The City is applying an anti-Black Racism (ABR) lens to the Toronto Shelter Standards. Shelter providers are invited to provide feedback on draft ABR standards by completing an online survey. Learn more and access the survey link.

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.

Shelter, Support and Housing Administration (SSHA) is committed to working collaboratively with providers to identify and take advantage of opportunities for improvement on an ongoing basis.

Throughout 2022, the TSS underwent an update from its initial release in 2015. The TSS now incorporates previously communicated and implemented updates to the sector, including:

  • City-issued Toronto Shelter Directives
  • Benchmarks from the 24-Hour Respite Site Standards
  • Previously updated health and safety practices
  • Updates to the Shelter Management Information System (SMIS)
  • Changes that have taken place to overall shelter systems and processes

Please consult the Toronto Shelter Standards Q&A document for further details.

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

Quick Reference: Update to the Toronto Shelter Standards Questions and Answers

Quick Reference: Policies, Procedures and Plans Requirements 

Quick Reference: Reporting Contact List 

Quick Reference: Training Topics and Professional Competencies Matrix 

Policy and Procedure Template for Shelter Providers

Poster: Client Rights & Responsibilities / Staff Code of Conduct 
This poster was created as tabloid-sized, but can be printed on letter-sized paper by changing your print setting.

Poster: Compliments, Complaints and Appeals
This poster was created as tabloid-sized, but can be printed on letter-sized paper by changing your print setting.

Reference Card: How to Make a Complaint 
This template was created to allow you to print 6 business card-sized reference cards (double-sided) to distribute to clients.

Additional resources for emergency shelter providers

In October 2021, SSHA 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 and future updates to the TSS are underway.

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.