Posts by Celia Chandler

Update on CMHC’s reno/retro program

September 6th, 2017 by Celia Chandler

In its 2016 budget, the federal government announced a renovate and retrofit (reno/retro) program of forgivable loans administered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).  CMHC issued a one‑time call for applications in June 2016 and made its final decisions on applications in June 2017.   Not surprisingly, the demand for funding greatly outstripped the available funds; we’re told that highest priority was given to projects in greatest financial need for work that addresses the risk of losing units (due to health and safety issues, regulatory or legislated requirements). By now, those who were lucky enough to be given the nod are busy working towards starting their projects quickly – all funds are to be spent by Nov 30, 2017.

We’re busy helping many with the paperwork to register these forgivable loans as mortgages on the title to their property.  If you’re a housing provider looking for legal support on these, please give us a call.

Adam Vaughan brought me to tears: dispatches from CHF Canada’s 2017 AGM in Niagara Falls

June 14th, 2017 by Celia Chandler

The Co‑operative Housing Federation of Canada (CHF Canada) AGM, a highlight in my annual calendar, is over for another year. Last week, co‑op members, staff, and others in the sector gathered in Niagara Falls to learn, to strengthen ties across the country, to hear from politicians, to make organizational decisions, and yes, to have fun. For me, all those things happened and more.

Continue reading “Adam Vaughan brought me to tears: dispatches from CHF Canada’s 2017 AGM in Niagara Falls”

Human Rights Refresher for Housing Co-ops, Saturday, March 4, 2017 10 a.m. to noon.

February 6th, 2017 by Celia Chandler

Are you on a housing co‑op board that is struggling about how to respond to complaints that second hand smoke is causing a child’s allergies to get worse? Are you a housing co‑op manager concerned that the capital budget is going to take a hit as more members need accessibility retrofits in their units? Are you a bit unclear about what things are covered by the Human Rights Code and what are not?

As a lawyer serving housing co‑ops, I’m asked these kinds of questions all the time. It also seems like there are a few co‑op members out there who want to use the language of human rights to justify the things they’d like to see at the co‑op.

If you’d like to learn a bit more about human rights in housing co‑ops, please join us at a human rights refresher as part of our IC Education series. We heard many of you who don’t like coming to our office in downtown Toronto, so we’re taking this one on the road! Otter Creek Co‑operative Homes has graciously offered to let us use its meeting room at 835 McQuay Boulevard, Unit 30 in Whitby. Sign up early because space is limited.

RSVP here

What medical documentation should you accept when asked to accommodate a disability?

February 2nd, 2017 by Celia Chandler

Our housing provider and employer clients often get asked to accommodate mental and physical disabilities under the Human Rights Code. While we’ve known for a long time that it’s OK to ask for medical documentation to support the requests, it’s been a bit unclear what should be included in doctors’ notes. Sometimes clients got notes that were too skimpy and other times clients got lengthy ones that revealed much more information than was necessary to meet the request.

Yesterday, the Human Rights Commission released some guidance for doctors, for people requesting accommodation, and for housing providers and employers who have been asked for accommodation. The Commission tells us that a doctor’s note should include:

  • that the person has a disability
  • the limitations or needs associated with the disability
  • whether the person can perform the essential duties or requirements of the job, of being a tenant, or of being a service user, with or without accommodation
  • the type of accommodation(s) that may be needed to allow the person to fulfill the essential duties or requirements of the job, of being a tenant, or of being a service user,
  • in employment, regular updates about when the person expects to come back to work, if they are on leave

To see what the Commission released yesterday, click here.

To see the Commission’s Policy on ableism and discrimination based on disability, click here.

Save the Date: IC Education, our workshop series, will turn its attention to human rights in housing on March 4, 2017, at Otter Creek Co‑operative in Whitby. More details to follow soon!

 

Henceforth legalese should not be used — i.e., it should cease, desist and be at an end

January 26th, 2017 by Celia Chandler

This post was first published on rabble.ca

Law is a tool. It’s a tool for everyone to use. And with increasing numbers of people representing themselves in court and using legal how-to books and online resources, everyone is using it. Lawyers and judges have a responsibility to talk and write clearly so that others can effectively use the tool.

Legalese is the term used for language used by lawyers and in legal documents that is difficult for ordinary people to understand. Here are four techniques that exclude others: Continue reading “Henceforth legalese should not be used — i.e., it should cease, desist and be at an end”

Landlord and Tenant Board ups its rates effective Jan 16, 2017

December 19th, 2016 by Celia Chandler

Housing providers take note – whether you’re a co‑op or a landlord, the province has decided you will pay more to assert your rights at the LTB starting January 6, 2017.   The co‑op application filing fee will increase $20 to $190.   Landlords have a similar rate increase, but if they file their application electronically they can realize a savings of $15 – making the application fee only $175.

The list of fees is found here.