Date issued: April 30, 2019

Effective date: July 1, 2018

Applicability to Social Housing Programs

The City Guideline is applicable to the programs where indicated in the table below.

Applicability Program
No Housing Services Act, Part VII Housing Projects, Market and Rent-Geared-to-Income, Section 78 Housing Providers (formerly 110)
No Housing Services Act, Part VII Housing Projects, 100% Rent-Geared-to-Income, Section 78 Housing Providers (formerly 110)
No Federal Non-Profit Housing, Section 26/27
No Federal Non-Profit Housing, Section 95
No Rent Supplement Programs for Sections 26, 27, 95 and New Affordable Housing Providers
Yes Toronto Community Housing Corporation

If your program is not checked in the Applicability column, this City Guideline does not apply.

About City Guidelines

Under the authority of the Housing Services Act, the City of Toronto, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration (SSHA) Division City Guidelines and Rent-Geared-to-Income (RGI) Manual are the authority for housing administration and RGI administration for social housing providers in the City of Toronto.

City Guidelines are the City of Toronto’s mandatory policies and procedures that social housing providers must follow. City Guidelines are most often issued when a Local Rule is established by the City of Toronto, the Rent-Geared-to-Income (RGI) manual is updated, or other relevant legislative changes or operational requirements occur. City Guidelines which impact RGI have been incorporated into the RGI Manual.

Please visit the Social Housing Providers website for more information.


In January of 2018, Ombudsman Toronto published a report regarding Toronto Community Housing Corporation’s Medical and Safety at Risk Priority transfer process for tenants. In this report, the Ombudsman’s first recommendation stated that “The City, pursuant to its authority as Service Manager, should create a new priority transfer category for Toronto Community Housing Corporation called Crisis, to rank below SPP but above Over-housed”. This City Guideline provides authorization for TCHC to create this new priority transfer category, and lists the actions required.


  1. In 2011, Ontario enacted the Housing Services Act (“HSA”). The HSA and its regulations set out the rules that govern social housing programs across the province. They also allow municipal service managers that administer social housing programs (including the City of Toronto) to set certain local rules.
  2. When offering social housing units to households (both those already in social housing and those looking to enter), service managers must first look to the prescribed provincial priority rules and then to their own local priority rules
  3. The provincial priority rules are established by O. Reg. 367/11 under the HSA, in sections 52-58. The highest priority when allocating vacant units must be given to households that meet the eligibility criteria for the special priority household category (“SPP”) (O. Reg. 367/11, s. 47(1) 5-6 and s. 52-58).
  4. Under the City’s local access priorities, as detailed in the RGI Administration Manual, Over-housed RGI households are the next priority on the internal transfer waiting list. Housing providers may develop their own internal transfer waiting list for other priorities, but these internal priorities will rank below SPP and Over-housed. TCHC developed the Medical and Safety at Risk priority transfer category pursuant to this authority.
  5. Ombudsman Toronto published a report January 24, 2018 on its review of Toronto Community Housing’s system for handling tenant transfer requests to address medical or safety concerns.
  6. The Ombudsman recommended that the City, pursuant to its authority as Service Manager, give consent to TCHC to create a new priority transfer category for TCHC called Crisis, to rank below SPP but above Over-housed.
  7. As of July 1, 2018, TCHC received approval and authorization from the City, consistent with the Ombudsman’s Recommendation, to rank Crisis Priority Transfer requests below the Special Priority Program (SPP) priority and above the Service Manager’s prescribed internal transfer priority of Over-housed.
  8. On July 1, 2018 TCHC implemented the new Crisis transfer category and priority transfer process, which replaced TCHC’s former Medical and Safety at Risk Priority Category, and began accepting applications, meeting the timelines recommended by Ombudsman Toronto. The Crisis Priority Transfer is included in TCHC’s recently updated Tenant Transfer Policy.
  9. TCHC discontinued the acceptance of Medical and Safety at Risk transfer requests in June, 2018.

Legislative Authority

On January 31, 2018, Toronto City Council passed motions to accept the Ombudsman Toronto report and to direct TCHC and the City to implement its recommendations. Pursuant to its authority as Service Manager under the Housing Services Act, 2011 and in accordance with the HSA requirements, the City authorized TCHC to establish and implement a Crisis Transfer priority to rank below the provincially prescribed priority given to survivors of domestic violence and survivors of human trafficking (SPP) and above the Over-housed transfer priority prescribed by the Service Manager’s Local Rule. This new ranking of transfer priorities were implemented on July 1, 2018.

Actions Required

  • The updated new Crisis Priority Transfer category became effective on July 1, 2018, replacing the Medical and Safety at Risk priority.
  • RGI households within TCHC must be made aware of the changes to the priorities as well as the application process for a Crisis Priority Transfer.
  • Households must be able to request a review of decisions regarding the Crisis Priority Transfer. These requests for review should be submitted to, and reviewed by TCHC. All notices of decisions and reviews of decisions must follow the requirements for reviews outlined in the RGI Administration Manual as well as in the HSA (s. 53, and s. 155-159).
  • Any changes to the Crisis Priority related policy and procedures should be provided to the City, as Service Manager, for review.


If you have any questions, please contact your Housing Consultant or HSS:

Housing Stability Services
Shelter, Support & Housing Administration
City of Toronto
Metro Hall, 55 John Street, 6th floor
Toronto, ON M5V 3C6
Telephone: 416-392-4126