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SHRC Releases Housing and Public Assistance Stakeholder Consultation Report

May 23, 2018

Today, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission released the summary of its stakeholder consultations on rental housing related discrimination in the City of Saskatoon. The report, “Access and Equality for Renters in Receipt of Public Assistance: A Report to Stakeholders,” is part of a longer-term systemic advocacy process to address differential treatment, policies, and rules that can unfairly disadvantage people seeking rental accommodation.

“The Commission works to promote and pursue equal access to housing for everyone in this province, and to address discrimination in the area of housing,” said David Arnot, Chief Commissioner of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission. “This report is a first step in that direction.”

During the consultation process, stakeholders spoke about the overt nature of the discrimination and inequity facing many people looking for housing. In some instances, landlords refused to rent to certain groups, with online advertising stating “no welfare” or “no single mothers” and discrimination against Indigenous people. People receiving public assistance, and their advocates, noted that system navigation, and the high cost of rent, need to be addressed.

“We hear from many people directly affected by discrimination in the area of rental housing,” said Chief Commissioner Arnot. “Stable, secure, adequate and affordable housing is associated with higher levels of employment and improved health and economic status, particularly for those in vulnerable groups. We have a chance here to make a meaningful and significant change in Saskatoon and in our province.”