developing the Road Show,
opportunities arose to continue the public education aspect of the project by delivering
workshops on discriminatory planning in other forums. Some of these related opporǦ
tunities are described here.

In early 2008, the Affordable Housing Committee began a community consultation


called Housing Opportunities Toronto on the future ten year housing strategy for
the City of Toronto, Dream Team members attended a number of community
meetings and spoke at the Affordable Housing Committee about the need to enǦ
sure that discriminatory planning practices do not stand in the way of affordable
and supportive housing development. An invitation has been extended to the
Dream Team to make a focused presentation to the Affordable Housing CommitǦ
tee in early 2009 as the proposed strategy comes forward for Committee and
Council approval.

Human Rights Conference – the Ontario Human Rights Commission hosted the naǦ
tional conference of the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies
(CASHRA) in June 2008 in St Catharines. They approached both the Dream Team
and HomeComing independently about participation in a workshop entitled
“Changing Neighbourhoods and Issues Arising: Mental Health and Disability”,
which deals with stigma and NIMBY. The Dream Team prepared a presentation
related to discriminatory bylaws. The presentation built on the role play approach
used in the Road Show, comparing the kind of discrimination experienced by peoǦ
ple living with mental health issues to racist and anti semitic bigotry.

19 The Dream Team Goes on the Road


The Ontario Non Profit Housing Association (ONPHA) held its annual conference in
Ottawa in October. Members of the Dream Team presented a workshop describǦ
ing the Road Show and another research project of the Dream Team called We are
Neighbours: The Impact of Supportive Housing on Community, Social, Economic
and Attitude Changes. (For a summary of the We Are Neighbours study see AppenǦ
dix E.) Participants called the session “an excellent awareness making session” and
96% of those who attended said the presentation was “great”.

The Dream Team has continued to share the road show with other communities
across the province, including Sarnia and Aurora where it was very well received.

oœ”ˆ•GyŽ›šG

While the Road Show project, funded by the Law Foundation, has a research and pubǦ
lic education focus, members of the Steering Committee understand that the issue is
also one of fundamental human rights. Education is a crucial tool in the struggle to
overcome discrimination and achieve human rights and can be highly successful. As
was demonstrated in the City of Toronto scenarios described above, it is possible to
reframe the discussion in such a way that what might have appeared to be a matter of
community empowerment can be understood as a rights issue.

Steering Committee members are also aware of the potential to use the human rights
complaints process or the courts as a tool to achieve recognition of human rights. A
successful test case can not only establish a legal precedent but can also be a valuable
public education vehicle. As the planning research by GHK showed, there are examǦ
ples across the province of discrimination in land use planning both in byǦlaws and in
practice. The Steering Committee members continue to explore opportunities for a
legal challenge of these byǦlaws and practices.

The Cedar Hill byǦlaw referred to above will be adjudicated at the Ontario Municipal
Board in May 2009. ACTO and HomeComing have appealed the byǦlaw on the basis
that it violates the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Charter.

The City of Toronto is expected to introduce it’s amalgamated zoning byǦlaw in 2009,
including the definition of “group home” based on the disability of the occupants. If
the byǦlaw contains restrictions on group homes, the members of the Steering ComǦ
mittee will use the community consultations on the byǦlaw as an opportunity to point
out the contravention of the Human Rights Code and the Charter and to educate planǦ
ners, politicians and the general public about the need to respect human rights in planǦ
ning law and practice.

The Dream Team Goes on the Road 20


In 2008 the Ontario Human Rights Commission carried out a broad consultation on HuǦ
man Rights and Rental Housing. Members of the Dream Team and other Steering
Committee members attended the hearings in Toronto and the Dream Team made a
written submission informed by the research conducted by GHK. The Commission’s
report on the consultation process identified discrimination in municipal zoning and
planning practice as a concern, citing such issues as discriminatory byǦlaws and planǦ
ning practices, distancing requirements, extraordinary requirements for public consulǦ
tation and design compromises,3 The Commission’s recommendations included the
following:

“The barriers created by NIMBY opposition cannot be overcome by any one stakeǦ
holder in isolation. The committed involvement of housing providers and developǦ
ers, municipalities, municipal affordable housing committees and committees of
adjustment, and other levels of government is necessary to eliminate these kinds of
barriers to the creation of new and affordable housing. Neighbourhood groups, loǦ
cal business associations and homeowners in communities across Ontario need
also be aware that it is not acceptable to oppose affordable housing developments,
just because of who will live in them, when the intended residents are people proǦ
tected under the Code.

RECOMMENDED ACTIONS
24. THAT all organizations, institutions and individuals developing, planning, apǦ
proving or giving input with regard to affordable housing for Code protected
groups take steps to monitor for discriminatory NIMBY opposition and modify their
policies, practices and actions to prevent and address it. For example, a municipalǦ
ity might decide not to hold a community forum to discuss a particular housing proǦ
ject if requests for further information about the project appear to be based on disǦ
criminatory stereotypes. Alternatively, it may use such a forum as an opportunity
to address such stereotypes.

25. THAT organizations across the province, including community groups, the
Government of Ontario and municipalities/municipal associations, work in partnerǦ
ship to develop a provinceǦwide strategy to address and prevent discriminatory
NIMBY opposition to affordable housing development, in consultation with the
Commission.

End Notes
3. Right at Home: Report on the consultation on human rights and rental housing in Ontario, pages 77
to 84.

21 The Dream Team Goes on the Road


Further to this, the Commission made the following commitment:
44. If the Commission identifies municipal byǦlaws or other practices that contribǦ
ute to NIMBYism relating to prohibited grounds of discrimination, it will consider
the strategic use of its powers to have these addressed. This may include public inǦ
quiries, education, and supporting or initiating a human rights application or CharǦ
ter case to challenge those byǦlaws or practices.

The Dream Team will continue to seek opportunities to influence the Ontario Human
Rights Commission (OHRC) as it moves toward a policy statement and advocacy with
respect to discrimination and affordable and supportive housing and will work with the
Commission to ensure that the policy that comes out of the process addresses the huǦ
man rights implications of planning laws and practices.

The Dream Team is working with a network of other organizations to examine the poǦ
tential to file human rights complaints related to discriminatory byǦlaws in selected
communities across Ontario.

j–•Š“œš–•G
The Dream Team Road Show was an unqualified success. It raised up the issues of disǦ
crimination in planning in several communities across Ontario and solidified the comǦ
mitment of the Dream Team to share this message. It established contacts for the
Dream Team to work with like minded groups in other communities to promote huǦ
man rights and supportive housing and to work to empower consumers of the mental
health system to speak out for those things that are important to them.

The most profound impact of the Road Show was to change the way in which people
think about community resistance. What might have been perceived in the past as a
conflict between the interests of one group, neighbours and another, developers of
housing is now better understood as an issue of fundamental human rights. The
Dream Team is confident that their work has encouraged consumers, developers and
supporters of supportive housing in communities across Ontario to continue to pursue
the right of people to live in communities of their choice without discrimination.

For the members of the Dream Team, it has strengthened their resolve to speak out.
They recognize that they, and all people that live with mental illness, have the same
rights as others to live where they choose. The Dream Team has embraced the human
rights message as an organizational priority. They will continue to use the Road Show
and other tools to share this message with others.

The Dream Team has developed a list of individuals, organizations and networks in
communities across the province with whom they will maintain connections. They

The Dream Team Goes on the Road 22


have refined the Road Show for continued presentations in other communities; they
have developed a workshop highlighting discriminatory planning and have designed a
tool kit for use by local communities faced with issues of discriminatory planning pracǦ
tices (see Appendix H). They are currently pursuing funding for publication and printǦ
ing of the tool kit.

23 The Dream Team Goes on the Road


Appendix A
Appendix A

Discussion: A Challenge of Group Home By-laws?


The Dream Team, in partnership with HomeComing and the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario, has
undertaken a project of research, education and outreach on the impact of restrictive provisions in
municipal policies and zoning by-laws on people living with mental health challenges. Funding for the
project has been given to the Dream Team by the Law Foundation.
The project will consist of the following steps:
x Research: look into the range of planning policies and practices (restrictive zoning provisions) in up
to 6 communities, examine the impact of these provisions on the development of supportive housing
x Consider the human rights implications of restrictive policies and zoning by-laws and their possible
violation of the Charter and the Ontario Human Rights Code
x Dream Team will do public legal education with local consumer groups, municipal councils, and
other public forums
In addition to the tasks identified above, the Steering Committee has talked about filing a human rights
complaint against municipalities that have discriminatory by-laws.
The report of the research into planning policies and practices has been completed by GHK. They found
that the most obviously discriminatory by-laws address group homes. While there are many examples of
planning practices that can be seen to be discriminatory, they are often not written policy.
The question with which the Steering Committee is struggling is whether the Dream Team should
participate in a challenge of such by-laws. There are three important aspects to this question:
1. Will participating in a challenge of group home by-laws have a negative impact on the Dream
Team? Will they be seen to be championing a housing form thought of by some as institutional
and custodial?
Many supportive housing providers and consumers do not favour the group home model,
preferring a more independent form of housing. On the other hand, some see group homes as an
appropriate and needed housing form in the spectrum of options for supportive housing.
2. Will a successful challenge of group home by-laws have a useful impact on policies and practices
of municipalities related to other forms of supportive housing forms that we prefer or will the
impacts be restricted to group homes?
ACTO believes that it will establish the principle in law that people zoning is discriminatory.
3. Will a successful challenge of group home by-laws have any unintended consequences? For
example, might it make it more difficult for those organizations that use the group home model
extensively (e.g. providers of housing for people with developmental disabilities) to develop such
housing.
In order to avoid any negative impacts for the Dream Team and to ensure that the impacts of a successful
challenge apply to all forms of supportive housing, it is imperative that any challenge focus on the
principle of people zoning that underlies the group home by-laws.
A large part of the benefit of a human rights challenge is in the publicity and public education that
surrounds it. The Dream Team and its partners, HomeComing and ACTO, need to ensure that the
messages that surround the challenge are about the principles of inclusion and elimination of people
zoning. The Dream Team does not need to champion group homes per se, if their message is focused on
the underlying principle.

1
We can focus on urging the Tribunal to issue a statement that the rights of protected groups are violated
when provincial or municipal by-laws, policies or practices impose restrictions on housing based on the
characteristics of the people that will live in that housing.
We can strive to get a ruling that goes beyond the specific bylaw to the underlying principle. We can
introduce the policies and practices which, although not enshrined in by-laws, have a similar
discriminatory impact.

It may be necessary to do additional research to document these policies and practices. HomeComing can
assist in the research. As well, the discussions with supportive housing advocates at the local municipal
level can focus on identifying the local practices which have a discriminatory effect.

Our experience shows that these practices include:

o Zoning definitions that disadvantage any group protected by the Code. For example, municipal by-
laws sometimes identify supportive housing – housing that serves people with disabilities – to confer
a benefit such as fast-tracked approvals or exemptions from parking requirements.

o Caps or quotas for housing for protected groups.

o By-laws that keep housing for protected groups out of residential neighbourhoods. While by-laws that
prevent all residential development in specific zones are acceptable, by-laws that do not allow
rooming house, group home or subsidized housing development, but allow other residential
development of similar scale, would be discriminatory.

o Development moratoria designed to limit development of housing for protected groups, or for
housing that predominantly serves disadvantaged groups.

o Public consultation protocols that give municipal councillors or staff discretion to hold public
consultations beyond those required by the Planning Act or municipal by-laws for “controversial”
developments when the controversy is based on the characteristics of the future residents.

o Any public notification or consultation requirements for as-of-right housing developments for
protected groups.

o Design requirements that segregate protected groups from their neighbours. These requirements could
be embedded in a municipal by-law; requested by Council, a Council Committee, or the Committee
of Adjustment as a condition of planning approvals or funding; or requested by an individual
councillor as a condition for supporting the project. Examples include:
o Requirements for visual buffering so that “we don’t have to look at them” or frosted windows
so that “they can’t look at us.”
o Fences, walls, gates, driveway detours or other barriers that prevent protected groups from
accessing natural routes to and from their homes.

Prior to proceeding with a challenge, some effort is needed to assess the potential negative impact of a
successful challenge for providers of housing for people with developmental disabilities.

2
Appendix B
WORSHOP OUTLINE

DREAM TEAM ROAD SHOW

Notes for presenters:

In the following text you will see some notes in italics (like this). These notes are to
provide directions to the people that are presenting and are not to be read aloud.

Notes that are not in italics will be said aloud. Where you feel comfortable to do so, feel
free to use your own words, adding or changing as necessary. The “script” is intended
as a guideline. The only exception to this is in the “play acting” part in Section 4, where
the actual words to be spoken are very important.

1
WORSHOP OUTLINE

DREAM TEAM ROAD SHOW

1. Welcome and Introduction: (local host - _________) 5 minutes


This may vary between presentations depending on the local circumstances. A
local host will be identified and provided with a list of requests and suggestions.

Host (____________):
¾ Welcome
¾ Identify Dream Team as consumers of supportive housing
¾ Housekeeping

Now I would like to introduce ________________ of the Dream Team,


who will share with you how the day will unfold.

Facilitator(_________________ ):

Thank you for coming here today. As ___________ said, my name is


________________and I am a member of the Dream Team. The Dream
Team are people that have experienced mental illness and homelessness
and members of their families. Our work is to share with others the
positive and life changing benefits of supportive housing. We do that by
telling our own stories.

Our presentation here today will take a little over two hours, including a
very brief break. Our plan is to use that time to share some information
with you, to give you an opportunity to ask questions for clarification and to
provide some time for you to discuss among yourselves how the things
that we have talked about from our experience relates to your experience
here in this community.

These are the Outcomes that we hope to achieve today (Copies of the
outcomes are in the agenda package that we handed out, as well):

Quickly walk through the outcomes on the flip chart

What we hope to achieve in the time available is to provide information


and stimulate discussion that will enhance our understanding in four key
areas:
x The benefits of supportive housing
x Barriers to the development of supportive housing
x What the Dream team is doing to address some of these barriers
x How these issues affect your community
So now let’s take a look at our Agenda (You also have a copy of the
agenda in your package).

2
WORSHOP OUTLINE

Turn the page on the flip chart to reveal the Agenda. Quickly walk through the
agenda pointing out the steps in the meeting:

So we have looked at our expected outcomes.

Next we want to find out who is here, so we will give you a couple of
minutes to talk to each other and find out some basic information about
each other

Then we will tell you a bit more about us, the three organizations that
have partnered in the development of the presentation for today.

Members of the Dream Team will share with you some of their
experiences in supportive housing and how it has had a positive impact
on their lives.

Then we will share some of our experiences with how other members of
the community have reacted to supportive housing.

After a very short break we will come back to small groups for an
opportunity for you to share with each other some of your experiences
with supportive housing in your community.

Finally we will tell you where we are going from here and how you can
join us in our work.

2. Warm-up: Who’s Here? 10 minutes

Facilitator (________________)

¾ We would like to start with a brief exercise to get warmed up and to get
to know each other a little bit before we launch into the work of the
meeting

¾ I’m going to ask you to talk to each other in a couple of minutes by


turning to your neighbours and form yourselves up into small groups of
3 (or so). Try to find people that you don’t already know. Take about 5
minutes to talk to your neighbours and get to know them a little, by
asking each other three questions – the three questions are here on
the flip chart, they are also in the printed copy of the agenda that you
were given (can you find them there under item 2 - Who’s Here?)

¾ The Questions are:

3
WORSHOP OUTLINE

- How long have you lived in this community?


- Do you rent or own your home?
- Do you have a friend or a family member who has experienced mental
health issues?

¾ One person in each group should take on the role of “listener” and be
prepared to report back to the larger group about what you heard.

¾ Does everyone understand what we are going to do?

Look around the room, see whether people are nodding that they understand. If
you see puzzled looks, probe for what they don’t understand:
Do you have the group you are going to talk to?
Do you understand the questions that you are to ask each other?
Have you selected a listener?

When it seems that people are ok and ready to go, look at your watch or a clock
and say:

OK , you have 5 minutes.

Walk around to the different groups checking in with people who seem confused.
After four minutes tell them they have one minute left.

So, Who’s Here? - in large group, use same questions and encourage group to call
out and/or raise hands in response. “Listeners” will say what they heard.

So who is here?
How long have people lived in this community? Point to a group and ask: Who
was the listener in this group? How about the people you were listening to?
How long have they been living here?

Take a few answers this way and then move to the next question:

How many people said they were renters? How many are owners?

What about mental illness? Does anyone know anybody that lives with
mental health issues?

Comment on what you have heard. For example:

So we have a range of people, some are new to the community while others
have been here a fairly long time. There are some people who own their
homes, and there are lots of us that are renters. And one thing that many of
us have in common is that we know someone, a friend or a family member
that lives with mental illness.

4
WORSHOP OUTLINE

Pause here for a minute -

3. Who Are We? 15 minutes

Facilitator (_________________):

Now that we know who you are, we want to tell you a little bit more about who
we are, to introduce to you the 3 partners involved in putting on this
presentation and to give you a chance to get to know some members of the
Dream Team.

First let me introduce _________________ who is with the Advocacy Centre


for Tenants, Ontario

ACTO – (___________________)

Hi, I’m _________________ and ……. (2 minutes max!)

HomeComing – ( ___________________ )

Another partner in the development of todays presentation is


HomeComing Community Choice Coalition a group of Supportive Housing
Providers and Consumers, Planners and Architects and other people
concerned about the barriers that exist to the development of affordable
and supportive housing. HomeComing came together about four years
ago in response to experiences of supportive housing providers with
community resistance to proposed developments.

HomeComing works to respond to community resistance that is based on


discrimination against the people that will live in the housing. They do this
through organizing people to speak out in support of these developments
and trying to changes the systems that permit such discrimination to
occur. You have the HomeComing brochure and tool kit in your
packages.

Dream Team –( _____________________ )

The Dream Team is a group of psychiatric consumer/survivors and their


family members who advocate for more supportive housing in Ontario for
people with mental health issues. We demonstrate through presentations
and workshops the life-altering benefits of supportive housing by telling
our stories to politicians, community groups and institutions. The Dream
Team members have been transformed from being homeless to become
committed advocates for supportive housing; from psychiatric consumer
survivors to educators dispelling the myths of mental illness.

5
WORSHOP OUTLINE

Let me introduce to you some members of the Dream Team, who will
each tell you their own story. Today we are going to hear from_______,
_________ and ________.

Dream Team member # 1tells his/her story in 2 to 3 minutes


Dream Team member # 2 tells his/her story in 2 to 3 minutes
Dream Team member # 3 tells his/her story in 2 to 3 minutes

Facilitator (_________________)

Are there any questions for ___________ or me or any of the Dream


Team members?

Take a couple of questions and then say:

In the interests of time we need to move on, but if you still have questions
please feel free to approach any of the Dream Team members during the
break. You can also use the evaluation form that was distributed with the
agenda OR jot down your questions and comments and give to any
Dream Team member and the Dream Team will try to follow-up with you.

Now I’m going to introduce Pedro who will tell you a little about what we
have heard in some of the community meetings that we have attended to
talk about proposed supportive housing developments.

4. Overheard in Community Meetings: A Mini-Presentation 15 minutes

Move 2 chairs to the front – the two speakers will sit in the chairs, while the narrator
stand off to the side. The idea is to make it clear that we are going to be doing some play
acting.

“Narrator” (__________________) says:

Through our involvement in supportive housing we have attended


community meetings related to new developments. The things you will
hear in the next few minutes are real comments that we heard at a public
meeting in Toronto. My two friends will play the role of some of the people
that live in the neighbourhoods where supportive housing is being
developed to meet the needs of people living with mental illness.

Speaker Number 1 –
As a young family, we are very concerned for the safety of our daughter if
residents with severe mental health issues live in this building in our
neighbourhood.

6
WORSHOP OUTLINE

Speaker Number 2 –

I don’t have a problem with people with mental illness, but this community
already has its fair share of difficulties. They should be spread out over
the city and integrated into the community.

Speaker Number 1 –

This neighbourhood has been improving lately with new businesses


opening up; this plan just doesn’t fit. There has to be a better place to
house these people.

Speaker Number 2 –

I am all for people who are homeless being able to find a place to live,
what I don’t agree with is the sneaky way that City Council tried to dump
this in our neighbourhood. We have a right to be consulted.

Speaker Number 1 –

We are supportive in principle of integrating disadvantaged people into our


community; however, we are concerned that we were not consulted or
given an opportunity to find out more about the proposal.

Narrator ( ______________ ) says:


What if it we changed the words about people with mental health issues
and inserted other words, so that it sounded like this?

Speakers should put extra emphasis on the words that are in bold print.

Speaker Number 1 –

As a young family, we are very concerned for the safety of our daughter if
black people live in this building in our neighbourhood.

Speaker Number 2 –

I don’t have a problem with Jews, but this community already has its fair
share of difficulties. They should be spread out over the city and
integrated into the community.

Speaker Number 1 –
This neighbourhood has been improving lately with new businesses
opening up; this plan just doesn’t fit. There has to be a better place to
house Italians.

7
WORSHOP OUTLINE

Speaker Number 2 –

I am all for new immigrants being able to find a place to live, what I don’t
agree with is the sneaky way that City Council tried to dump this in our
neighbourhood. We have a right to be consulted.

Speaker Number 1 –

We are supportive in principle of integrating Asian people into our


community; however, we are concerned that we were not consulted or
given an opportunity to find out more about the proposal.

Narrator (____________) says:

This time we hear the same words, except that instead of referring to
people living with mental illness the speakers are talking about black
people, Jews, Italians, new immigrants and Asian people. When we
hear this we know we are hearing discrimination. And we know that the
Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination because of race, ancestry,
place of origin, colour and ethnic origin. But we also know that the Human
Rights Code specifically prohibits discrimination in accommodation
because of handicap and that handicap includes a “mental disorder”. So
we know that when we heard the things that we heard in the first part of
this presentation, we were hearing illegal discrimination.

Some of the people talked about the right to be consulted. Let’s listen to
the following speaker offering a consultative process, let’s say, in a school
setting:

Speaker Number 3 - :

Hi. I’m Jim Smith and I’m the principal of John Street School where your
child is a student. I wanted to talk with you about a change that is
happening in the school. A physically disabled child is starting at the
school in the fall and we wanted to give you and other parents a chance to
talk about the impact that it might have on your child and to raise any
concerns that you might have. If you like I can tell you about the type of
disabilities that the child has and the supports that will be provided to
ensure that his needs are met. Do you have any questions?

Narrator (______________) - says:


This is an absurd example! Of course a school principal would never say
such a thing! She knows that a child with a handicap has as much right as
any other child to get an education. She knows that consulting with other
parents about how they feel about it or discussing the needs of the child

8
WORSHOP OUTLINE

with others is unnecessary and inappropriate - as inappropriate as


consultation about supportive housing.

Facilitator (_______________ ):

Thank you!

I think it’s time for us to take a very short break. Can we keep it really short
though, use the washroom if you need to, grab a cup of coffee and try to be
back in our seats in about 5 minutes?

Ok.

5. Supportive Housing in Your Community

Facilitator ( _____________________ ):

Thank you for being brief. Now we are going to give you some time to talk
among yourselves about the community in which you live and your
experience with homelessness, mental illness and supportive housing.

I want to stress that knowing a lot about these issues is not required. If
you have questions about how it works, ask others in your group, but for
the most part the questions will be ones that you can answer based on
your own life experience.

I’m going to divide you into 3 small groups. Each group will have a series
of questions to discuss and to report back to the larger group. Each group
should begin by selecting a reporter.

So let’s start here (pointing to the person closest to the front of the room on the
left) and let’s go around the room with everyone saying a number from
“one” to “three” – remember your number. (say the number with the person)
1, 2, 3 , 1, 2, 3, 1, 2 …..)

Now those who said “one” will all get together and form a group; those
who said “two” will all get together and form a group and those who said
“three” will all get together and form a group. Group one will be up here,
group two will be …

Your questions are attached to the agenda – on page 2. Please read the
overview which includes a definition of supportive housing, then answer
the questions that are directed to your group. We have 15 minutes for the
discussion and then we will hear back from the groups.

Any questions? O.K. Let’s move.

9
WORSHOP OUTLINE

Small Group Discussion 15 Minutes

Feedback from discussion groups 20 Minutes

Facilitator (_____________ )
Ask reporter from each group to report, beginning with group 1, then 2 .. read out the
first question for the group and have the reporter go through the answers from there.
If there were more than 3 groups group the feedback according to the questions that
were asked.

Try to write down some for the key points on the flip charts, particularly in response
to the question on barriers.

6. Join In Our Success 20 minutes

Facilitator (________________ )

What are some of the barriers that get in the way of the development of more
supportive housing? Some of the barriers that you identified were: Review
what was said by the people in the discussion groups.

A) What are some other barriers that get in the way of developing more
supportive housing.

Review the barriers by asking audience participants to raise their hands and list
barriers: they could include: development costs, fees, charges, construction
delays, fear of the unknown, stereotypes, adequate and appropriate physical
space, political opposition, funding program confusion and/or lack of funds, the
ones we want to probe for are bylaws, meeting requirements, neighbourhood
opposition, ...

B) What are some things that communities can do to support the


development of supportive housing? Review the potential actions by asking
audience participants to raise their hands and list things that can be done. They
could include:
- public education via community meetings, presentations to service clubs and
Business Improvement Associations; ; workplace "lunch and learns"…
- media work through opinion editorial pieces, public events, work with individual
reporters, letters to the editor; deputation's to municipal, provincial and federal
committees and special meetings;
- legal actions such as human rights applications, OMB hearings, court
proceedings;
- networking by outreach to new groups, faith groups, service clubs, interventions
at meetings and conferences on similar themes;

10
WORSHOP OUTLINE

- meetings with local/provincial/federal politicians

C) Review goals of Dream Team Road Show

Facilitator –

The Dream Team, working with ACTO and HomeComing, are traveling
across the province making presentations like this one in several
communities. The goals of these meetings are set out in your agenda
package as follows:

- education and support for psychiatric survivors to assert their rights


to be free from discrimination in housing.

- education of institutions, communities and governments on the


nature and impact of discriminatory zoning and planning practices

- creation of a network of psychiatric survivors and advocates

- strengthen local groups to provide ongoing education locally

- forming and building partnerships in each community to achieve


more strategic cooperation across the province to eliminate
discrimination against people with mental health challenges in the
context of provision of affordable and supportive housing.

Now let me introduce another member of the Dream Team – ____________ who
will tell you how you can support the Dream Team

Dream Team member (_____________ )

On the last page of your agenda package, there is a list of things you can do
now to help support the Dream Team as we work to spread the positive news
about Supportive Housing and how it can help people in your community:

x Complete the evaluation form to let us know what you thought about our
presentation; we value your feedback.

x Keep in touch with the Dream Team by filling in the contact information on
the evaluation form.

x Let others in the community know about the Dream Team and our project.
Our website is www.thedreamteam.ca. (put on flip chart and include in
agenda)

11
WORSHOP OUTLINE

x Communicate with your local, provincial and federal politicians about the
need for more affordable and supportive housing for people who have
experienced mental health issues.

x Let us know if there is an affordable or supportive housing project in your


area that is facing council or community opposition.

x Write letters to your local paper about the need for more affordable and
supportive housing.

We hope that our presentation and your discussions here today have gone
some way toward achieving the goals that we set out. We look forward to
talking further with you and to continuing to work together to enhance housing
opportunities so that everyone has access to decent and affordable housing.

7. Wrap-up, Next Steps, Thanks etc. 5 minutes

Community host (______________)

¾ Thank you to the Dream Team.


¾ Any local community follow-up?

Total time: 115 minutes

12
Appendix C
City will not halt Gerrard Street complex for mentally ill - Posted Toronto file:///H:/LF%20final/city-will-not-halt-gerrard-street-complex-for-menta...

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City will not halt Gerrard Street complex for mentally ill
Posted: December 13, 2007, 10:31 PM by Barry Hertz
The Hall Monitor, Real estate Weather
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Toronto
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organizers
ban
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Tamil
protesters City council will not halt a complex for mentally ill
skeptical of homeless people from moving to the Upper Beach.
rebel
leader's After an impassioned debate yesterday, councillors
demise voted 31-2 to support the project, which will see an
Store abandoned three-storey banquet hall in the Gerrard
Follow us on Twitter: postedtoronto
employees Street East and Woodbine Avenue area transformed
charged with into 29 units of supportive housing.
Recent Posts
assaulting On the Town with Found Magazine's Davy
Local Councillor Sandra Bussin said the angry reception the project
suspected Rothbart
received in her ward has left her heartbroken. “I, as the local council,
shoplifter Downtown traffic chaos predicted for afternoon
cannot and will not stand in the way of this development,” Ms. Bussin
Girl, 5, hit in rush hour tomorrow
said.
shooting Bending Elbows: Reposado and Lusso
No ‘war on At the centre of yesterday’s debate was the question of whether the city Street Level: Yard Sale for the Cure born in the
the car,’ should consult residents when a home for the mentally ill moves into a Beaches
Toronto’s neighbourhood. Cyclist badly injured after hitting van in west-end
mayor bike lane
insists Because the 1908 Gerrard St. E. proposal did not require any changes to Teenager charged in Sheridan Mall security-guard
Swine flu zoning or a trip to the committee of adjustment, the city did not have to stabbing
kills Toronto publicize the plan. Instead, residents were blindsided when someone Teenager guilty in Mississauga rugby-field death
man dropped anonymous flyers in mailboxes near the site. Yonge Street pub needs a new name; no profanity
please
After concerned residents bombarded Ms. Bussin’s office with questions,
she hosted an information meeting last month to try to answer them.
Councillor Doug Holyday, a member of Toronto city council’s right-wing
minority, tried to move an amendment that would have postponed the
project until formal public consultations could be held.

1 of 5 6/5/2009 8:52 AM
City will not halt Gerrard Street complex for mentally ill - Posted Toronto file:///H:/LF%20final/city-will-not-halt-gerrard-street-complex-for-menta...

Some of his colleagues assailed him for suggesting the community be


consulted about an identifiable group moving in. Councillor Gord Perks
repeatedly asked Mr. Holyday on what basis he wanted to consult,
considering no planning approvals were required.

“They are not happy with what we’ve done so far. What is wrong with a
democratic process that allows them to get information?” Mr. Holyday
said. “Perhaps if I ask the question this way, you can answer better,” Mr.
Perks replied.

“If a member of your community presented you with a petition about


some other identifiable group of human beings moving into your ward,
would you feel compelled to have a community consultation on that
simply because you had received a petition?”

In the end, Mr. Holyday’s effort to force more consultation failed. Only
he and fellow Etobicoke Councillor Rob Ford voted against the project.

“The outcome, I think, was pre-determined. I wasn’t surprised at all,” said


Robert Johnston, an opponent of the project who lives near the site. “I
think because of the complexion, policy-wise, of this council, we knew
where it was going from the outset. They’ve got an agenda that they’re
pressing and they’re pressing it on all of us to pay the taxes to support
these kinds of things.”

Mr. Johnston and other neighbours have retained a lawyer to try to halt
the project.

The 1908 Gerrard St. E. proposal came about as a result of a tender issued Peter Kuitenbrouwer's Walk Across Toronto
this year by the city’s Affordable Housing Office. The office had some
federal money to distribute, and this proposal, along with two others at
1355 King St. W. and 650 Queen St. E. was endorsed by staff as the
winning projects.
Council endorsed all three projects yesterday.

Photo of 1908 Gerrard St. E. by Peter Redman for National Post

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by swaney
Dec 14 2007 The only thing "heartbreaking" is Councillor Bussin's
6:27 PM hypocrisy as she did not even bother to educate herself
about whether this would be a good housing
development for the residents or the community, Join National Post columnist Peter Kuitenbrouwer
created un-necessary anymosity between the as he walks across Toronto
community and the potential residents by pitting them
against one another when she had simply dropped the
ball in terms of trying to get any form of constructive Their Toronto
public dialogue going. Of course, she never has taken
any interest in the northern upper beach section of her
ward anyway as all of the big money and the power is
in the southern Queen St corridor of it. Here she has
spent all of her time and energy lobbying to stop higher
density housing near Neville Park which is a must in
order to truly address the housing problems in this city
and has suggested that a drop in soup kitchen needs to
be "talked through" with local residents which
effectively means that it will be delayed indefinitely
leaving the needy out in the cold. The resistance of
residents in these two cases was not "heartbreaking" to
her. Oh I am sorry, I almost forgot, she also got an old Leah Miller, Steven Page, Ivan Reitman and other
bridge restored in that area for hundreds of thousands notables talk about their city.

2 of 5 6/5/2009 8:52 AM
Appendix D
Road Show Evaluation

1. Summary of Evaluations at Dream Team Road Show Sessions


A: How would you rate this meeting as a whole?

Response 5 great 4 good 3 okay 2 not so good 1 not useful


Ottawa 3 3 1
Smith’s Falls 12 6 0 1
Thunder Bay 2 7 1
Waterloo 15 2
Total 53 32 18 2 1

B: I learned things at this meeting that I didn't know before:

Response 5 lots 4 quite a 3 a little 2 not really 1 not at all


bit
Ottawa 3 1 3
Smith’s Falls 4 11 2 2
Thunder Bay 2 8
Waterloo 4 7 6
Total 53 11 21 19 2

C: The meeting provided me with helpful information.

Response 5 lots 4 quite a bit 3 a little 2 not really 1 not at all


Ottawa 1 2 3
Smith’s Falls 6 10 2 1
Thunder Bay 1 6 3
Waterloo 4 11 2
Total 52 12 29 10 1

D: What topic did you find most useful?

Personal stories (14)


• “Compassionate”
Group discussions (10)
• Questions and people's input, a lot of good understanding
• Self-generating discussions re: topic from various perspectives
• I really enjoyed the group discussions with dream team involvement
• Meeting other like-minded people
More knowledge (7)
• By-laws
• How bad the need is
• Housing opportunity

1
Road Show Evaluation

• Validation
• Ideas on supportive housing
Discussion of possible solutions (6)
• Seeing the benefits of group action and their successes
• How to deal with discrimination
• Overcoming the obstacles to public opposition
• Barriers/support
• Moving forward
All (6)

Role play (4)


• mental health discrimination compared to racism

• Diversity
• Possible partnerships for clients
• Community not wanting (supportive housing) in their neighbourhood
• Integration of people into community

E: What topic was not discussed and would be useful to you to know more about?

None (5)
• You covered it all!
• Necessity to have bachelor's & 1-bdrm. Apartments
• Group home - lack of standards
• The actual end product, building
• Needs assessments, promoting awareness?
• The entire issue on a Federal level
• If we will get housing here
• Like to see it in practice in my town
• Looking at specific supportive housing success stories from across the province.
• Alternatives
• Other forms of diversity
• Mobilizing psychiatric survivors to self-advocate
• Government's commitment to supportive housing
• Transitional housing
• Accessibility for 10% accessible units
• Coverage of costs of meds
• What supports are most effective in supportive housing

2
Road Show Evaluation

F: Do you have a better understanding of discrimination against people with mental health
issues?

Yes 46 No 5 (including one said “because I am one” and one said “I understand
this already”)

G: Will you be taking action in your community on the issue of discrimination against
people with mental health issues?

Yes 45 No 3 (including one said “because I am one” and one said “I understand
this already”)

What would help you take action?

Local action
• A local committee devoted to reducing barriers to supported housing
• Address matter as part of our social justice initiative
• Personal discussion with friends, colleagues
• Contacting local politicians, helping to organize a consumer coalition
• Join others in my local area - take action
Continue with current action
• Continue in the Social Action Committee using some suggestions to move forward
• CCOC is against the new by-law
• Already in leadership role in many networks, coalitions, etc.
• Continue to do as part of my work
• I'm acting
• Continued advocacy and project/program development.
• Continued postering of collaboration
• Ongoing issue
• As an HHUG member, we do a lot of public speaking to large (?) groups on issues of
housing and homelessness - we will continue
• Continuing to work on HHUG (2)
• I was quite familiar with this topic already, but it's always helpful to hear other people.
Speak up
• Will voice opinion about treatment
• Talk to more people about this problem
• Bring a positive, supportive voice
• Advocate ++
• Keep abreast on local situation and see how I can be a supportive voice
• Advocating at regional level; telling friends and family

3
Road Show Evaluation

Partnerships
• Knowledge of how to motivate the members of PACE. I was very disappointed by the
lack of turnout by PACE members. I know this would have been a great forum for
teaching the value of self-advocacy
• Letters to the editor; participate in community meetings;

• As opportunity allows
• It's a fight that needs to be fought together!
• More publicity re: integration into the various communities.
• Requires patience
• There are more private homes in the downtown core, more property taxes for the city
coffers as against low-income - that's a form of discrimination
• Emotional support only, not able to speak up

H: Is there anything you suggest we do differently for next time?

Response 1 more 2 less group 3 more 4 more 5 more 6 nothing


group involvement detailed general handouts
involvement information information
Ottawa 3 2 1
Smith’s 3 4 2 2 6
Falls
Thunder 1 1 7
Bay
Waterloo 1

Other:
• Information in French
• Local information
• Other provincial examples for generation of new ideas
• I'd like the Dream Team to someday come to present at PACE. How much would this
cost?
• Stats of local communities give a for front & eye openers
• More information - did not know consumers were invited until yesterday.
• Excellent!
• Good balance!

4
Road Show Evaluation

Comments
• Superb!
• Wonderful - thank you
• I think what you are doing is wonderful
• You were wonderful and did a fantastic job.
• Keep up the good work - don't give up
• Don't give up; hold your dream
• Keep up the good work
• Well covered topic, all angles covered
• This was a wonderful experience - hopefully Step 1 of many more to come
• Great - thank you for sharing your stories and lives so honestly - I am honoured
• I thought this was great. Don't change a thing - I liked the style, the speed and
organization. Good luck - you did a wonderful job!
• I found it a good mix of presentation and conversation.
• Excellent! My congratulations and encouragement to the whole Dream Team. (PS: I
love the song!?)
• Keep speaking out. Keep going to other communities to speak.
• Great job! Dream team members speaking publicly is very powerful.
• More of everything
Facilities
• Provide food (4)
• Provide bus fare (5 )
• Make sure the gathering space is able to have air circulation (chapel was quite stuffy)

• Ensure all segments of community are in attendance (e.g. council, business, churches,
social services, service clubs and of course more potential consumers and other citizens).
• I would have liked to have seen more family members and community members, i.e.
Church, as well as reps from some of the houses
• Follow up - with more action
• A poster that groups can put up in (sp?)/apt etc.

• My worker was here so later she can help me understand.


• Lanark Mental Health and Lanark Social Services jointly championing this cause
through partnerships.

• Need a similar organization for families with learning disabilities and intellectually
disabled people
• Options to get rid of tenants who deal in drugs, their guests are a bad influence.

• Will you email results from the group Q&A?


• Could I get a copy of the "We are neighbours" study?

5
Road Show Evaluation

2. Interviews with Key Community Contacts

1. Name of contact:
• Vickie S – Thunder Bay
• Linda T – Smith’s Falls
• Dave H – Smith’s Falls
• Alice B - Thunder Bay
• Lorraine B – Ottawa
• Lynn M – Kitchener/Waterloo
2. How useful do you think the following parts of the Dream Team presentation
were to participants in your community?

Very Useful A little useful Not very useful


Dream Team 4 1
members stories Biggest impact
Role play about 2 1 - Vaguely remember
racism and other - Very helpful for
types of people’s
discrimination comprehension
Opportunity to 2 1 Little opportunity
discuss issues Added a new
with Dream Team dimension
members
Opportunity to 2 3
discuss issues They were already
with other people familiar with the
from my issues in their
community community
Little opportunity

Were there other parts that were useful? (specify)


• It was good to hear other groups in other jurisdictions and apply the knowledge to
their situations. (2)
• All parts of the Dream Team presentation were very useful (2)
• Most impressed with Dream Team stories; good role model to follow
3. Looking at the issues presented in the workshop, how would you describe the
impact of the workshop on the level of awareness of people in your community?
• They learned a great deal and are more aware now (1)
• There was no real change, they were aware before;
• There was no change, they didn’t learn much about this issue.
The issues are:
• Homelessness

6
Road Show Evaluation

• Mental illness
• Community resistance to affordable and supportive housing

• The first three issues, (Homelessness, Mental illness, Community resistance to


affordable and supportive housing) the participants were already aware of
because they work with people who have experienced homelessness and mental
illness. (2)
• The last two issues (Discrimination in the municipal planning process, Ways to
respond to discrimination against supportive housing) the participants learned a
great deal and are now more aware.
• There was some change of awareness with mental illness issues.
• Linda was aware of discrimination in the municipal planning process because
she is a lawyer but the other participants learned a lot from this issue.
• Participants didn’t learn much about ways to respond to discrimination against
supportive housing.
• Participants were already aware of these issues and the Dream Team reinforced
what they already believed. (2) The Dream Team validated what they already
knew.
• The media article was good but Alice is not sure what impact it will have. There
weren’t really any new ideas for responding to discrimination.

4. How committed would you say participants are now to supporting the
development of affordable and supportive housing in your community?

• The participants were strongly committed to the development of supportive and


affordable housing before hearing the Dream Team (5) Dream Team reinforced
their commitment.

5. Since the workshop has your community been faced with issues of discrimination
related to supportive or affordable housing in your community?
Yes 2
No 2

6. If yes: How did people react or act when faced with these issues?

• A shelter was developed that involved public consultation and John Howard
Society developed housing that required rezoning and the process was very
quiet. Both projects followed the correct protocol and were successful.
• The Housing and Homelessness Coalition has been trying to create more
supportive housing for years but nothing new has been created since 1993 and
people are frustrated. The Dream Team spoke about issues the participants were
already familiar with.

7
Road Show Evaluation

7. If no: How would they act or react when faced with these issues?

• There have been discriminatory bylaws against affordable and supportive


housing in Smiths Falls for quite a while but Linda is not aware of any new issues
of discrimination since our workshop.
• In Perth, which is in the same county as Smith Falls, the community recently
found the local zoning bylaw to be discriminatory and decided to open up a new
group home that will hold 6 to 8 people.
• In nearby Perth, a building was approved which involved distancing
requirements. Lawyer, Linda Tranter represented the provider.
• Smiths Falls and Perth are part of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville County along with
Carleton Place, Mississippi Mills and four rural communities.

8. Should the Dream Team continue to take this message to other communities?
Yes 5 It wouldn’t hurt.
- should come back to Ottawa and work with Housing Plus Services

9. Are there things that the Dream Team should do differently in the future?

• The Dream Team presentation was fine the way it was (2)
• The Dream Team should have developed their own posters and sent them to
Thunder Bay in advance.
• The posters also should indicate that the Dream Team workshop is for both staff
and consumers and that bus tickets and refreshments would be available. Many
consumers didn’t go because they thought that the workshop was only for staff
and many also said that they would have attended if they knew bus tickets and
refreshments were going to be provided. We need to clarify in advance who
should be responsible for the posters. Our audience may not always be able to
provide them
• The Dream Team workshop was generally very helpful.
• It was hard to answer some of the questions because the Dream Team workshop
happened back in June. We should have tried to follow up earlier. (2)
• Key contacts in the communities we visited would like a list of the email contacts.
The Dream Team has a list of the contacts but did not share them with our key
contacts.
• The Dream Team should involve the local people more and hear their stories. It
shouldn’t just be about Toronto.
• There should be more politicians present because decision makers need to hear
what people are saying
• Logistics were not the best (Ottawa); last minute; second choice; shared the
stage with local consumers – diluted the message
• A collection of different stories "really inspired, re-energized, the work involved &
strengthened their understanding".

8
Road Show Evaluation

• There’s personal angst for people to share their stories, that is impactful, & this
helps for people to open up & are more willing to share".

10. Do you have suggestions for the Dream Team about how to approach local
communities in order to deliver our messages?

• The family member point of view is important. It often gets left out.
• It is important to identify key contacts in each community and work with
them to make sure that the workshop is relevant.
• The Dream Team should involve the local people more and hear their stories.
It shouldn’t just be about Toronto.
• There should be more notice and more promotion. We should have sent out a
flyer in advance indicating who the meeting was for and that food and bus
tickets would be available. Some consumers didn’t show up because they
thought that the meeting was only for staff and that there wouldn’t be any food
or bus tickets
• Should have been done in conjunction with Housing Plus Services

11. Is there other information in this area that your community needs that the Dream
Team could provide?

• The Dream Team needs to speak to a wider audience. It should try to speak
to the general public instead of speaking to the converted.
• The Dream Team needs to get more attention in the media.
• No. The Dream Team validated what the participants already knew.
• It would be good to have an email list of the people involved in the successful
and unsuccessful bylaw challenge cases in each community.
• It is important to hear what is going on in other communities and learn about
successful by-law challenges.

12. Is there knowledge related to issues of discrimination and community resistance


that your community can share with the Dream Team?

• Every group is different. Every community has different bylaws that


discriminate and has to be approached differently.
• It is beneficial for the Dream Team and the communities that they visit to
share knowledge with each other on issues of discrimination and community
resistance.
• Most communities are dealing with the same issues.
• An issue is before city council to decide on not allowing of additional services
in a particular downtown sector, the 'fair share ' argument
• They are more connected with " the sector", family members, "improving their
advocacy, making it much more collective & cohesive".

9
Road Show Evaluation

14. Would you be prepared to help the Dream Team to connect with other people in
your community that attended the workshop to find out how the workshop
impacted on them? This will help the Dream Team to improve their presentation.

Yes 3

15. Do you have any other comments or advice for the Dream Team?

• Keep on going and expand your target audience.


• The Dream Team workshop was excellent.
• The participants appreciated our openness.
• It is important to follow up and identify key contacts.
• It's very good that the Dream Team as a resource exists.

Key contacts

7 persons listed

10
Road Show Evaluation

3. Survey of Dream Team Supporters


(Carmen Carrasco, Susan Wayne, Jennifer Ramsay)

As someone who played a supportive role to the Dream Team for this process, you are
being asked for your thoughts about the presentation and your experience with the
workshop.

1 Which parts of the Dream Team presentation do you think were useful to the
participants in the local communities?
Role play about racism and other types of discrimination (3)
Opportunity for participants to discuss issues with other people from their
community (3)
Dream Team members stories (3)
Opportunity to discuss issues with Dream Team members (3)

2 What do you think were the positive impacts of the Road Show for the members
of the Dream Team?
x They show that the need for housing is diverse and real
x Confidence and team building

3 Should the Dream Team continue to take this message to other communities?
Yes x 3
x Because their message is powerful and will encourage other people to
understand the need for supportive housing
x The experience in Smiths Falls in particular demonstrated that bringing these
issues into the community provides courage and motivation to local members

4 Are there things that the Dream Team should do differently in the future?
More Dream Team stories
X SAME NUMBER of Dream Team stories
Longer presentation overall
Shorter presentation overall
X More group interaction
Less group interaction
Other
• Probably add a little humour in their stories

5 If the Dream Team were to take this kind of show on the road in the future would
you want to support them in some way?
Yes x 3

11
Road Show Evaluation

6 Do you have any other comments or advice for the Dream Team?

• I admire the group and the dynamics; they promote awareness, very
important for people to understand an issue
• Great work!

12
Road Show Evaluation

4. Survey of Dream Team Members About the “Road Show”

Members of the Dream Team were asked for their thoughts about the Road Show presentation
and their experience with the issues of human rights and rental housing before and after the
Road Show.

1. Were you present for any of the Dream Team presentations (the Road Show) in
the summer of 2008?
• Yes - 7
• No - 1
2. If yes: In which community (or communities) did you participate in the
presentation? (check all that apply)
Smiths Falls 2
Thunder Bay 2
Kitchener/Waterloo 7
Ottawa 2

3. If no: Are you familiar with the presentations which were made in the Road
Show? If no, thank you for your feedback, the survey is complete. If yes, continue
the survey.
No 1

4. If yes: How did the experience affect you? (check all that apply)
Increased my capacity to deliver public education 6
I am more self-confident about public presentations 6
I have a closer working relationship with other Dream Team members 5
I have a deeper understanding of the relationship between land use planning
and human rights 6

5. Which parts of the Dream Team presentation do you think were useful to
participants in local communities? (check all that apply)
not very a little very Changed
useful useful useful perspective
completely
Dream Team members 1 6 1
stories
Role play about racism and 3 4
other types of discrimination
Opportunity to discuss 5 2
issues with Dream Team
members
Opportunity to discuss 7 3 2
issues with other people
from their community

13
Road Show Evaluation

6. Which of the issues presented in the workshop were familiar to you before the
workshop?

no read or heard Personal


awareness about it involvement
Community resistance to 2 4
affordable and supportive housing
Discrimination in municipal 1 3 2
planning process
Ways to respond to discrimination 1 5
against supportive housing

7. How would you describe the impact of the workshop on your level of awareness
of these issues?

no change learned a learned a


little great deal
Community resistance to affordable 3 4
and supportive housing
Discrimination in municipal planning 4 3
process
Ways to respond to discrimination 4 3
against supportive housing

8. How committed would you say you are to supporting the development of
affordable and supportive housing in your community?

Not committed
Strongly committed before the workshop 6
Strongly committed after the workshop 3

9. Since the workshop have you been faced with issues of discrimination related to
supportive or affordable housing in your community?
Yes 3
No 4

10. If you have been faced with issues of discrimination: How did you react or act
when faced with these issues?
Did nothing 1
Attended a meeting 2
Spoke up in support of the development 3
Spoke against the development
Wrote a letter in support of the development 1
Wrote a letter against the development
Other
• 2 speeches noted in national media
• became upset
14
Road Show Evaluation

11. If you have not been faced with issues of discrimination: How would you act or
react when faced with these issues?
Do nothing
Attend a meeting 1
Speak up in support of the development 4
Speak against the development
Write a letter in support of the development 1
Write a letter against the development
Other:
• Try to help organize a campaign
12. Should the Dream Team continue to take this message to other communities?
Yes 7

13. Are there things that the Dream Team should do differently in the future?
(check all that apply)
More Dream Team stories 1
Fewer Dream Team stories 2
Longer presentation overall 2
Shorter presentation overall
More group interaction 5
Less group interaction
Other:
• not sure, I was so impressed with the whole thing
• Depends on who we present to
• We should continue our work because we do a pretty good job at
what we are doing
• More promotion; send out a flyer indicting workshop will provide food,
bus tickets and is open to staff and tenants
• Get back in touch sooner
14. If the Dream Team were to take this kind of show on the road in the future would
you want to participate?
Yes 7

15. If yes, please provide your name:


• Five names provided

15
Appendix F
The Legal Basis of NIMBY
Final Report
November 2007

Prepared for:

Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario

by:
TABLE OF CONTENTS

1.0 Introduction................................................................................................................... 3

2.0 Research Process........................................................................................................... 4

3.0 Findings by Municipality.............................................................................................. 5


3.1 Toronto...................................................................................................................... 5
3.2 Ottawa ....................................................................................................................... 6
3.3 Cambridge................................................................................................................. 8
3.4 Sarnia ........................................................................................................................ 8
3.5 Kitchener................................................................................................................... 9
3.6 Smiths Falls............................................................................................................... 9

4.0 Summary of Findings.................................................................................................. 10


4.1 Provincial Definition............................................................................................... 10
4.2 Definitions............................................................................................................... 11
4.3 Distancing requirements and other locational requirements................................... 12
4.4 Other requirements.................................................................................................. 13
4.5 Approach to permitted use ...................................................................................... 13
4.6 Provincial treatment and precedent......................................................................... 14
4.7 Local perspectives................................................................................................... 15

5.0 Conclusion and Next Steps ......................................................................................... 15

Appendix A:...................................................................................................................... 17

Appendix B:...................................................................................................................... 42
The Legal Basis of NIMBY
November 2007

1.0 INTRODUCTION

The Ontario Human Rights Code enshrines the right of Ontarians to equal treatment with
respect to the occupancy of accommodation. Yet, examples of NIMBYism can be found
across the province, often in opposition to the creation of housing forms that provide
accommodation for those hardest pressed to find it, such as rooming houses, shelters,
group homes and supportive housing. In these cases, the NIMBY sentiment is founded
not in opposition to the actual housing form, but in discrimination against the
characteristics of the people who live there, be it economic status, or mental or physical
state.

Whether supported by local by-laws and policies or by unofficial but accepted practices,
discriminatory NIMBY, when it is accepted into official planning processes, is zoning for
people, not uses. As such it is an affront to the principles laid out in the Ontario Human
Rights Code and Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. People zoning effectively
limits the ability of an already vulnerable population to meet a basic human need: shelter.
The point of departure for this research paper is that people zoning has no place in
Ontario. It must be challenged and brought to an end, both as official policy and as a
result of planning processes abused to discriminatory ends.

The approach of this paper recognizes that there are two dimensions to the issue of
discrimination in housing. The first is discrimination in law: laws and policies at the
municipal level grounded in NIMBY sentiments and that further enable their expression
in public decision-making. The second is discrimination in practice: unofficial
discrimination in planning processes and decisions that range from the blatant to the
subtle.

Acknowledging these two dimensions of the issue, this paper focuses on the first and
aims to examine the legal basis of discriminatory NIMBYism with regards to housing in
Ontario municipalities. It does so, however, with an ultimate goal in mind: ending
discrimination in the occupancy of accommodation, in law and in practice.

The goal of the research supporting this paper was not to do a comprehensive audit of by-
laws and policies across Ontario. Rather, the purpose was to highlight the worst cases of
NIMBY discrimination in law at the municipal level. After a preliminary analysis of the
treatment of housing forms often the subject of negative public attention, the focus of
research was directed toward group homes. The treatment of group homes emerged as
the most transparent example of zoning for people, in a disturbingly uniform way in
municipalities across the province. Group homes are defined by the characteristics of
their residents and are subject to a number of provisions including caps on residents,
limits on types of dwellings, distancing requirements, and other policies that narrow the
range of opportunities for group home providers and their residents. This paper examines
six Ontario municipalities to determine how NIMBY discrimination is supported in law.
The Legal Basis of NIMBY
November 2007

2.0 RESEARCH PROCESS

Research proceeded in to two phases. The purpose of the first phase was to conduct a
preliminary scan of by-laws and policies at the municipal level to determine the kind of
discriminatory provisions that existed, the areas most fruitful to research in greater detail,
and which municipalities should be selected as case studies.

Guiding the direction of the initial stage of research was ample anecdotal evidence that
certain forms of housing are often the target of NIMBY discrimination. These include
rooming houses, supportive housing, affordable housing, shelters, group homes and
residential care facilities. After examining zoning by-laws, it became apparent that
Ontario municipalities, for the most part, share a common approach to the treatment of
these uses. Zoning by-laws share a structure which includes definitions of uses, general
provisions affecting those uses and the uses permitted in any given zone. Affordable and
supportive housing are often not even defined in zoning by-laws and therefore it is
difficult to support a case that there is discrimination in law since they do not appear
directly in the by-law. Rooming houses are often defined as a use and are limited in the
zones in which they are a permitted use. However, the clearest case of discrimination
was the treatment of shelters, group homes and residential care facilities in the zoning by-
laws. They are defined as uses, general provisions lay out requirements and restrictions
governing their location, and they are a permitted use in a limited number of zones. This
is especially true of group homes. In housing form they are largely indistinguishable
from widely permitted residential uses such as single detached dwellings, yet they are in
part defined by the characteristics of their residents and the supports they require.

At the end of the first phase of research, it was decided to concentrate further research on
group homes. The desire was to produce a strong focused case against people zoning,
that challenged the most blatant discrimination first to establish a precedent and signal an
end to the use of planning powers in this manner. Group homes provided this focus
because by definition they serve the needs of groups, such as those with mental and
physical disabilities, explicitly protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code.1

The second phase of research provided a deeper examination of the by-laws and policies
of six Ontario municipalities. Based on the finding of the first phase, Toronto, Ottawa,
Kitchener, Cambridge, Sarnia and Smiths Falls were selected. An in-depth examination
of the selected municipalities focused on planning documents such as Official Plans and
zoning by-laws. Conversations with staff at local legal clinics and housing providers
were intended to uncover any other discriminatory municipal policies and understand the
degree to which discriminatory laws and policies presented challenges in practice.

1
Section 2. (1) of the Ontario Human Rights Code states:
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, age, marital status, family status, disability or the
receipt of public assistance.

4
The Legal Basis of NIMBY
November 2007

3.0 FINDINGS BY MUNICIPALITY

A description of discriminatory by-laws and policies discovered in the six case


municipalities is included below by municipality. Full excerpts of provisions in zoning
by-laws and municipal policies are included in the Appendix. A following section
provides a summary of findings which outlines trends across the municipalities studied.

3.1 TORONTO

The City of Toronto is currently in the process of consolidating the by-laws of the pre-
amalgamation cities through its Zoning By-law Project. In the interim, the old by-laws of
the pre-amalgamation cities are still in force.

3.1.1 City of Toronto Zoning By-law Project


The Zoning By-law Project has established considerations and proposed definitions for
both Group Homes and Residential Care Facilities. The proposed definition of group
home is

supervised living accommodation:


(i) licensed or funded under Province of Ontario or Government of Canada
legislation,
(ii) for persons requiring a group living arrangement by reason of their
emotional, mental, social or physical condition or legal status, and
(iii) is for three to ten persons, exclusive of staff, living together as a single
housekeeping unit.

Residential Care Facilities are defined in a similar way but are intended to house more
than ten people and are not considered a single housekeeping unit.

As yet, no general provisions have been detailed for these uses. However, one of the
considerations states that group homes are defined so that specific zoning rules might be
made to determine where they are permitted. As the Zoning By-law Project proceeds,
any requirements will be the subject of a public consultation process.

3.1.2 Pre-amalgamation by-laws


The by-laws of the pre-amalgamation cities define uses differently and set out the rules
governing them in diverse ways.

In some cases referred to as group homes, in others residential care facilities, all pre-
amalgamation municipalities defined a use for supportive group living arrangements.
The common components of this definition include either a regulatory or funding
relationship with other levels of government, residents defined by their characteristics (as
above, by reason of their emotional, mental, social or physical condition or legal status),

5
The Legal Basis of NIMBY
November 2007

and supervision in a single housekeeping unit. In some cases, residential care facilities
are distinguished from group homes by being defined as forms of housing for more than
ten people, while generally group homes are defined to house three to ten residents.

Minimum separation distances between group homes are established in all of the by-laws
although they vary in exact distance required (245 metres in the Former City of Toronto,
460 metres in Etobicoke, 457 metres in East York, 300 metres in North York, 800 metres
in York). The City of Toronto demands that residential care facilities (in this case,
defined to accommodate 6-10 people) distance themselves not only from other residential
care facilities but also from crisis care facilities. Rather vaguely, North York requires
that there may not be two group homes in the same “neighbourhood.” Most
municipalities require that the group home be housed in a fully detached building. East
York sets out a standard of minimum floor space per resident. Etobicoke does this as
well as setting a minimum lot area.

A scan of other provisions in the former City of Toronto by-law, found that although
there are parking requirements for alternative housing, these would not seem to present a
barrier to group home provision

3.1.3 Other policies and practices


A policy scan was completed to evaluate the presence of discrimination in other current
City of Toronto policies. None was found. A Community Engagement Protocol recently
developed by the City’s Affordable Housing Office does not present any extra obligations
on developers of supportive or affordable housing.

Conversations with those familiar with the development of alternative forms of housing
in Toronto indicated that although there are no more official requirements to have public
meetings for group homes and supportive housing than for any other kind of
development, often local councilors put pressure on providers to have public meetings
and undergo much greater scrutiny than would normally be required. Housing providers
often submit to these pressures as they are vulnerable from a financial perspective
because these same municipal politicians can affect funding decisions.

3.2 OTTAWA

The City of Ottawa is also currently undergoing a process to harmonize the pre-
amalgamation by-laws of the 36 municipalities (both rural and urban) incorporated into
the City of Ottawa. The City’s Comprehensive Zoning By-Law Project produced a Draft
Zoning By-law which was released for public review in May 2006. Based on comments
from the public, a revised version was prepared for May 2007. It is expected the by-law
will be enacted in early 2008.

During the public process there has been some debate over the substance of definitions
and provisions, including those for group homes. At public consultations, representatives
of group home providers made presentations protesting distancing requirements for group

6
The Legal Basis of NIMBY
November 2007

homes as a violation of the basic human rights and therefore a violation of the Canadian
Charter of Rights and Freedoms. A summary of these comments, along with the
discussion they stimulated at the consultation and the staff recommendation, are available
at the City of Ottawa web site (see Appendix for full excerpts). Staff defended the City’s
practice of imposing distancing requirements by stating that the Province had accepted
municipalities’ rights to impose separation requirements for group homes because the use
is otherwise permitted in all residential zones. They also made reference to a number of
Ontario Municipal Board cases in the 1980s that upheld distancing requirements as “a
reasonable planning tool to limit overall density” and “prevent “ghettoization” of the
use.” Based on these justifications, the staff made a recommendation that no change be
made to the draft zoning by-law regarding eliminating distancing requirements.
However, separation distance requirements were revised to simplify and standardize
regulation.

Excerpts from the edited Draft Comprehensive Zoning By-law are included in the
Appendix. Group Homes are distinguished from Residential Care Facilities. A group
home is defined as

a supervised residential use building in which three to ten persons,


exclusive of staff, live as a group in a single household living
arrangement, and where the residents require support or supervision on a
daily basis.

Residential care facilities also provide supervised or supportive care for those who need
assistance with daily living, but with no limit on number of residents.

Group homes are also mentioned in the City of Ottawa’s Official Plan, which states that
group homes are permitted wherever residential uses are generally permitted, but allows
“area-specific provisions to regulate the type, size and location of this use.” In the Draft
Zoning By-law these provisions include a distancing requirement of 300 metres between
group homes in Residential and Village Mixed-Use zones. In Rural Countryside and
Agricultural Zones the distancing requirement ranges from 500 to 1000 metres. A
proviso has been added that the minimum separation distance does not need to extend
past waterways, highways and other major barriers to pedestrian or vehicular movement.
In a section regarding conversions, the by-law states that if a building is being converted
into a group home, the use must occupy the entire structure.

Residential Care Facilities are a permitted use in only one Residential zone and in almost
all Institutional and Mixed Use zones. In the Residential zone, there is a 30-person
maximum; in the other zones, no maximum is set.

Overall, the City of Ottawa’s approach to group homes and residential care facilities falls
into the same pattern as the other municipalities examined. Group homes are allowed in
most zones with residential uses, but with distancing restrictions and a cap on number of
residents. Residential Care Facilities are much more restricted in their location and are
generally kept out of residential zones. Interestingly and in contrast to other

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The Legal Basis of NIMBY
November 2007

municipalities, the definitions of group home and residential care facilities do not refer to
the characteristics of the residents (the part of the definition that appears in most other
by-laws: “by reason of their emotional, mental, social or physical condition or legal
status”). Rather they define the use by the kind of supports and supervision that the
residents require. In this manner, the discriminatory nature of the restriction on the use
appears less blatant.

3.3 CAMBRIDGE

Generally, the City of Cambridge Zoning By-Law defines group homes as residential
accommodation for people with special needs. It further defines four classes of group
homes. Class 1 Group Homes are for the physically and mentally handicapped or a
satellite residence for the aged. Class 2 group homes are for foster care of children under
16. Class 3 group homes are for provincial psychiatric patients, ex-offenders and any
other needs not otherwise listed. Class 4 group homes serve the same purposes as the
other classes but have more than ten residents.

In addition to definitions for group homes, amendments to the Zoning By-law made in
October 2006, define two further uses that include group homes. Special Care Facilities
include a group home, a family crisis shelter, and a crisis intervention home. A
Residential Special Care Facility means a dwelling unit or part thereof occupied by three
to ten persons (exclusive of staff) with special needs and includes class 1 group home, a
family crisis shelter, a crisis intervention home, but does not include foster care homes or
other classes of group homes.

Residential Special Care Facilities, including only class 1 group homes, are a permitted
use in all residential zones. They are limited to 8 residents and have set minimum
frontages and lot areas. There is a distancing requirement of 200 metres between all
residential special care facilities. As for the other classes of group homes, it does not
appear that Class 2 and Class 3 group homes are a permitted use as-of-right in any zone.
Class 4 group homes are a permitted use in only one zone, an institutional one.

Group homes and sub-types of group homes are defined by the characteristics of their
residents. Obviously some kinds or residents are considered more benign than others as
the level of restrictions vary depending on class. Worthy of emphasis, the by-law puts
group homes for ex-patients of psychiatric hospitals in the same category of group home
as those for ex-offenders.

3.4 SARNIA

Sarnia also shares much in common with the approaches toward group homes in other
municipalities. The definition of group home and residential care facility is similar.
There are distancing requirements for group homes, 200 metres in a Residential Zone and
4 kilometres in a Rural Zone. Group homes are capped at 10 residents.

8
The Legal Basis of NIMBY
November 2007

However, Sarnia differs from the other municipalities in the manner in which it adds
further locational requirements. Group homes are not a permitted use in all zones
otherwise permitting residential uses. Notable exceptions include Suburban Residential
(SR1) and Rural Residential (RR1). In the zones where they are permitted, a provision
requires that any group home with more than 5 residents be located on an arterial or
collector road. Exceptions in location and group home size may be allowed through site-
specific regulations. Residential care facilities are defined rather broadly, but not
mentioned as a permitted use in any zones.

A further interesting case uncovered during the research was the existence of restrictive
covenants in place in private developments. One development is covered by a restrictive
covenant that limits residency to single families, a paradigm in planning struck down in
Bell v. R. Even though this restrictive covenant is a relic of a previous era, it prevented
one group home provider interviewed from pursuing the development of a project due to
possible legal complications which would increase project costs.

3.5 KITCHENER

The definition of group home as it appears in Zoning By-law 85-1 is much in keeping
with the by-laws of most other municipalities. Group homes are defined by the
characteristics of their residents, licensing or funding relationships as defined by
provincial or federal statute and as being a single housekeeping unit. Group homes are
limited to 3 to 10 residents. Residential Care Facility is also a defined use, with no upper
limit on residents, that includes group homes, crisis care facilities, residences for socially
disadvantaged people and nursing homes. Again residents are defined by their
characteristics and the use defined by a level of care in a supervised group setting.

There is a distancing requirement of 400 metres between group homes. A further


provision stipulates that they may not be a group home within 100 metres of the
municipal limit of the City of Kitchener. Group homes are not a permitted use, but
Residential Care Facilities are, often with restrictions on number of residents. They are a
permitted use in most zones that otherwise permit residential uses. However, in many
zones they are capped at 8 residents. Residential Care Facilities are not permitted in the
Residential One Zone, the Agricultural Zone or the Market Village Zone.

3.6 SMITHS FALLS

Smiths Falls far exceeds other jurisdictions studied in terms of discriminatory provisions.
Restrictions on group homes are laid out in both the Official Plan and zoning by-law. In
some ways their approach is standard: residents of group homes are defined by their
characteristics, group homes are licensed under Provincial Statute, the number of
residents is limited from 3 to 10, the home is considered a single housekeeping unit, the
residents are perceived to benefit from a group living arrangement under “responsible

9
The Legal Basis of NIMBY
November 2007

supervision”, and there is a 300-metre distancing requirement between group homes.


These are not unlike provisions discovered in other municipalities.

However, several provisions are exceptional in the challenges they present to group home
providers. The first and most blatant is a cap of 36 residents with mentally handicaps
living in all group homes combined in the municipality as a whole. The second is that
although group homes are a permitted use in residential and core zones, any new group
home operation must be treated as a New Land Use Development. The definition of a
New Land Use Development is a development that would introduce a land use, “different
from those uses described in the Official Plan in terms of scale, purpose or nature, and
neither envisioned nor contemplated [before] by Council.” As such, the Plan requires
such developments to undergo strict site plan controls and be subject to impact studies
and any other studies required by Council. The purpose of the provision is to shift the
onus to the developer to prove that development would not have a negative impact and
would not require additional municipal or community services. In particular for group
homes, special attention would need to be paid to ensure that the site design is “in
keeping with the character of the surrounding area and that sufficient space is available to
accommodate the needs of the residents.” Further, the Town would encourage the
developer to consult with the public to familiarize them with the project and its likely
impact. Due to this provision, in effect, no new group home development is considered
as-of-right. The project approval would seem to be subject to the whims of Council in an
arbitrary way.

These barriers to group home creation were confirmed in conversations with local
providers. Providers stated that the financial viability of their projects is often very slim.
They simply do not have the resources to pursue a project unless the Town is interested in
seeing it move forward.

4.0 SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

As can be seen by the descriptions of approaches to group homes and residential care
facilities detailed above, for the most part Ontario municipalities share a common
approach to these uses. Definitions are similar and distancing requirements are standard.
Individual municipalities have additional provisions that range from the benign to
extreme. Overall trends are detailed below.

4.1 PROVINCIAL DEFINITION

In many ways, the approach taken by municipalities to group homes has been shaped by
the Province. Several pieces of Provincial legislation lay out the groundwork for the
treatment of group homes. The Developmental Services Act (R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 272)
lays out the rules governing group homes serving people with developmental disabilities.
The Municipal Act (S.O. 2001, c.25, Consolidated) gives municipalities the powers to

10
The Legal Basis of NIMBY
November 2007

register and license group homes and includes the power of inspection. For the purposes
of the Municipal Act, group homes are defined as:

a residence licensed or funded under a federal or provincial statute for the


accommodation of three to ten persons, exclusive of staff, living under
supervision in a single housekeeping unit and who, by reason of their
emotional, mental, social or physical condition or legal status, require a
group living arrangement for their well being. 2001, c. 25, s. 166 (1).

The Municipal Act also states that group homes may be licensed and regulated under its
authority only if the municipality passes a by-law under section 34 of the Planning Act
that permits the establishment and use of group homes in the municipality.

4.2 DEFINITIONS

The municipalities studied have drawn heavily from the Municipal Act definition in
defining group homes in their by-laws and policies. Commonly the following elements
are included:

ƒThe characteristics of the residents (“their emotional, mental, social or physical


condition or legal status”)
ƒThe nature of the relationship of residents and staff (“supervision in a single
housekeeping unit”)
ƒThe number of residents (usually 3 to 10)
ƒThe nature of the licensing and regulatory relationship (“under a federal or provincial
statute”)

Some exceptions exist amongst the municipalities studied. The definition in the draft
Ottawa zoning by-law makes no reference to the characteristics of group home residents
except that they require “support or supervision on a daily basis.” Cambridge give a
general definition of group home, but then further defines four classes of group homes
that describe the characteristics of residents.

The question that emerges is whether defining a use by the characteristics of its residents
is discriminatory in and of itself. Group homes occupy housing forms such as single
detached dwellings that are widely permitted. However, they are deemed to require
special treatment in zoning by-laws due to the characteristics of their residents and the
nature of the group living situation, one which includes some level of supervision.

It is clear by comparing the municipal definitions of group home to the Municipal Act
definition that treating group homes as a distinct use has its roots in Provincial
legislation. The purpose of this and other legislation concerning group homes is to set a
standard for the quality of care and living conditions in group homes in Ontario through
licensing and regulation. The definition serves some positive purpose and makes the
connection between the characteristics of residents and the benefits of a group living

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The Legal Basis of NIMBY
November 2007

arrangement supported by staff. But, through its definition, the creation of negative
restrictions based on NIMBY sentiments becomes a possibility.

4.3 DISTANCING REQUIREMENTS AND OTHER LOCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS

The definition of group homes, in and of itself, might not be considered discriminatory.
However, once defined, to place restrictions on that use that are in many ways
exceptional in the context of the zoning by-law cannot be considered otherwise.
Distancing requirements are the most blatant of those restrictions. All municipalities
examined had distancing requirements, although they varied in distance and how they
should be calculated.

The discussion during the consultations on the City of Ottawa’s Draft Zoning By-law
illustrates the point clearly. In response to protests over distancing requirements for
group homes, the justification was that Ontario Municipal Board decisions had upheld
distancing requirements as a means to avoid the “ghettoization of the use.” But if the use
is defined by the characteristics of the people who live there and the support they require,
in housing forms that are otherwise identical to others in the zone, distancing
requirements can only be viewed as zoning for people. These requirements would seem
to draw on the very essence of NIMBY sentiments, not wanting too many of “those kind
of people” in the neighbourhood.

“Those kind of people” can be defined quite broadly, making distancing requirements
even more nonsensical. Should people with mental disabilities not live too closely to
people with physical disabilities? Should foster children not be allowed in the same
neighbourhood as ex-patients of psychiatric hospitals? In the former City of Toronto
group homes must also be distanced from crisis care facilities and residential care
facilities.

In discussions with local group home providers, distancing requirements emerged again
and again as a major impediment. These requirements are seen as an arbitrary rule that
prevents group home providers and residents from making there own decisions about
what location might suit their needs best.

Other requirements setting out rules on the location of group homes are less frequent.
Sarnia’s by-law states that group homes with more than five residents must be located on
arterial or collector streets. Other uses such as shelters and rooming houses often face
similar restrictions. In these cases the “ghettoization” defence does not apply. The
purpose of these provisions can only be to keep these uses, and more importantly the
kinds of residents that inhabit them, at the periphery of residential neighbourhoods.

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The Legal Basis of NIMBY
November 2007

4.4 OTHER REQUIREMENTS

Municipalities have other requirements for group homes. Most require that the use be
housed in a single detached dwelling or both parts of a semi-detached dwelling. Some
by-laws set out the minimum lot sizes and requirements for front and side setbacks.
These provisions would seem to be about ensuring there is some form of distance
between group homes and other uses. Others requirements, such as the minimum floor
space per resident would seem aimed at avoiding overcrowding. Although they are
requirements particular to group homes, most do not present major barriers to the creation
of new group homes.

However, there are more egregious examples of discriminatory requirements discovered


over the course of this research. One of the more blatantly discriminatory provisions is
found in the Official Plan and zoning by-law of Smiths Falls. The Official Plan states in
section 4.7.2.4:

Notwithstanding the generality of subsection 4.7.2.2, group homes for the


mentally handicapped shall be restricted to a total of 36 residents. Once this
number has been reached, no further such group homes shall be permitted
until Council has completed an assessment of the impacts of such homes on
the Town, particularly on the provision of municipal services, and has
amended this Plan to permit further such group homes to be located within
the Town.

This by-law places a cap on the number of mentally handicapped people living in group
homes solely on the basis of their disability. Here, there is no room for misinterpretation.
The Official Plan and zoning by-law of Smiths Falls have entrenched NIMBY-based
discrimination in law and policy.

Group homes provide supportive living arrangements for their residents in a manner
which facilitates integration into the community. All the discriminatory provisions
outlined above have the effect of generally limiting the availability of group home spaces.
This provision takes a step beyond by adding a level of specificity that clearly establishes
a cut off point for the number of mentally handicapped people permitted to live in group
homes. It is obviously discriminatory in principle. In practice, it could prohibit people
who require a form of supportive housing from living in the community of their choice.

4.5 APPROACH TO PERMITTED USE

Distancing and other requirements are a transparent form of discrimination. Generally,


group homes are allowed as-of-right in a wide number of zones if they meet the
provisions clearly stated in the by-law. Subtler forms of discrimination have the potential
for a much larger exclusionary impact. These have the effect of shifting the source of
discrimination from the by-law, where discriminatory provisions can be clearly seen, to a
vagueness in the law which allows for greater discrimination in practice. An example of

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this kind of discrimination would be to define a use in the by-law, but not list it as a
permitted use in any zone. In this manner, the use would not be as-of-right anywhere and
therefore subject to negotiations with the municipality and consultation with the public on
a case by case basis. Without clearly established rules about where and how a use is to
be allowed, a greater place is created for NIMBY sentiments to be expressed and have an
impact on the process.

In the case of group homes, an example can be found in Sarnia, where class 2 and class 3
group homes are defined but not listed as a permitted use. Other uses such as shelters and
residential care facilities are often treated in this manner, making it more difficult to
establish a case that there is discrimination in law against the residents of this form of
housing.

Not allowing the development of these uses as-of-right adds an incredible amount of
uncertainty to any project. Group home providers, as well as the developers of other
kinds of housing for vulnerable populations, often work on very thin budgets.
Uncertainty makes the development of these kinds of housing less likely, as delays and
resources spent lobbying the municipality and the public increase the costs of the project
with no guarantee that it will move forward.

The by-laws and policies in Smiths Falls are unique in that they have it both ways. Their
Official Plan and zoning by-law define group homes and permit them as a use in most
zones with general provisions that require minimum separation distances. However a
provision in the Official Plan states that any new group home must be considered a New
Land Use Development and is therefore not considered as-of-right. In this manner the
group home provider is at the mercy of Council to demand any other requirements it sees
fit. As mentioned in the Smith Falls section above, group home providers are reluctant to
develop new group homes unless Council is strongly in their favour. Group home
developers are also encouraged to hold public consultations and therefore provide a
venue for NIMBY-driven opposition.2

4.6 PROVINCIAL TREATMENT AND PRECEDENT

The origin of municipal treatment of group homes was not found in Provincial
legislation, which makes no reference to distancing requirements or other provisions
specifically for group homes. Comments made by City planners during the public
consultation on the City of Ottawa’s Comprehensive Zoning by-law suggest that the
Province has accepted the right of municipalities to enforce distancing requirements as a
means to prevent the “ghettoization” of the use if group homes are otherwise permitted in
all residential zones. These planners also pointed to several Ontario Municipal Board
cases in the 1980s that upheld distancing requirements for group homes.

2
Although not one of the municipalities selected for further research, Mississippi Mills has a public
meeting requirement for new group homes.

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The Legal Basis of NIMBY
November 2007

No directly relevant jurisprudence was found in Ontario concerning group homes,


although Mueller v. Tiny and Bell v. R. also address issues of people zoning. However, a
decision in Manitoba has direct relevance.

In The Alcoholism Foundation of Manitoba v. Winnipeg (City), the Manitoba Court of


Appeal found that a zoning by-law in the City of Winnipeg restricting the location of
group homes for the aged, disabled, persons recovering from addictions and discharged
penal inmates was a breach of s.15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The
by-law in question restricted group homes with certain types of residents to a limited
number of zones. Minimum separation distances between group homes were also
required. The inclusion of group home as a conditional use meant that group home
providers had to convince a Community Council that the use would “not be injurious to
the use and enjoyment of other property in the immediate vicinity" and "not impede the
normal and orderly development and improvement of surrounding property.” The ruling
stated that people living in group homes constituted a disadvantaged group under s.15 of
the Charter and struck down the provisions in the zoning by-law. The case established
that the Province cannot give municipalities the power to limit uses based on the types of
tenants who will occupy them. Leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada was
denied.3

4.7 LOCAL PERSPECTIVES

Interviews with group home providers indicated that they are in a weak position to
challenge the discrimination they and their clients face both in law and in practice.
Organizations involved in the creation of new group homes often have limited financial
resources. If the development is not as-of-right and it seems that they will not be given
the variances they require to go ahead with the project, the group has recourse to the
Ontario Municipal Board. However, any chance of a protracted and costly legal battle
can quickly render a project financially infeasible.

As well, many group home providers are resistant to aggressively confronting the
discriminatory policies of municipalities. Group home providers are often dependent on
the good will of municipalities for financial support and gaining approvals for new
projects. They therefore tolerate the discriminatory policies and unfair demands of
municipalities, especially municipal politicians, so that they might continue to serve their
clientele.

5.0 CONCLUSION AND NEXT STEPS

The treatment of group homes is only the most transparent example of discriminatory
NIMBY sentiment given expression in zoning by-laws and municipal policies. Group

3
http://www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/muns/plan/plandev/news.asp?cmd=view&articleid=26, accessed on
November 6, 2007.

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The Legal Basis of NIMBY
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homes are defined by the characteristics of their residents and kind of living environment
they provide. They are allowed in most municipalities as-of-right, but only if certain
conditions are met. These conditions, such as distancing requirements, are clearly
detailed in zoning by-laws and municipal policies. Combine the definition of group
home with the requirements demanded of this use and the discriminatory intent becomes
clear: these provisions are zoning for people. Some municipalities, such as Smiths Falls,
go further in making this connection even more unequivocal.

The driving force behind the treatment of group homes is at best, paternalism (the
“ghettoization” justification offered by Ottawa planners), and at worst, raw
discriminatory NIMBYism. Either way people zoning has no place in Ontario
communities. It limits the range of choices available to group home providers and
therefore to the people who might choose to live in this kind of accommodation, a
violation of their basic human right to shelter and to equality.

Because the discrimination in law is so blatant against group homes, the case can be
readily documented. The same cannot be said of other forms of housing, such as
affordable housing, supportive housing, residential care facilities and shelters, where
there is a less easily documented relationship between discrimination in law and
discrimination in practice.

In these cases, discriminatory provisions are not so explicitly outlined. Often, these uses
are not defined by the characteristics of their residents, although it is well established in
practice that they come from vulnerable groups that are protected in human rights
legislation. Uses such as residential care facilities and shelters are defined but permitted
as-of-right in a very limited number of zones. Certain classes of group home face similar
treatment. In order for these uses to be “zoned in”, the onus shifts to the housing
providers to prove their case, often a difficult one to make in a process that gives full
expression to local NIMBY sentiments. Affordable and supportive housing are often not
mentioned in zoning by-laws at all, given they are indistinguishable in form from other
housing types. However, in practice, they face the same financial and political pressures
as group home providers to submit themselves to a costly and prolonged process that will
put them in a defensive position against NIMBY-based opposition. Rather than direct
discrimination in law, housing providers must deal with processes that leave them
vulnerable to discrimination in practice.

This paper aims to document a representative sample of the by-laws and policies at the
municipal level that provide the legal basis for discriminatory NIMBY. Eliminating
discrimination in law is an important first step. Equally important is understanding how
the legal framework facilitates discrimination in practice even in the absence of explicit
discriminatory provisions. Documenting the relationship between the legal framework
and discrimination in practice requires a different kind of research. Case studies provide
the most promising approach and would detail in a more subtle way the impact of
NIMBYism and people zoning in law and in practice.

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APPENDIX A:

By Municipality - Excerpts from by-laws and policies

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City of Cambridge – Discriminatory Zoning

Summary
ƒFour different classes of Group Home, defined by their residents
ƒClass 1 Group Homes (physically and/or mentally handicapped) are a permitted use
in a residential zones, with distancing requirements
ƒClass 4 Group Homes (those over ten residents) are permitted only in one zone –
Institutional N3
ƒUnclear where Class 2 and 3 group homes are permitted
ƒPuts ex-patients of psychiatric hospitals in the same category of group home as those
for ex-offenders
ƒAmendments to zoning by-law create new definitions for special care facilities and
residential special care facilities, into which the different classes of group homes are
categorized. These definitions further limit class 1 group homes to 8 residents and
minimum separation distances, lot area and frontage

City of Cambridge Zoning By-Law – No. 150-81 (Consolidated


December 2006)
http://www.city.cambridge.on.ca/article.php?ssid=21
accessed on May 8, 2007

1. Interpretation and Administration

1.1.1 Definitions

group home means residential special care accommodation for up to ten people (exclusive of
staff ) with special needs

group home, class 1 means:


1. accommodation services for the physically and/or mentally handicapped;
2. a satellite residence to accommodate aging individuals who are no longer able to be
cared for at home without supervision or assistance;

group home, class 2 means a children’s residence to accommodate children usually under the
age of 16 who, because of their special needs, cannot live with their parents or other relatives but
would benefit form an alternative living arrangement;

group home, class 3 means:


1. a home for patients of provincial physciatric [sic] hospitals who can benefit from a
household-oriented living arrangement in the community;
2. a community resource centre for criminally sentenced individuals who can benefit more
from rehabilitation in a community residential program than in a correctional institution;
3. a halfway house for ex-offenders (people on probation or parole from a provincial
correctional institution or Federal penitentiary); and
4. a group home for other special purpose needs not described in class 1, class 2 and class
3 group home in this by-law, such as victims of accidents who require long term
rehabilitation;

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group home, class 4 means an institution used for any of the same purposes as a class 1, class 2
or class 3 group home but providing accommodation for more than ten residents exclusive of
supervisory staff or the receiving family;

1.1.2 Classification of Zones

1. Use Classes, Zone Classes and Zone Symbols


Primary (but not necessarily only) Purpose for Which the Zone is Established:
N3 – class 4 group homes and unlicensed domiciliary hostels

[In 3.2.1 Regulations Applicable in N-Class Zones, 1. Permitted Uses, group homes class 4 are a
permitted use in N3 Zone - Institutional)

3. Zoning Regulations

3.1 Residential Use Class Zones


3.1.1 Regulations Applicable in All Residential Zones

3. Group Homes

Any dwelling unit in a residential use class zone may be used for the purposes of a class 1 group
home if such dwelling unit is not located within 200 m of an existing class 1, class 2, class 3 or
class 4 group home.

City of Cambridge By-Law – No. 232-06


(amendments to the City of Cambridge Zoning By-law 150-85)
Section 1.1.1 New definitions
special care facility means a building or part thereof occupied by three or more persons
(exclusive of staff) with special needs and shall include, but not be limited to, a group home, a
family crisis shelter, a crisis intervention home, but does not include a day care, a domiciliary
hostel, a nursing home, a boarding lodging or rooming house or a foster care home.

special care facility, residential means a dwelling unit or part thereof occupied by three to ten
persons (exclusive of staff) with special needs. A residential special care facility shall include, but
not be limited to, a class 1 group home, a family crisis shelter, a crisis intervention home, but
does not include a day care, a domiciliary hostel, a nursing home, a boarding lodging or rooming
house or a foster care home, a class 2 or a class 3 group home.

Replace 3.1.1.3 with


Residential Special Care Facility
A residential special care facility shall be provided, in a detached one family dwelling, a semi-
detached one family dwelling or a detached duplex dwelling only in accordance with the following
regulations:
a) A residential special care facility shall have a maximum of 8 residents, exclusive of staff.
b) A minimum frontage of 12m and a minimum lot area of 360 square metres.

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c) The minimum separation distance between all residential special car facilities shall be
200m.
d) All residential care facilities shall be approved and licensed where required by the
Province (or other appropriate approval authorities) and shall be registered with the
registrar of group homes designated by Council, and such registration shall be renewed
annually.
e) All residential special care facilities shall provide parking in accordance with section 2.2.1
of this by-law

Section 3.1.2.1 – Regulations Applicable in Residential Use Zones –


Permitted Uses
A residential special care facility is a permitted use in all residential zones as indicated in a table
in Section 3.1.2.1.

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City of Kitchener – Discriminatory Zoning


Zoning By Law 85-1
http://www.kitchener.ca/zonebylaw/zonemain.aspx
accessed on February 7, 2007

Summary
ƒBoth Group Home and Residential Care Facility are defined in the by-law.
ƒThe definition of Residential Care Facility includes Group Homes, Crisis Care
Facilities and Residence of Socially Disadvantaged Persons.
ƒGroup Homes are not included in permitted use, but Residential Care Facilities are,
often with maximum or minimum number of residents.
ƒResidential Care Facilities are not allowed in all zones that otherwise include some
form of residential use.
ƒDistancing requirements for all group homes.

Section 4 – Definitions

4.2.110.1 "Group Home" means a residence licensed or funded under a federal or provincial
statute for the accommodation of three to ten persons, exclusive of staff, living under supervision
in a single housekeeping unit and who, by reason of their emotional, mental, social or physical
condition or legal status, require a group living arrangement for their well being.(By-law 2005-106,
S.2) (Housekeeping Amendment)

4.2.198 "Residential Care Facility" means a dwelling or part thereof occupied by three (3) or
more persons, exclusive of staff, who by reason of their emotional, mental, physical or social
condition or legal status, are cared for on a temporary or permanent basis in a supervised group
setting. This shall include, for example, a group home, crisis care facility, residence for socially
disadvantaged persons or nursing home, but shall not include a lodging house, foster care home
or hospital.(By-law 2003-163, S.12)

Section 5 – General Provisions

5.17 Location of Group Homes


Notwithstanding anything else in this By-law, only one group home shall be permitted on
a lot. No building or part thereof shall be used for a group home on a lot that is situated
within 400 metres of another lot on which a group home is located, such minimum
distance to be measured from the closest point of the lot lines associated with each lot.
No building or part thereof shall be used for a group home on a lot that is situated within
100 metres of the municipal limit of the City of Kitchener, such minimum distance to be
measured from the closest point of the lot line associated with such lot and the municipal
limit.(By-law 92-58, S.4)

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Sections 14 to 47 – Zones

Residential care facilities are a permitted use in the following zones:

ƒ Retail Core Zone (D-1) – (Section 14.1)


ƒ Office District Zone (D-4) – (Section 16.1)(16.2 Minimum size – 9 residents)
ƒ Commercial Residential Zone (D-5) – (Section 16A.1)
ƒ Neighbourhood Institutional Zone (I-1) – (Section 31.1)(31.2.3 Maximum size – 8 residents)
ƒ Community Institutional Zone (I-2) – (Section 32.1)(32.2.4 Maximum size – 8 residents)
ƒ Major Institutional Zone (I-3) – (Section 33.1)
ƒ Residential Two Zone (R-2) – (Section 36.1)(36.2.1 Maximum size – 8 residents)
ƒ Residential Three Zone (R-3) – (Section 37.1)(37.2.1 Maximum size – 8 residents)
ƒ Residential Four Zone (R-4) – (Section 38.1)(38.2.4 Maximum size – 8 residents)
ƒ Residential Five Zone (R-5) – (Section 39.1)(39.2.6 Maximum size – 8 residents)
ƒ Residential Six Zone (R-6) – (Section 40.1)(40.2.8 Maximum size – 8 residents)
ƒ Residential Seven Zone (R-7) – (Section 41.1)
ƒ Residential Eight Zone (R-8) – (Section 42.1)
ƒ Residential Nine Zone (R-9) – (Section 43.1)
ƒ Commercial Residential One Zone (CR-1) – (Section 44.1)
ƒ Commercial Residential Two Zone (CR-2) – (Section 45.1)
ƒ Commercial Residential One Zone (CR-3) – (Section 46.1)*
ƒ Commercial Residential One Zone (CR-1) – (Section 47.1)**

*(46.3 – Location of a Residential Care Facility having less than nine residents Only within a
multiple dwelling)(46.3 – Lodging House having less than 9 residents Only within a building
existing on the date that the CR-3 Zone was applied to the land)
**(47.2.3 – Residential Care Facility having less than 9 residents Only within a multiple dwelling)

Residential care facilities are not a permitted use in the following zones (where dwelling
units or other types or residential use otherwise are):

ƒ Convenience Commercial Zone (C-1) – (Section 7)


ƒ Community Commercial Core Zone (C-4) – (Section 10)
ƒ Regional Shopping Centre Zone (C-5)
ƒ Market Village Zone (D-3) – (Section 15)
ƒ Industrial Residential Zone (M-1) – (Section 19)
ƒ General Industrial Zone (M-2) – (Section 20)
ƒ Service Industrial Zone (M-3) – (Section 21)
ƒ Heavy Industrial Zone (M-4) – (Section 22)
ƒ Business Park Zone (B-1) – (Section 23)
ƒ Commercial Business Park Zone (B-4) – (Section 26)
ƒ Agricultural Zone (A-1) – (Section 34)
ƒ Residential One Zone (R-1) – (Section 35)

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City of Ottawa – Discriminatory Zoning

Summary
ƒOfficial plan policies ensure that group homes and other forms of affordable
housing are allowed in all zones where residential uses are generally permitted,
although provisions regulating type, size and location of group home are allowed
ƒDistancing requirements exist for group homes.
ƒResidential Care Facilities are not a permitted use in most residential zones.
ƒIn discussions at recent public consultations for the Draft Zoning By-law, City
staff defended the use of distancing requirements as a means to avoid the
“ghettoization” of the use.

City of Ottawa Official Plan


http://ottawa.ca/city_hall/ottawa2020/official_plan/index_en.html
accessed November 4, 2007

Section 2.5.2 – Affordable Housing


Policies in this Plan ensure that all forms of housing are permitted wherever residential uses
are generally permitted, subject to regulations contained in the zoning by-law. These land
uses are outlined in Section 3.1. They include secondary dwelling units, rooming houses,
group homes, shelter accommodation, retirement homes and garden suites.

Section 3.1 – Generally Permitted Uses


Group Homes
2. Where the zoning by-law permits a dwelling, the by-law will also permit a group
home. The zoning by-law may include area-specific provisions to regulate the type,
size and location of this use.

City of Ottawa Comprehensive Zoning By-law Project


http://www.ottawa.ca/residents/bylaw/zoning/index_en.html
accessed November 4, 2007

Researcher’s Note: The City of Ottawa’s Comprehensive Zoning By-Law Project has produced a
Draft Zoning By-law that harmonizes the pre-amalgamation by-laws of the 36 municipalities
incorporated into the City of Ottawa. The By-law is currently moving its way through public
consultations and revisions and should be enacted in early 2008. Overlapping processes are
being carried out for by-laws covering Urban Areas and Rural Areas and the Greenbelt. A
version available on the City of Ottawa web site shows edits made as recently as September
2007. A conversation with City of Ottawa staff indicated that both processes are still in progress
but that the rural version was the most up to date in terms of definitions and provisions. For that
reason they are excerpted here. The Project web site also includes a summary of public
responses to the draft by-law, the discussion that occurred on the issues raised and any staff
recommendations that emerged. They are also excerpted below.

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Part 1 – Administration, Interpretation and Definitions


Section 54 – Definitions
Group home means a supervised residential use building in which three to ten persons,
exclusive of staff, live as a group in a single household living arrangement, and where the
residents require support or supervision on a daily basis, but excludes correctional facilities and
shelters.

Residential care facility means an establishment providing supervised or supportive in-house


care for those who need assistance with daily living, that may also provide on-going medical or
nursing care or counselling and social support services and which may include services such as
medical, counselling, and personal services.

Part 5 – Residential Provisions


Section 125 – Group Home Provisions

1) Where it is a permitted use in a zone, in addition to the provisions of the zone in which it is
located, a group home,

(a) must be within a dwelling type which is a permitted use in the zone in which it is
located;
(b) Section 122 applies;
(c) where located within or abutting Residential or Village Mixed-use Zones, must be
separated from any other lot containing a group home, a distance of 300 metres from
each property line of the lot on which the group home is located;
(d) where located within an RU - Rural Countryside or AG - Agricultural Zone:
(i) must be separated from any other lot zoned RU or AG containing another
group home, a distance of 1000 metres from each property line of the lot on
which the group home is located, and
(ii) must be separated from any lot zoned in a Residential zone or VM – Village
Mixed-Use Zone containing another group home, a distance of 500 metres
from each property line of the lot on which the group home is located.

2) Despite subsection 1, the minimum required separation distance need not extend across a
waterway, Highway or any other major barrier to pedestrian or vehicular movement, and in
such cases is deemed to be fulfilled by the distance between that barrier and the affected
property line or lines of the lot containing the group home.

3) Where the minimum required separation distance of one group home intersects the minimum
required separation distance of another group home, both group homes are considered to
comply with the minimum separation distance requirements, provided that the limits of the
two separation areas do not touch a lot line of a lot containing another group home.

Section 122 - Conversions


3) Any conversion that results in the creation of a group home; retirement home; converted
rooming house, converted; converted dwelling; or shelter must be serviced with public sewer
and water, except in the RU-Rural Countryside, VM –Village Mixed Use, V3 – Village
Residential Third Density, and AG-Agricultural Zones where such uses may be permitted, if
listed as permitted uses, on private services approved by the City of Ottawa where public
services are not available.

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6) Where a residential use building, located in a residential zone, is converted to a retirement


home, converted rooming house; converted group home; or shelter, such uses must occupy
the whole of the building.

Part 6 – Residential Zones


Part 7 – Institutional Zones
Part 10 – Mixed Use/Commercial Zones
Part 13 – Rural Zones

Zone Permitted Use


Group Residential
Homes Care
Facilities
R1 – Residential First Density Zone (Sec. 155-156) Yes
R2 – Residential Second Density Zone (Sec. 157-158) Yes
R3 – Residential Third Density Zone (Sec. 159-160) Yes
R4 – Residential Fourth Density Zone (Sec. 161-162) Yes
R5 – Residential First Density Zone (Sec. 163-164) Yes Yes*
RM – Mobile Home Zone (Sec. 167-168) Yes
I1 – Minor Institutional Zone (Sec. 169-170) Yes Yes
I2 – Major Institutional Zone (Sec. 171-172) Yes Yes
AM – Arterial Mainstreet Zone (Sec. 185-186) Yes Yes
GM – General Mixed Use Zone (Sec. 187-188) Yes Yes
LC – Local Commercial Zone (Sec. 189-190) Yes
MC – Mixed-Use Centre Zone (Sec. 191-192) Yes Yes
MD – Mixed-Use Downtown Zone (Sec. 193-194) Yes Yes
TM – Traditional Mainstreet Zone (Sec. 197-198) Yes Yes
AG – Agricultural Zone (Sec. 211-212) Yes**
RC – Rural Commercial Zone (Sec. 217-218)
RI – Rural Institutional Zone (Sec. 223-224) Yes Yes
RR – Rural Residential Zone (Sec. 225-226) Yes
RU – Rural Countryside Zone (Sec. 227-228) Yes
VM – Village Mixed-Use Zone (Sec. 229-230) Yes Yes
V1 – Village Residential First Density Zone (Sec. 231-232) Yes
V2 – Village Residential Second Density Zone (Sec. 233-234) Yes
V3 – Village Residential Third Density Zone (Sec. 235-236) Yes

* a maximum of 30 residents is permitted (Sec. 163, 1(d))


** a maximum of 8 persons is permitted (Sec. 211, 1(c))

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May 2006 and May 2007 Consultations and Revisions – Rural – Summary of
Public Responses
http://www.ottawa.ca/residents/bylaw/zoning/bylaw/consult_revision/rural/public_r
esponses/part_05_en.html
accessed November 4, 2007

Section 125: Group Home Provisions


Comment Discussion Staff Recommendation
Needs to recognize A clause has been added recognizing Revise Section to include
barriers such as rivers and barriers or limits to the required regulation that recognizes
major roads as definitive separation area calculation. barriers to enforcement of
barriers or limits to the full required separation
separation area calculation There are no longer different types of area
for group homes; separation areas; the rectangular
rectangular separation separation area has been removed, Revise separation distance
area of 800 m seems too and a standard separation area, requirements and simplify,
high [Health and Social measured from each of the group standardize regulation
Services Advisory home’s lot lines, is proposed to be
Committee] 300 m between group homes.

It is basic human right to The Province has accepted No change required


choose where to live, and municipalities’ right to impose
creating zoning that places separation distances between group
300m buffer between homes, because the use is permitted
group homes does not in all zones, unlike most uses that are
support citizen’s rights. restricted to certain zoning categories
May also violate the only. Numerous Ontario Municipal
Canadian Charter of Board hearings were held in the
Rights.[Donna Rietschlin] 1980’s, and the decisions always
upheld the separation distances as
being a reasonable zoning tool to limit
overall density, and avoid
“ghettoization” of the use. The
separation distances are not
particularly large, and would
encompass separation by between
roughly 15 and thirty lots (each side),
and are intended to ensure that group
homes locate throughout the
municipality and not be encouraged to
locate only in certain areas, as per the
Official Plan. The separation areas
are small enough that they do not
result in the prohibition of this use in
any area of the city and thus there is
ample room for group home
development throughout the whole of
the city.

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City of Sarnia – Discriminatory Zoning

Summary
ƒDistancing requirements for all group homes
ƒLocational requirements for group homes with more than 5 residents in certain
zones (must be located on an arterial or collector road)
ƒGroup homes are capped at 10 residents, although site specific regulations can
increase that number
ƒGroup homes are not a permitted use in every zone otherwise allowing
residential – notable exceptions include Suburban Residential (SR1) and Rural
Residential (RR1)
ƒResidential Care Facility is defined loosely but only referred to in one other
place in the zoning by-law (in this case, residents are defined as “medically
fragile”)

Zoning By-law No. 85 of 2002 (July 15, 2002)


(Office Consolidation as amended October 2005)
http://www.sarnia.ca/visit.asp?sectionid=348
Accessed March 15, 2007

Part I, Section 2 – Definitions

"GROUP HOME" shall mean a dwelling unit operated as a single housekeeping unit
accommodating, or having the facilities to accommodate, 5 to 10 residents (exclusive of staff)
who, by reason of their emotional, mental, social, or physical condition require a group living
arrangement under 24 hour responsible supervision consistent with the requirements of its
residents, and the group home is either licensed or funded under Provincial or Federal statute.
Any counseling or support services provided in the group home shall be limited to those required
by the residents.

"RESIDENTIAL CARE FACILITY" means a family home, group care facility, or similar facility for
24 hour non-medical care of persons in need of personal services, supervision or assistance
essential for sustaining the activities of daily living or for the protection of the individual.

Part I, Section 3 – General Regulations

3.16 Group Homes


Notwithstanding any other provisions of this By-law to the contrary, a Group Home may
be permitted in any dwelling unit provided that:
(1) there is no other Group Home within 200m radius, in the case of a Residential Zone, or
4km radius, in the case of a Rural Zone, of the proposed facility;
(2) the group home shall occupy the whole of the dwelling unit;
(3) the group home shall be registered with the municipality as per Section 240 of the
Municipal Act (R.S.O. 1990), c.M.45;
(4) parking is supplied at the rate specified in Section 3.37 of this By-law; and

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(5) any building erected or altered after the passing of the By-law for use as a group home
for more than 5 residents in a UR1, UR2, UR3 and SR1 Zone, shall have a front yard or a
side yard that abuts an arterial or collector street as shown on Schedule “D”.

Part II – Zones and Zone Regulations – Sections 7 to 23

Zones Permitting Group Homes

Group Homes are a permitted use in the following zones:

ƒ Urban Residential 1 Zone (UR1) – (Section 7, 7.1 Permitted Uses)


ƒ Urban Residential 2 Zone (UR2) – (Section 8, 8.1 Permitted Uses)
ƒ Urban Residential 3 Zone (UR3) – (Section 9, 9.1 Permitted Uses)
ƒ Urban Residential 4 Zone (UR4) – (Section 10, 10.1 Permitted Uses)
ƒ Urban Residential 5 Zone (UR5) – (Section 11, 11.1 Permitted Uses)
ƒ Office Commercial 1 Zone (OC1) – (Section 21, 21.1 Permitted Uses)

In these zones the following restrictions apply:

Section 7 - Urban Residential 1 Zone (UR1)

7.2 Zone Regulations

7.2.1(9) Special Provisions for Group Homes and Women's Shelters:

(a) a group home or women's shelter in the UR1 zone shall comprise a single detached
dwelling;
(b) a single detached dwelling erected or altered after the passing of this By-law, for use as a
group home or women's shelter for more than 5 residents shall have a front yard or a
side yard that abuts an arterial or collector street as shown on Schedule D; and
(c) a group home or a women's shelter lot shall be separated a minimum distance of 200m
from any other group home or women's shelter lot located within a Residential Zone.

Sections 8.2.3, 9.2.3,10.2.4, 11.2.4 and 21.2.2 state that the regulations laid out in 7.2.1 shall
apply.

Site and Area Specific Regulations concerning group homes and residential care facilities

7.3 Site and Area Specific Regulation

7.3.17 UR1-17 (See Zoning Map Part 12)

7.3.17.1 Permitted Uses


(1) Uses permitted in Section 7.1.

7.3.17.2 Site Zone Regulations - Group Home


(1) Occupants: the group home is occupied by not more than 12 persons over the age of 16
years, other than supervisory personnel
(2) Fencing and Landscaping: the existing fencing and landscaped open space shall be
maintained
(3) Setbacks: the existing front, side and rear yard setbacks shall be maintained
(4) Supervisors: no more than 2 supervisory personnel shall reside on a continuing basis in
the group home
(5) Signs: no sign identifying the use of the group home shall be displayed on the said lands

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(6) Parking: there shall be available for use in conjunction with the group home a minimum of
5 parking spaces to be located on the property immediately adjoining to the south

10.3.4 UR4-4 (See Zoning Map Part 56)

10.3.4.1 Permitted Uses


(1) Group homes for mentally challenged adults.

10.3.4.2 Site Zone Regulations - Group Home


(1) Number of Residents: (maximum) 15 residents over the age of 16 excluding supervisory
staff
(2) Fencing: (minimum) 1m high hedge or opaque privacy fence along the east property line
(3) Landscaped Open Space: (minimum) the existing landscaped open space shall be
maintained
(4) Signs: (minimum) no signs identifying the use are permitted

Zones Not Permitting Group Homes

Group Homes are not a listed permitted use in the following zones:

ƒ Rural 1 Zone (RU1) – (Section 5)


ƒ Rural Residential 1 Zone (RR1) – (Section 6)
ƒ Suburban Residential 1 Zone (SR1) – (Section 12)(but then in 12.2.1 provides zoning
regulations for group homes)
ƒ Private Residential Community 1 Zone (PRC1) – (Section 13)
ƒ Downtown 1 Zone (D1) – (Section 14)
ƒ Commercial Centre 1 Zone (CC1) – (Section 15)
ƒ General Commercial 1 Zone (GC1) – (Section 16)
ƒ General Commercial 2 Zone (GC2) – (Section 17)
ƒ General Commercial 3 Zone (GC3) – (Section 18)
ƒ Community Commercial 1 Zone (COC1) – (Section 19)
ƒ Highway Commercial 1 Zone (HC1) – (Section 20)
ƒ Local Commercial 1 Zone (LC1)
ƒ Institutional 1 Zone (I1) – (Section 23)

Although not a permitted use a site-specific exception has been made in Section 23.

23.3.3 I1-3 (See Zoning Map Part 19)

23.3.3.1 Permitted Uses


(1) Accessory uses and buildings.
(2) A group home (a boys' residential home).

23.3.3.2 Site Zone Regulations


(1) The regulations set out in Section 5.25 shall apply.

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Concerning Residential Care Facilities

There is only one reference to a Residential Care Facility, as defined in the Definitions section.

23.3.6 I1-6 (See Zoning Map Part 14)

23.3.6.1 Permitted Uses


(1) Residential care facility for the medically fragile.

23.3.6.2 Site Zone Regulations


(1) Lot Area: (minimum) 4,800 square metres
(2) Setbacks: (minimum) - north yard 21m
- east yard 15m
- south yard 7.5m
- west yard 3m
(3) Lot Coverage: (maximum) 50%
(4) Landscaped Open Space: (minimum) 35%
(5) Height: (maximum) 1 storey for a main building and 5m for an accessory building
(6) Special Regulation: (minimum) the lands within the north and east yard setbacks shall be
maintained as landscaped open space

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Town of Smiths Falls – Discriminatory Zoning

Summary
ƒGroup homes are a permitted use in all residential zones
ƒDistancing requirements exist for all group homes
ƒGroup homes for the mentally handicapped are limited to a maximum of 36
residents for the entire municipality.
ƒIn the Official Plan, new group homes are classified as a New Land Use
Development, a classification that shifts the onus to developers to prove that
their development will not adversely impact municipal or community services

Official Plan of the Town of Smiths Falls (Office Consolidation


August 2005)
Section 3 Planning Policies and Processes
3.8 New Land Use Developments

It shall be a policy of this Plan that any proposed new development or redevelopment
which would introduce a land use, different from those uses described in this Plan in
terms of scale, purpose or nature, and neither envisioned nor contemplated heretofore by
Council, shall be subject to detailed land use, marketing and/or impact studies, and any
other studies deemed necessary by Council. The intent of this policy is to place the onus
on the developer to demonstrate that the introduction of a new use into the community
would not be to the detriment of the municipality's economic, social, cultural, natural, and
financial base; would not adversely impact on municipal services; and would not require
additional municipal or community services.

In addition, Council will encourage the developer of such a use to consult with the public
to ensure that the public is made familiar with the purpose and effect of the proposed
development or redevelopment.

New Land Use Developments shall only be approved by an amendment to this Plan.

Section 4 Development Policies


4.7 Group Homes

4.7.1 General Policies

1. For the purposes of this Plan, there shall be two types of group homes, as defined in
Sections 4.7.2 and 4.7.3.

2. No person shall operate, or permit to operate, a group home without registering the
group home with the Town Clerk in accordance with the Town of Smiths Falls Group
Home Registration By-law.

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3. In order to prevent an undue concentration of group homes in neighbourhoods,


standards requiring a minimum distance separation between these facilities may be
incorporated in the implementing Zoning By-law, but shall generally be limited to a
minimum of 300 m between any two group homes, such distance to be measured
from the closest points of the two properties at the property line.

4. Group homes existing on the date the Zoning By-law comes into effect but which do
not comply with the requirements of the By-law will be allowed to continue their
operations but will not be permitted to expand unless such expansion complies with
the provisions of the Zoning By-law.

5. New group home operations shall be considered part of the Town of Smiths Falls Site
Plan Control Area pursuant to Section 3.8. For the purpose of this Plan, a new group
home operation means the establishment of a group home, or the replacement of
one group home serving a specific needs group with another one serving a different
needs group. The general objective of Council shall be to ensure that the site design
is in keeping with the character of the surrounding area and that sufficient space is
available to accommodate the needs of the residents. Parking, outside storage,
vehicle access, pedestrian access and buffering shall be of primary concern when
considering a site plan.

6. Notwithstanding the policies of Section 4.7.3, group homes may be located in semi-
detached dwellings and duplex dwellings, provided that both units are occupied by
one group home operation and that the total number of residents (excluding staff or
receiving family) in both units does not exceed 10 residents.

4.7.2 Type A Group Homes

1. A Type A group home is defined as a single housekeeping unit in a residential


dwelling, in which three to ten residents (excluding staff or receiving family) live
together under responsible supervision consistent with the requirements of its
residents, who by reason of their emotional, mental, social or physical condition
require a group living arrangement. The home is licensed or approved under
Provincial Statute and is in compliance with Municipal by-laws. This definition does
not include residences for young offenders, adult offenders, boarding or lodging
houses.

2. Type A group homes shall be considered to be a residential use which shall be


permitted in all areas designated Residential and Core Area.

3. Type A group homes shall be permitted in single-detached dwellings, buildings


converted to single-detached dwellings, and in both units of semi-detached dwellings
and duplex dwellings, pursuant to Section 4.7.1.6.

4. Notwithstanding the generality of subsection 4.7.2.2, group homes for the mentally
handicapped shall be restricted to a total of 36 residents. Once this number has
been reached, no further such group homes shall be permitted until Council has
completed an assessment of the impacts of such homes on the Town, particularly on
the provision of municipal services, and has amended this Plan to permit further such
group homes to be located within the Town.

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Zoning By-law No. 6080-94 (Office Consolidation January 2004)

Section 3 Definitions
GROUP HOME, TYPE A: Means a single household unit in a dwelling, in which 3 to 10 residents
(excluding staff or receiving family) live together under responsible supervision consistent with the
requirements of its residents, and which is licensed or approved under Provincial Statue [sic] and
is in compliance with Municipal by-laws. The definition does not include residences for young
offenders, adult offenders or boarding/rooming dwelling houses.

Section 4 General Provisions


4.12 Group Homes

Type A Group Homes shall be a permitted use in all zones in which a single detached
dwelling is permitted as a principle use in accordance with the following provisions.

1. A Type A Group Home shall be located a minimum of 300 metres from another Type
A Group Home, such distance to be measured from the closest point of the two
properties at the property line.

2. Type A Group Homes shall not be permitted in accessory single detached dwelling
houses not in accessory dwelling units.

3. Type A Group Homes may be permitted in single-detached dwellings and in both


units of semi-detached and duplex dwellings, provided that both units are occupied
by one group home operation and that the total number of residents (excluding staff
or receiving family) in both units does not exceed ten.

4. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Type A Group Homes for the mentally handicapped
shall be restricted to a maximum total of 36 residents in all such Homes.

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City of Toronto – Discriminatory Zoning

Summary
ƒThe City of Toronto is currently in the process of consolidating the by-laws of the
pre-amalgamation cities.
ƒNew proposed definitions exist for Group Homes and Residential Care Facilities.
ƒDistancing requirements exist in the zoning by-laws of all the pre-amalgamation
cities.
ƒIn the former City of Toronto, residential care facilities (basically a group home
for 6-10 people) were a permitted use in all residential and mixed use zones.
There was no defined use for similar facilities housing over ten people.
ƒIn the former City of Toronto, parking requirements for alternative housing would
not seem to present a barrier to group home provision
ƒThe Community Engagement Protocol developed for the City’s Affordable
Housing Office does not present extra obligations for the development of group of
group homes and residential care facilities.

City of Toronto - Zoning By-law Project


http://www.toronto.ca/zoning/index.htm

The City of Toronto is currently consolidating the by-laws of the pre-amalgamation cities through
its Zoning By-law Project. The consolidation process has proposed definitions but not yet
addressed general provisions. Proposed definitions exist for Group Home and Residential Care
Facility.

Proposed Definitions
http://www.toronto.ca/zoning/definitions.htm

Residence – Group Home


Considerations:

ƒ Group homes are a use to be accommodated within the city.


ƒ By defining group homes, specific zoning rules may be made which may include determining
where they are permitted.

Proposed Definition:

means supervised living accommodation:


(i) licensed or funded under Province of Ontario or Government of Canada legislation,
(ii) for persons requiring a group living arrangement by reason of their emotional, mental, social or
physical condition or legal status, and
(iii) is for three to ten persons, exclusive of staff, living together as a single housekeeping unit.

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Residence – Residential Care Home

Considerations:
ƒ This is a building with living space for more than 10 people with identified needs.
ƒ The building operation is licensed or paid for in part by the provincial or federal government.
ƒ Support services may also be provided for the residents of the building.
ƒ This is like a Group Home but with more people.

Proposed definition:
means supervised living accommodation:
(i) licensed or funded under Province of Ontario or Government of Canada legislation,
(ii) for persons requiring semi-independent or group living arrangements by reason of their
emotional, mental, social or physical condition or legal status, and
(iii) is for more than ten persons, exclusive of staff, and
(iv) it may include associated support services.

Pre-Amalgamation By-laws

Toronto

City of Toronto Zoning By-law #: 438-86


Section 2 – Definitions and Interpretation – Amended December 2003

2(1).54
“residential care facility”
means a residence for the accommodation of six to ten persons, exclusive of staff, who by
reason of their emotional, mental, social or physical condition or legal status require a group
living arrangement for their well-being where:

(i) the facility is supervised, or the members of the group are referred, by a hospital,
court or government agency; or
(ii) the facility is funded wholly or in part by a government, other than funding provided
solely for capital purposes; or
(iii) the facility is regulated or supervised under a general or special Act;

but does not include a use other wise classified or defined in this by-law

2(2).2
(k) For the purpose of
i) section 4(4)
ii) section 4(5), and
iii) the definition of parking space as set out in section 2(1)

alternative housing
means dwelling units or dwelling rooms which are operated by a government agency, a
charitable institution, or a non-profit institution as social housing for the residential
accommodation of persons who by reason of their financial , emotion, mental, social or
physical condition or legal status have and require ongoing support services of a counseling
or medical nature associated with their residential accommodation; and provided, that where
any use is defined within this by-law so as to not include a use otherwise classified or
defined, alternative housing shall be deemed to not be a use otherwise classified or defined

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and the owner or occupant of alternative housing may provide the parking facilities prescribed by
section 4(4) or by the section 4(5) for alternative housing in lieu of any other parking facilities
prescribed by those sections for the dwelling units or dwelling rooms which are operated as
alternative housing.

Section 4 – Regulations Applying to All Use Districts

4(4) Parking Spaces: When Required, Number, Location and Type

Purpose of Building or Structure Minimum Required Parking Spaces


A building or structure or that portion thereof One parking space for the first five dwelling
used as alternative housing units or dwelling rooms, or fraction thereof; plus

One parking space for the first fifteen


dwelling units or dwelling rooms, or
fraction thereof, in excess of the first five;
plus
One parking space for each ten dwelling units
or dwelling rooms, in excess of the first twenty;

Section 6 – Residential Districts (R1, R1S, R2, R3, R4, and R4A)

6(2).6 A residential care facility is a permitted use provided: (425-93)


i) it occupies the whole of a fully detached building; and
ii) it is at least 245 metres from another residential care facility or a crisis care
facility. (159-89) (909-88)

Section 8 – Mixed-Use Districts (CR, MCR and Q)

8(2).1 A crisis care facility and residential care facility is a permitted use provided:
(i) The use occupies the whole of a fully detached building;
(ii) The use is at least 245 metres from another crisis care facility or
residential care facility. (425-93)
(iii) In the case of a mixed-use building, a crisis care facility occupies the
whole of the residential portion of the building.

Etobicoke

Etobicoke Zoning Code

The Etobicoke Zoning Code is broken down into Chapters for the City of Etobicoke, Township of
Etobicoke, Village of Long Branch, and Town of Mimico, Town of New Toronto. Generally, group
homes are a permitted use wherever fully detached residential dwellings, duplex and triplex
dwellings are allowed. The Chapters for the City of Etobicoke are examined here as an example.

Section 304-3
GROUP HOME: A single supervised housekeeping unit in a dwelling used to accommodate three
to 10 persons, exclusive of staff, who require a group living arrangement for their well-being due
to their emotional, mental, social or physical condition or status and are referred by a hospital,
court or government agency or recognized social services agency or health professional. The

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operation of such facility shall be at least partly publicly funded or licensed or approved in
accordance with provincial statute.

Section 304-24.1
Supplementary Regulations for group homes [Added 1986-0113 by By-Law No. 1986-12]

No building or structure or land shall be used and no building or structure shall hereafter be
erected, structurally altered, enlarged or maintained for the purpose of a group home, except in
accordance with the following regulations, notwithstanding any other provision in this chapter to
the contrary:

A. Dwelling type. A group home may locate in any fully detached residential dwelling,
duplex and triplex dwellings and in any two (2) semi-detached dwellings which are joined to
one another, provided that the building is occupied wholly by that use.

B. Distance between group homes. There shall be a minimum radius of eight hundred
(800) metres measured from property line to property line between any two (2) group
homes, as defined in Section 320-3B herein, and any form of residential care facility.

C. Registration. No owner or operator of a group home shall commence operation without


having registered the proposed group home with the City of Etobicoke.

D. Parking. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 320-18B, at least two (2) one site
automobile parking spaces shall be provided. These spaces may be tandem and one (1)
may be in a garage.

E. Minimum floor space. A minimum floor space of twenty-three (23) square metres
(exclusive of the basement area) shall be provided for each resident, exclusive of staff.

F. Minimum lot area. There shall be a minimum lot area of four hundred sixty (460) square
metres for any group home.

G. Minimum rear yard. There shall be a minimum rear yard of fourteen (14) square metres
for each group home resident, but not less than one hundred sixteen (116) square metres
in total.

H. General zoning requirement. The building shall comply with the requirements for
residential development within the zoning category in which the group home is located.

I. General health requirement. A group home shall be constructed and used so that it
complies with the laws affecting the health and the inhabitants and any rule, regulation,
direction or order of the Local Board of Health and /or any direction or order of the Local
Medical Officer of Health.

J. All licensed group homes in existence prior to passage of this section shall continue to
be deemed permitted uses.

K. Correctional group homes shall only be located on a public road designated as an


arterial road by the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto

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East York

By-law #: 1916
Section: 2.50.a
GROUP HOME: “Group Home” shall mean the use of a dwelling unit for a residential care facility
accommodating persons who by reason of their emotional, mental, social or physical condition or
legal status require specialized residential care in a group living arrangement in a residential
neighbourhood.

By-law #: 6752
Part II, Section 4.15.A
GROUP HOME: Means the use of a dwelling unit for a residential care facility accommodating
persons who by reason of their emotional, mental, social or physical condition or legal status
require specialized residential care in a group living arrangement in a residential neighbourhood.

Part III, Section 5.23


A Group Home is a permitted use in a one family detached dwelling in all residential R Zones,
provided the group home:

a) accommodates three to ten persons exclusive of staff;


b) accommodates only persons referred to it by a hospital, court, government agency or
recognized social service agency or health professional;
c) provides a minimum gross floor area of 23 square metres for each resident, exclusive of
staff;
d) complies fully with the restrictions, requirements and regulations for residential uses and
structures within the relevant zoning category;
e) provides and maintains at least one (1) off-street parking space on site;
f) is located a minimum of 457 metres distant from any other Group Home, and any other
residential care facility set out in Schedule “A” annexed hereto; such distance to be
measured in a straight line fro nearest property line to nearest property line;
g) complies fully with all relevant by-laws of The Corporation of the Borough of East York;
h) is registered annually with The Corporation of the Borough of East York
i) is funded wholly or in part by any government, other than funding provided for capital
purposes or such facility is licensed or approved under Provincial statute.

Not withstanding the foregoing, the location of Correctional Group Homes shall be
restricted to lots fronting arterial roads under the jurisdiction of the Municipality of
Metropolitan Toronto as indicated on Schedule “B” annexed hereto.

North York

By-law #: 7625
Section: 2.42.3
GROUP HOME: means a building in which not less than three, nor more than ten persons
requiring residential, sheltered, specialized or group care reside, and which is licensed, approved
or supervised by the Province of Ontario under any general or special Act. Without limiting the
generality of the foregoing, Group Home includes a home for elderly persons, a home for
mentally retarded or physically disabled persons, and a home for persons who are convalescing
after hospital treatment and are under medical supervision, but does not include the following:
(a) a group foster home;
(b) an institution maintained and operated primarily for persons;
(i) who have been placed on probation under The Probation Act, the Criminal Code
(Canada) or The Juvenile Delinquents Act (Canada); or
(ii) who have been released on parole under the Ministry of Correctional Services Act or

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the Parole Act (Canada); or


(iii) who are admitted to the institution for correctional purposes;
(c) an institution for the temporary care of transient or homeless persons;
(d) an institution maintained and operated primarily for the treatment and rehabilitation of
persons who are addicted to substances other than alcohol;
(e) a Receiving Centre.
(renumbered by By-law 32696)"

By-law #: 7625
Section: 2.42.2
GROUP FOSTER HOME: means a building in which not less than three, nor more than six foster
children, under the age of twenty-one years, requiring sheltered, specialized, or group care are
lodged, boarded or cared for, and which is maintained and operated by or under the supervision
of a corporation approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council under either The Children's
Institutions Act 1962-63, or The Child Welfare Act, 1965, but does not include a Receiving
Centre. (renumbered by By-law 32696)"

Section 6 – General Provisions for All Zones

6.i Group Homes


Group Homes shall be permitted in all residential One-Family Detached Dwelling zones in
accordance with the following provisions:
(i) The number of persons residing in the group home shall not exceed ten;
(ii) The building shall comply with the requirements for one-family detached dwellings in
the zone and district in which the Group Home is located;
(iii) Not more than two persons shall occupy one bedroom;
(iv) There shall be no other group home in the same neighbourhood; and
(v) No other group home shall be located within 300 m of any other group home.

York
By-law #: 1-83
Section 2(50)
FOSTER HOME: Means a building in which not more than six (6) foster children reside primarily
for the purpose of receiving residential care and that is supervised or operated by a Children's Aid
Society under The Child Welfare Act, 1978, and that is licensed and operated in accordance with
The Children's Residential Services Act, 1978.

Section 2(57)
GROUP HOME: Means a supervised single housekeeping unit in a residential dwelling for the
accommodation of three (3) to ten (10) persons, exclusive of staff, who by reason of their
emotional, social or physical condition or legal status, require a group living arrangement for their
well being; and
(a) the members of the group are referred by a hospital, court or government agency or
recognized social services agency or health professional; and
(b) such facility is funded wholly or in part by any government, other than funding provided solely
for capital purposes, or such facility is licensed or approved under Provincial statute.

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Section 7 – R1 Residential Districts

7(2) Permissable Uses

No person shall within any R1 District use any land or erect or use any building or structure
except for the following purposes:

7(2).l
a foster home occupying the whole of a one-family dwelling house, provided it is located at least
800 metres radius measured from property line to property line from any other foster home.

7(2).m
a group home or correctional group home occupying the whole of a one-family dwelling house,
provide it is located at least 800 metres radius measured from property line to property line from
any other group home or correctional group home.
[go to other zones to get similar restrictions]

Scarborough

By-law #: 10076, 12797, 8786, 9350, 9174, 9396, 12077, 8978, 9508, 10048, 9676, 10827,
9089, 9276, 12466, 14402, 12181, 17677, 11883, 9366, 9812, 15907, 10010 , 16762, 10717,
12360, 25278, 9511, 10327, 9510

Section: V,(e),(f), II
GROUP HOME: means a supervised single housekeeping unit in a dwelling for the
accommodation of 3 to 10 persons, exclusive of staff who, by reason of their emotional, mental,
social or physical condition, or legal status, require a group living arrangement for their well-
being, and where:
- The members of the group are referred by a hospital, court or government agency, or
recognized social services agency or health professional; and
- Such facility is funded wholly or in part by any government, other than funding provided for
capital purposes only, or such a facility is licensed or approved under Provincial statute."

By-law #: 24982
Section: CLAUSE IV
GROUP HOME: shall mean a supervised single housekeeping unit in a dwelling for the
accommodation of 3 to 10 persons, exclusive of staff, who by reason of their emotional, mental,
social or physical condition, or legal status, require a group living arrangement for their well-
being, and where:
- The members of the group are referred by a hospital, court or government agency, or
recognized social services agency or health professional; and
- Such facility is funded wholly or in part by any government, other than funding provided for
capital purposes only, or such a facility is licensed or approved under Provincial statute;"

By-law #: 10076, 12797, 8786, 9350, 9174, 9396, 12077, 8978, 9508, 10048, 9676, 10827,
9089, 9276, 12466, 14402, 12181, 17677, 11883, 9366, 9812, 15907, 10010, 16762, 10717,
12360, 9511, 10327, 9510

Section: V,(e),(f), II
RESIDENTIAL CARE FACILITY: means a supervised facility for the accommodation of more than
10 persons, exclusive of staff who, by reason of their emotional, mental, social or physical
condition, or legal status, require a group living arrangement for their well-being, and where:
- The members of the group are referred by a hospital, court or government agency, or

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recognized social services agency or health professional; and


- Such facility is funded wholly or in part by any government, other than funding provided for
capital purposes only, or such a facility is licensed or approved under Provincial statute.
Such facility is not a hospital, nursing home, retirement home or convalescent home."

By-law #: 24982
Section: CLAUSE IV
RESIDENTIAL CARE FACILITY: shall mean a supervised facility for the accommodation of more
than 10 persons, exclusive of staff who, by reason of their emotional, mental, social or physical
condition, or legal status, require a group living arrangement for the well-being, and where:
- The members of the group are referred by a hospital, court or government agency, or
recognized social services agency or health professional; and
- Such facility is funded wholly or in part by any government, other than funding provided for
capital purposes only, or such a facility is licensed or approved under Provincial statute.
Such facility is not a hospital, nursing home, retirement home or convalescent home."

Further Notes
Based on conversations with Simon Liston and Joy Connelly, the Community Engagement
Protocol developed by the City of Toronto’s Affordable Housing Office has not yet been officially
adopted. It is intended for internal policy use and will not be made public. According to Connelly,
there is nothing in the document that could be considered discriminatory. The overall approach
was that there should be no increase in obligations beyond normal planning policy.

According to Connelly, although there are no more official requirements to have public meetings
for group homes than for any other kind of development, often local councilors put pressure on
providers to have public meetings and undergo much greater scrutiny than would normally be
required. Group home providers are vulnerable from a financial perspective because these same
municipal politicians can affect funding decisions. An example is the Good Sheppard supportive
housing at 793 Gerrard St. East.

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APPENDIX B:

Contacts

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Contacts

General

Gordon Kyle
Director of Social Policy and Government Relations
Community Living Ontario
Tel: (416) 447-4348 ext. 230
Email: gordon@communitylivingontario.ca

Orville Endicott
Legal Counsel
Community Living Ontario
Tel: (416) 447-4348, Ext. 238
Email: orville@communitylivingontario.ca

Ottawa

Karen Anderson
Chair
Developmental Services Ottawa
Email: karenanderson@tceottawa.org

Jocelyne Paul
Vice-Chair
Developmental Services Ottawa
Email: jpaul@ocl.ca

Janet Nolan
District Executive Director
East District
Christian Horizons
Tel: (613) 225-5900
Email: jnolan@christian-horizons.org

Kitchener

Brian Hunsberger
Development Director
House of Friendship
Tel: (519) 742-8327
Email: brianh@houseoffriendship.org

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Cambridge

Eva Vlasov
Executive Director
Argus Residence for Young People
Tel: (519) 623-7991

Sarnia

John Hagens
Executive Director
Community Living Sarnia
Tel: (519) 332-0560

Smiths Falls

Linda Tranter
Lanark, Leeds, and Grenville Legal Clinic
Tel: (613) 264-8888
Email:

Rick Tutts
Executive Director
Community Living Lanark County
Tel: (613) 257-8040 ext. 31

Ted Shuh
Executive Director
Community Living North Grenville
Tel: (613) 256-1031 ext. 26

44
Appendix G
The Dream Team
Road Show
A community dialogue about the benefits of
supportive housing

The Dream Team is a group of psychiatric consumer/survivors, and family members who
advocate for more supportive housing in Ontario for people with mental health issues.
We demonstrate through presentations and workshops the life-altering benefits of
supportive housing by telling our stories to politicians, community groups and institutions.
Through a grant from the Law Foundation we are conducting a tour through the
province to share our experiences and learn more about supportive housing in different
communities. We invite you to join us for a presentation in Smith Falls.

10:00AM - Friday, June 13


Link Activity/Resource Centre
88 Cornelia Street West Unit A4
(door at rear left side of building)

Mental Health Support Project


of Lanark Leeds & Grenville
Who is the Dream?
Our goals:

The Dream Team is a group of psychiatric con-


sumer/survivors, and family members who advo-
cate for more supportive housing in Ontario for x Education and support for psychiatric survi-
people with mental health issues. vors who are being discriminated against to assert
their rights
We demonstrate through presentations and work-
shops the life-altering benefits of supportive x Education of institutions, communities and gov-
housing by telling our stories to politicians, com- ernment of nature and impact of discriminatory
munity groups and institutions. zoning

The Dream Team members have been transformed x Creation of solid network of psychiatric survi-
from being homeless to committed advocates for vors and advocates
supportive housing and fighting NIMBY-ism (Not
In My BackYard); from psychiatric consumer x Strengthen local groups who will provide ongo-
survivors to educators demythologizing “mental ing education locally
illness”.
x Close cooperation with OHRC to influence their
policy statement and advocacy with respect to
discrimination and supportive housing
What is discriminatory zoning?
x Forming and building partnerships at each ses-
Zoning that sets limits on the types of dwellings that sion, the result being more strategic coopera-
can be built based on who will be occupying the tion across the province to eliminate discrimina-
buildings, not the form of the building. Examples tion against people with mental health challenges
of discriminatory zoning are by-laws that would set in the context of provision of affordable housing
out rules for minimum distances between housing for projects designed to benefit psychiatric survivors.
certain types of people.
How you can support our
goals/this project

x Keep in touch with the Dream Team by giving


us your contact information. Please sign the The Dream Team
contact sheet and make sure to give it to a
Dream Team member.

x Let others in your community know about the


Road Show
Dream Team and goals of the project.
See www.thedreamteam.ca

x Communicate with your local, provincial and


federal politicians about the need for afford- The Dream Team received a grant from the Law Foun-
able and supportive housing. dation of Ontario to fund research, education and out-
reach on the subject of the impact of restrictive provi-
x Let us know if there’s an affordable housing sions in municipal policies and zoning bylaws on peo-
project in your area that is facing council or ple living with mental health issues.
community opposition.
Our partners in this project are the Advocacy Centre
x Write letters to your local paper about the need for Tenants Ontario (ACTO) and HomeComing Com-
for affordable and supportive housing when munity Choice Coalition. We will be holding commu-
there are articles in the paper. nity meetings across Ontario.
DREAM TEAM ROAD SHOW
AGENDA

Outcomes
To enhance understanding of:
x The benefits of supportive housing
x Barriers to the development of supportive housing
x What the Dream team is doing to address some of these barriers
x How these issues effect your community

1. Welcome and Introduction

2. Who is Here?
¾ Talk to your neighbours.

Questions:
How long have you lived in this community?
Do you rent own your home?
Do you know anyone (a friend or family member?) who
has experienced mental health issues or other health issues that affect their
housing needs?

3. Who Are We?


3 partners in project
- Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario
- HomeComing Community Choice Coalition
- the Dream Team
¾ Dream Team Stories
¾ Questions and comments?

4. Overheard in Community Meetings: A Mini-Presentation

5. Supportive Housing in Your Community (small groups)


Questions attached

6. Local experiences (feedback from small groups)

7. Next Steps

8. Wrap-up (Evaluation attached)


Supportive Housing in Your Community - Small group Questions

Overview for all groups

Supportive Housing is housing in which people live independently with support available
as needed to help them to address life issues which may effect their ability to maintain
their housing.

Think of any person that you know who lives with mental illness or other disability.
Where do they live? Would they be better off living in supportive housing? What direct
or indirect experience do you have with supportive housing? In your small groups
discuss the following questions:

Group 1. Benefits and drawbacks to Supportive Housing

What are the benefits of having people live together who may have very different
requirements, but all need some form of support? (e.g. counseling, life skills support)

What drawbacks might there be to this form of housing for the people who live there?

Are there any benefits for the larger community from supportive housing? What might
be the drawbacks for the community?

Group 2. Physical space

If supportive housing is to be provided for people that live with mental illness or other
disability, what factors should be considered in selecting the best location for that
housing?

What is in the best interests of the people that will live in the housing? What is in the
best interests of the community at large?

In your experience is the supportive housing in your community located in the best
location for that housing? Why do you think that it is where it is?

Group 3. Barriers to Supportive Housing

What are the reasons that there is not more supportive housing in your community?

What are the barriers to the creation of more supportive housing? How might those
barriers be overcome?
Housing and Homelessness Umbrella Group (HHUG)
is pleased to announce the launch of the
1st Annual - Housing Stability Report Card
Theme: “When Bricks and Mortar Aren’t Enough:
Understanding Supports to Maintain Housing”

At First United Church - Chapel


16 William Street, Waterloo (Corner of William & King)
Friday, May 23, 2008
Meet and Greet: 8:30-9:00 -- Launch Activities: 9:00-10:00

You are cordially invited to remain for the HHUG quarterly


meeting from 10:00-12:00
Featuring a presentation from Toronto Dream Team:
“ The Importance of Supported Housing and the Impact of
Zoning“

The Dream Team is comprised of mental health consumers


and family members who share their experiences of living in
supported housing.
Please RSVP:
Lynn Macaulay, HHUG Initiatives Coordinator,
519-743-2246 ext. 264 or lmacaulay@lutherwood.ca
Appendix H
DRAFT
Discrimination in Planning
You Can Make a Difference
All people have a right to live where they choose without discrimination on the basis of disabilities,
including mental health issues.

Housing opportunities for people living with disabilities, including those with mental health issues,
are often reduced by restrictive provisions in municipal planning practices and policies and zoning
by-laws.

This Tool Kit has been developed by the Dream Team to show how local communities can take
action to bring about real change.

Who is the Tool Kit for?


People in communities across Ontario that share an interest in the provision of supportive and
affordable housing, including:
• People with lived experience of mental health issues
• Low income tenants
• Housing providers
• Mental health service providers
• Faith communities
• Housing advocates
• Social planning professionals
• Local politicians
• Local business people

The Dream Team


For more than 10 years the Dream Team have been telling their stories, stories of their personal
struggles with homelessness and the stigma of living with mental health issues. And stories as well
about the life-altering benefits of supportive housing and how their lives have been changed by
living in supportive communities and by becoming members of the Dream Team.

Who is the Dream Team?

The Dream Team is a group of about 20 psychiatric consumer/survivors, and family members who
advocate for more supportive housing in Ontario for people with mental health issues. Through
presentations and workshops and by telling their own life stories to politicians, community groups
and institutions, Dream Team members have been transformed from being homeless to become
committed advocates for supportive housing and fighting discriminatory NIMBY (Not In My
BackYard); from psychiatric consumer survivors to educators demythologizing “mental illness”.

What is Supportive Housing?


• Permanent, affordable housing with supports to enable people to live independentlyG
DRAFT
• Rental housing, not a facility or institution. Supportive housing tenants pay rent and have
the same legal rights as all other tenants in Ontario.
• For people who already live in the community, but need extra supports because they
experience mental health issues, a physical or developmental disability, an addiction, have
been homeless, or are victims of abuse.

Why is the Dream Team involved in planning issues?

As Dream Team members told their stories about the life altering benefits of supportive housing,
they became aware of the discriminatory attitudes of some people in the community toward this
form of affordable housing. They also experienced the way in which the local land use planning
process is used to create barriers to the development of needed housing. They became convinced
that something needed to be done to respond to this discriminatory practice.

In 2007 the Dream Team received a grant from the Law Foundation of Ontario to fund research,
education and outreach about the impact of restrictive provisions in municipal policies and zoning
by-laws on people living with mental health issues. Their plan was to take their stories to a next
level, to share their personal stories and commitment with other communities across Ontario
informed by in-depth research.
DRAFT
How Does Planning Work?
The Official Plan describes a municipality’s vision, sets out its planning policies and sketches its
plans for each neighbourhood, defining it, for example, as “low density residential” or “commercial.”
It will also set out the scale and density of buildings and the types of uses allowed.

The zoning by-law puts the Official Plan into action. Each site is given a particular zoning
designation, defining the use of the site, the density of development permitted, maximum building
heights, set-backs, parking requirements, open space requirements and so on.

IF A PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT MEETS THE OFFICIAL PLAN AND ZONING BY-LAW


This is “as of right” housing. No public consultations are required. Some developments may need
site plan approval or a building permit. These are technical approvals that are not normally subject
to public consultation. However, sometimes citizens will demand public discussions anyway.

IF A DEVELOPMENT NEEDS ONLY MINOR CHANGES TO THE ZONING BY-LAW


Developments that conform to the general intent of the zoning by-law may need minor variances.
A planning committee will make a decision based on the merits of the development. When the
Planning Department receives an application for a minor variance, it sends a notice to all
neighbours within 60 metres. Interested people can speak at the meeting or write to the committee.

IF A DEVELOPMENT DOES NOT MATCH THE OFFICIAL PLAN OR ZONING BY-LAW


Developments usually need a rezoning or Official Plan Amendment if they change the use of a site
(say from industrial to residential) or build a taller or more dense building than the zoning permits.
When the municipality receives a development application, they send a notice to neighbours within
60 metres, and put a large sign on the site. The City usually holds at least one public meeting.
Planning Department staff then make a report to the Planning Committee. An opportunity will be
provided to hear public deputations before a decision is made.

Discrimination in Planning
With support from the Law Foundation of Ontario, the Dream Team commissioned a study to
uncover zoning by-laws and planning practices in municipalities across Ontario which discriminate
against people on the basis of disabilities.

The study found that discrimination in planning policy and practice is wide spread:
• By-laws, policies and practices frequently discriminate not based on the physical form of the
housing but on the characteristics of the people who live there
• This “people zoning” is an affront to the principles in the Ontario Human Rights Code and
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
• Land use planning can support discrimination either through discriminatory municipal laws
and policies or through discriminatory planning practices
• Even when the by-laws do not discriminate, providers of affordable housing and supportive
housing are often required to submit to more intensive community consultation and more
rigorous review than other providers of housing. Even if the by-laws are not discriminatory,
the practice often is.
• The clearest case of discrimination in zoning by-laws is in the treatment of shelters, group
homes and residential care facilities. Group homes are defined by the disabilities of their
residents and are subject to a number of provisions including caps on residents, limits on
DRAFT
types of dwellings, distancing requirements and other policies that narrow the range of
opportunities for group home providers and their residents.

Some examples of discriminatory zoning by-laws:


• Separation distances between group homes
• Limit on the number of residents
• Licensing requirements
Some examples of discriminatory planning practice:
• Requirements for consultation beyond that which is required under the Planning Act
• Requirements for community liaison committees
• Design changes required

What Does the Law Say?

Section 2. (1) of the Ontario Human Rights Code states:


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, age, marital status, family status, disability or the receipt of public
assistance

Section 15. (1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms States:
Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and
equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on
race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
DRAFT
How Can You Help?

When you first hear about a proposal for affordable or supportive housing:

Contact the proponent.


• Say you are a supporter. Ask how you can help.
• Consider “who you are” in relation to the proposal, and why you support it.
• Contact people who might also support the proposal. Keep them informed, or link them
directly to your information source.

Goals
• To create a network of supporters
• To plan the “message” that will inform your actions

Email, phone or write a letter to your municipal councillor


• Let them know you support the development
• Caution them against using a “double standard” – requiring public consultations just
because the people who will move in are disabled or on social assistance. Urge them to
uphold the City’s responsibilities under the law to treat all its residents equally.
• Send copies of letters or emails to the housing proponent.
Goals:
• To show beleaguered councillors a “rational majority” support the development,
• To ensure councillors understand the human rights implications of their actions.

If there is a public meeting (hosted by the councillor, city planning department or


proponent)
• Encourage as many supporters as possible to attend
• Write a letter to the planning department before or after the meeting (contact information is
on the notice), and send a copy to the local councillor and the proponent
• Speak at the meeting, as early in the meeting as possible. Speak “from the heart.

Goals:
• To give the city planner material for a positive report
• To give the local councillor courage to support the proposal
• To show opponents they do not speak for the entire community
• To discourage anyone from making discriminatory or offensive remarks.
DRAFT
Share the message with other supporters in your community
Speak up at a public meeting

It’s not easy to speak in public; but, your supportive voice can have a huge impact.

When you speak up you:


• welcome disadvantaged people into your neighbourhood
• enable city planning staff to put forward a balanced report
• give your councillor the courage to “do the right thing”
• give opponents of supportive housing something to think about, and
• encourage others to speak up in support.

Some ideas for public meetings:


• Invite your friends and colleagues. Numbers count and you will welcome the company of others
at these sometimes difficult meetings.
• Speak from the heart, based on your own experience. You don’t need to be an expert on housing
or city planning issues. Just speak about what you know.
• Try to speak early in the meeting. Your positive voice can encourage other supporters and temper
the more extreme opponents.
• Don’t get into arguments, if others try to argue or heckle
• After the meeting, send a letter, summing up the points you made at the meeting, to your councillor
and the municipal staff responsible for the meeting

For more tips on speaking at public meetings, visit the HomeComing web site at:
www.homecomingcoalition.com/pdfs/IShowtospeakup.pdf

Talk to neighbours and others in the community

For many years, supportive housing has provided decent, long-term homes for people who need
supports to live independently – at a fraction of the cost of shelters or hospitals. Yet despite this
track record, some people worry when new supportive housing comes to their neighbourhood,
even though they know that many still lack a decent home or proper support.

If you are talking to people who are concerned about supportive housing, you can assure them that
supportive housing is not only a good home, but a good neighbour as well. Here are some of the
most common concerns about supportive housing, and the reasons they have nothing to fear.

Some may worry that supportive housing will hurt property values:

Dozens of studies in the US and Canada show that social housing – including supportive housing
— does not lower property values. For example, a study of non-profit family and supportive
housing in seven British Columbia communities in 1995, and revisited in 2000, showed no loss of
property values. The same was found in a 1992 study in Peel Region, a 1986 study of Toronto
group homes and a 1986 study of correctional group homes in Ottawa, Toronto and London.
Indeed, some studies show that property values near social housing actually increase slightly when
compared to areas without social housing.

A 2008 study by the Dream Team found that, not only did supportive housing not have a negative
impact on the community, it was seen to have a positive impact. The Dream Team used public
data to show that supportive housing does not hurt property values or increase crime. And
interviews with neighbours show that supportive housing tenants make important contributions to
DRAFT
the strength of their neighbourhoods. Tenants contribute a modest amount to local businesses
(most residents are not particularly wealthy, so their economic footprint is not large); they add to
the vibrancy of an area through their street presence; they participate in the friendliness amongst
neighbours; and they contribute to the collective efficacy of their neighbourhoods through actions
around noise and speed, tidiness and crime. In short, supportive housing residents are just the
kind of great neighbours that every community needs. (see the Dream Team report “We are
Neighbours at www.thedreamteam.ca/uploads/File/WeAreNeighboursReport-DreamTeam.pdf )

Some may fear that supportive housing causes crime:

At several public meetings Toronto Police inspectors reported that the supportive housing in their
division rarely generates complaints from neighbours. No known study has suggested that
supportive housing increases local crime. Studies have shown, however, that people with mental
health issues – a group some citizens fear will increase crime – commit only 3% of violent criminal
acts, while the remaining 97% are committed by people with no psychiatric diagnosis whatsoever.

Some may believe that their neighbourhood already has too much supportive housing:

The fact is that there is simply not enough supportive housing in Ontario to saturate any
neighbourhood. There are only 12,000 units of supportive housing in all of Ontario. In the five
Toronto wards that have the highest concentrations of supportive housing, supportive housing
residents make up only 4.3% of the total population. Compare this percentage to the estimated
one in five Canadians who will experience mental health issues at some time in their lives. Of
course, not all of these households will need or choose to live in supportive housing. But the
figures do suggest that there is not enough supportive housing in any ward to meet the needs of
the people who already live there.

Some people believe they should be consulted before supportive housing comes to their
neighbourhood:.

Most of us did not consult our neighbours before we bought our home or rented our apartment. We
knew we had the right to live where we chose, and our neighbours couldn’t stop us – even if they
might have preferred a different sort of neighbour or thought we would be better off somewhere
else.

People with disabilities – the people who live in supportive housing – have the same rights we all
enjoy. Like the rest of us, they don’t need their neighbours’ approval to move next door, or need to
answer their neighbours’ questions. Sometimes a new supportive housing development does not
conform to the Official Plan or Zoning By-law. In that case, neighbours do have the right to discuss
any concerns they have about the change. However, these consultations are about land use, not
about the people who will live there.

Write a letter to the editor

When the media writes about a proposed supportive housing development, they will sometimes get
the story wrong or present the story in a way which may lead to misconceptions about the
proposal. Or others may write letters to the editor expressing opinions intended to exclude people
from the community due to poverty or a disability. Letters to the editor expressing support for the
proposed supportive housing can help to demonstrate that not everyone is opposed. Letters can
also correct misconceptions or present the facts in a way that is more positive for the development.

When writing a letter to the editor, look to the hints provided about Speaking at a Public Meeting
and the information in How to Speak to Neighbours. Above all, speak with your own voice, say
DRAFT
who you are and what you believe.

Respond to really hateful stuff

In public meetings or letters to the editor, people may say things that are very hurtful about the
people who will live in the proposed supportive housing. Sometimes the best response is to say
nothing, trusting that the hateful words will be perceived as inappropriate by most reasonable
people. If you choose to respond, avoid attacking the speaker. Instead, correct any misinformation
or state your support, saying what you believe about fairness and equality of access.

Develop a report card

Show how well your municipality is doing in addressing needs for affordable and supportive
housing. While this can take significant work, it is very powerful. (see Waterloo Region Report
Card at www.hhug.ca/docs/2008%20Report%20Card%20Final.pdf)
DRAFT
Resources Available
The Dream Team - www.thedreamteam.ca/home

HomeComing Community Choice Coalition - www.homecomingcoalition.com/

The Ontario Human Rights Legal Support Centre - www.hrlsc.on.ca/en/index.htm

Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario - www.acto.ca/english/home.php

Local Legal Clinics - www.legalaid.on.ca/en/getting/clinic.asp

Ontario Human Rights Commission - www.ohrc.on.ca/en/issues/housing

ARCH Disability Law Centre - www.archdisabilitylaw.ca/