Shelter, Support and Housing Administration has been renamed Toronto Shelter & Support Services (TSSS) to better reflect the Division’s role as the shelter service system manager in Toronto. The standards remain in effect.


The Toronto Shelter Standards (TSS) provide City of Toronto-funded shelter providers and clients with a clear set of expectations, guidelines and minimum requirements for the delivery of shelter services in Toronto. All emergency and transitional shelters funded or directly operated by the City of Toronto, are expected to meet the minimum service standards outlined in the Toronto Shelter Standards, as updated in 2022. Mandatory standards related to Confronting Anti-Black Racism were also released in December 2023.

Toronto Shelter and Support Services (TSSS) is committed to working collaboratively with providers to identify and take advantage of opportunities for improvement on an ongoing basis.

In 2022, Toronto Shelter and Support Services consulted with clients and staff to better understand what changes needed to be made to the Toronto Shelter Standards to better serve Black clients. This work was done to advance Action 10.2 of the City’s Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism, which required TSSS to apply an Anti-Black Racism analysis to shelter standards and procedures. It also aligns with Implementation Priority #2 in TSSS’ Homelessness Solutions Service Plan, which focuses on equity.

The Confronting Anti-Black Racism (CABR) standards were created in consultation with clients and staff, and cover the areas of:

  • capacity building
  • policy development
  • complaints process
  • admissions and discharges
  • client engagement to support ABR
  • collaboration with community partners
  • client-focused ABR resources and supports
  • providing culturally relevant food

The standards are captured in Directive 2023-03 released on December 18, 2023.

Further details on the standards can be found in a Q&A document.

While developing the CABR standards, improvements to standards related to the handling of all complaints, as well as service restrictions were also identified. These standards are captured in Directive 2023-02.

Toronto Shelter Standards
This accessible document contains external hyperlinks, but is otherwise a static document and ideal for printing or for screen reader software.

Toronto Shelter and Support Services regularly reviews the Toronto Shelter Standards to identify and take advantage of opportunities for improvement.

Updates to the Toronto Shelter Standards are released through Directives, which are issued when specific actions are required by shelter providers under the authority of the Operating Agreement, Toronto Shelter Standards and any other applicable law.

Directives are also used to provide clarification on a standard, or to issue an interim standard before it is formally consolidated into the larger Toronto Shelter Standards document.

View current Directives.

In October 2021, TSSS released its second service plan, the Homelessness Solutions Service Plan. This Service Plan sets out implementation priorities to guide the collective efforts of the homelessness service system over the next three years, while also defining outcome statements that will guide longer term planning towards our shared goal of ending chronic homelessness in Toronto.

One of the actions under the Service Plan is to regularly update the Toronto Shelter Standards and Toronto 24-Hour Respite Site Standards to strengthen health and safety provisions with a focus on equity and inclusion. The 2022 update to the Toronto Shelter Standards addresses this action, along with the Confronting Anti-Black Racism standards released in 2023.

TSSS remains committed to working with staff and partners to identifying ongoing areas for improvement, with a focus on ensuring equity and inclusion, to ensure shelters are welcoming spaces for all clients. A review of standards supporting 2SLGBTQ+ clients, focused on trans and non-binary clients, has begun, and will be completed in 2024.

What are the Toronto Shelter Standards?

The delivery of emergency shelter services in Ontario is discretionary. In the absence of provincial standards governing the delivery of shelter services, the City of Toronto developed Shelter Standards in 1992 to provide City-funded shelter providers and shelter clients with a clear set of expectations and guidelines.