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Open Letter Regarding Discrimination in Tenancy

December 21, 2015

Earlier this year, the population of Saskatchewan hit an all-time record high, with more families choosing to make our province home than ever before. While optimism and opportunity remain high, there are those who struggle.

Many families live on fixed incomes of pension benefits, disability benefits, or provincial income assistance benefits. The struggle to secure safe, appropriate and affordable housing is real.

The United Nations recognizes that an adequate standard of living, necessary to access to appropriate housing, is a basic human right. The province recognizes this, in part, by providing income assistance and, also in part, by implementing laws that prohibit landlords from discriminating against those who are most in need. The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, for example, prohibits discriminating against potential renters on the basis of religion, creed, marital status, family status, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, colour, ancestry, nationality, place of origin, race or perceived race, gender identity, or receipt of public assistance.

Landlords who advertise rental accommodations in a discriminating manner break the law of this province. Some examples include advertisements with the following statements:

  • “Must be working”
  • “Adults only – no children”
  • “No Natives”
  • “No single mothers”

While landlords have a responsibility not to discriminate, tenants have a corresponding responsibility to pay the agreed rent in a timely manner. Tenants also have a responsibility to keep rented homes clean and in good condition. Otherwise, tenants may face eviction and loss of a damage deposit.

We recognize municipal and provincial government organizations are working with community-based organizations to end homelessness and poverty in our province. Fair treatment of landlords and tenants in all rental arrangements is one way to support these initiatives.

We encourage landlords and tenants to contact our offices if uncertainty exists about the legality or legitimacy of a rental arrangement.

David Arnot

Chief Commissioner
Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission

Dale Beck

Office of Residential Tenancies