Member Update July 27, 2020

New Community Housing Guidance Material for Service Managers and Housing Providers

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) has released a question and answer guidance document for the community housing sector during the COVID-19 outbreak. Providers should use this document to supplement guidance from the Ministry of Health and/or their local public health unit (e.g., guidance for congregate living settings), available on ONPHA’s COVID-19 Resource Hub . ONPHA is pleased see this response from the provincial government to the community housing sector’s continued call for sector-specific guidance.

Providers are encouraged to review the entire document on our website , which addresses protocols on privacy, health and safety and legislative compliance that are specific to the community housing sector, public health guidance, mortgage deferrals, supports for tenants and landlords and considerations for providers who serve victims of domestic violence.

Providers will find more information on:

  • Rules and protocols for property managers and others in communicating with tenants/residents about probable and confirmed cases of COVID-19;
  • What landlords and property managers need to keep in mind when restricting access to common areas of the building (e.g. laundry, elevators, lobby) to ensure they do not infringe on tenants’ rights to ‘reasonable enjoyment’ under the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 (RTA);
  • Protocols for general maintenance and safety of units, including: health and safety maintenance inspections, general day-to-day maintenance and fire safety improvements (e.g. sprinklers);
  • How providers can seek mortgage payment deferral from their lending institutions;
  • Guidance on dealing with the death of a tenant (see ONPHA’s new Death of a Tenant resource suite for more);
  • Direction on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies and best practices, alternative approaches and/or minimum standards that staff should be using when interacting with tenants and residents (for preferred PPE pricing, see new ONPHA Select partner Bargains Group);
  • How to handle conflicts between public health rules and provisions in the Housing Services Act, 2011 (HSA) and the RTA;
  • Guidelines in addressing concerns among staff about their own health and safety;
  • Calculating rent-geared-to-income (RGI) assistance for households receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) (see Social Housing notification for more information);
  • Information on supports for tenants who are struggling to pay rent and for landlords handling rental arrears from tenants in financial difficulty; and
  • Guidance on COVID-19 in homes that support survivors of gender-based violence.

Questions? Concerns?

Housing providers can direct comments and questions about this guidance document to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing by emailing: HousingPolicy@ontario.ca.

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