Developed by the City of Toronto

The Housing Services Act (HSA) requires housing providers to fill Rent-Geared-to-Income vacancies from the centralized waiting list [HSA s. 47 & O. Reg. 367/11 s.45-51]. In Toronto, the centralized waiting list is maintained by the City of Toronto. Under the HSA, an alternative housing provider does not have to use this list if it has a written access policy agreed to by the City.

An access policy is a written description of how an alternative housing provider fills its vacant units. An alternative housing provider is one with a mandate to provide housing to households that are homeless or hard to house [HSA O. Reg. 367/11 s.49].

Access to RGI housing must be handled in a fair and consistent manner. Having a documented Access Plan provides justification for decisions relating to access.

Considerations in developing an access policy

1) Mandate (Alternative):
  • Does your mandate apply to all of your units/projects?
2) How do households access your housing?
  • Will you keep your own waiting list? If yes, address the following:
    • How do applicants get on your waiting list?
    • How will the waiting list be maintained?
    • Will it be chronological, or ordered in another way?
    • Will there be any priorities?
    • How will you ensure that applicants on your waiting list can be contacted?
    • Which staff position(s) will determine eligibility for RGI and maintain your wailing list?
  • Will another agency keep your waiting list for you? If yes, address the following:
    • How will you ensure that applicants referred to you are eligible for social housing? [HSA s. 42 O. Reg. 367/11, s. 23-32, Eligibility Rules]
    • If you will not keep a waiting list, describe in detail how households will access your housing (see Agency Agreements).
3) Agency Agreements
  • Will you have a written agreement with an agency to refer applicants or will the agency sign a head-lease for units?
  • How will you ensure the agency is complying with the HSA with respect to client eligibility?
4) Applicant Refusal Process [HSA, O. Regulation 367/11,s. 50]
  • On what basis would you refuse to house an applicant?
  • How would the decision be communicated, and what would be the time frames?
  • What is your internal review process for an applicant who has been refused?
  • Who reviews the request, how is the decision communicated, and what are the time frames for the review?
  • Have you addressed the rules found in the HSA? An easy reference to ensure compliance is the RGI Guide, Chapter 8, page 9
Ensuring compliance
The Board should establish a reporting structure on household selection processes and vacancy management. Direct the staff to maintain an appropriate system to permit a review of the process from time-to-time by the Board.