Item - 2018.CC36.12

Tracking Status

  • City Council adopted this item on January 31, 2018 with amendments.

CC36.12 - Ombudsman Toronto Report: An Investigation into Toronto Community Housing Corporation's Medical and Safety at Risk Priority Transfer Process for Tenants

Decision Type:
ACTION
Status:
Amended
Wards:
All

City Council Decision

City Council on January 31 and February 1, 2018, adopted the following:

 

1.  City Council accept the Ombudsman Toronto Report and direct the Toronto Community Housing Corporation and the City to implement the recommendations in the investigation report (January 24, 2018) from the Ombudsman.

 

Ombudsman's recommendations:

 

A New Crisis Priority for the Most Serious Cases, Ranking Higher than Overhoused

 

1.  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 Special Priority but above Overhoused.

 

Clear and Narrow Criteria

 

2.  The new Crisis priority transfer category should have specific, clear and understandable eligibility criteria that Toronto Community Housing Corporation will commit to applying consistently and in good faith. This is essential for Toronto Community Housing Corporation to fairly serve tenants whose units are causing or contributing to a direct, immediate, elevated and acute risk to their health or safety that would be addressed if they moved to a different Toronto Community Housing Corporation unit. Toronto Community Housing Corporation should develop these criteria in consultation with the City and any other stakeholders it may wish to engage.

 

Establishing and Communicating a Fair Process for Tenants to Apply for Crisis Priority Transfers and for Toronto Community Housing Corporation to Evaluate Applications

 

3.  Toronto Community Housing Corporation should provide clear, accessible and readily understandable information to tenants about what evidence is required to qualify for Crisis priority transfers, how to apply, and what will happen once they qualify.

 

4.  The new process should clearly set out and explain the essential role of site staff to help tenants gather evidence to support their applications. This should be a key job duty of site staff.

 

5.  The new process should provide for thorough training and support for site staff. Site staff must have a solid understanding of the criteria, the process for applications and for housing offers, and the key role that they as site staff have in the process.

 

6. Toronto Community Housing Corporation should develop Rules of Procedure for the processing of applications, decision-making and communicating of decisions with reasons for the new Crisis priority transfer category.

 

7.  The Rules of Procedure should set out clear timelines for each step of the process. Those timelines should take account of the seriousness of the issues being considered. Toronto Community Housing Corporation should commit sufficient resources to ensure that it consistently meets the timelines it establishes. Toronto Community Housing Corporation should have a system to periodically evaluate this.

 

8. Toronto Community Housing Corporation should have a group of dedicated decision-makers evaluating applications for the Crisis priority transfers. They should be trained in fair adjudication and decision-writing.

 

9.  Toronto Community Housing Corporation should require and ensure that decisions are made in a way that is procedurally and substantively fair. This includes ensuring that every decision includes sufficient reasons, and that similar cases are dealt with consistently.

 

10.  If decision-makers are to have any discretion to allow applications in cases where the criteria are not met, the Rules of Procedure must state this, and set out how the decision-makers will exercise such discretion fairly.

 

11.  The Rules of Procedure should clearly set out what (if any) recourse is available to tenants whose applications are denied.

 

12.  Toronto Community Housing Corporation should consult with and draw on the experience of the City as it sets out to establish and administer an effective, efficient, transparent administrative decision-making body that is both procedurally and substantively fair. It could also look to the Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators for resources to assist with this.

 

Establishing and Communicating a Way for Toronto Community Housing Corporation to Fairly Serve Crisis Priority Tenants

 

13.  Toronto Community Housing Corporation should develop a system to quickly and effectively assess the housing needs of households that have qualified for Crisis priority transfers and to identify suitable alternative units to offer them. Households with Crisis priority should have limited ability to refuse reasonable offers before losing their place on the waiting list. This is so that other households with circumstances warranting Crisis priority can also be fairly served.

 

Seeking Help Beyond Toronto Community Housing Corporation to Make the Process Fair and Effective

 

14.  Toronto Community Housing Corporation should explore ways of enhancing the new Crisis priority process by leveraging existing relationships that it has with the City, as well as with the Toronto Police Service, medical consultants and/or community organizations. Toronto Community Housing Corporation should also explore developing new relationships of this type.

 

15.  Toronto Community Housing Corporation should clarify what information it requires from police services in Crisis priority transfer applications and in what form. In doing so, it should consider the restrictions that police sometimes put on the release of information.

 

Addressing the Current Medical and Safety at Risk Priority List, Which is Bloated and Stale

 

16.  Toronto Community Housing Corporation should consider whether it will eliminate or keep the existing Medical and Safety at Risk priority transfer waiting list.

 

17.  Whatever Toronto Community Housing Corporation decides to do with the existing Medical and Safety at Risk priority waiting list, it should notify every household on that list that they may apply for the new Crisis priority status if they believe they meet the qualifying criteria.

 

18.  Even if Toronto Community Housing Corporation decides to keep the existing Medical and Safety at Risk priority transfer waiting list, we recommend that it stop accepting new applications for Medical and Safety at Risk priority when the Crisis priority process comes into effect.

 

Communicating the Changes

 

19.  Toronto Community Housing Corporation should develop a communication plan with respect to all of the changes it plans to make to its priority transfer process. This plan should include, at minimum:

 

- plain language educational materials to inform tenants about the changes and how they will affect tenants;

- plain language educational materials to inform Toronto Community Housing Corporation staff about the changes and their new responsibilities; and

- communication to the public about the changes, including through Toronto Community Housing Corporation's website.

 

No More Priority Transfers Outside the Established Process

 

20.  Once the Crisis priority process is in operation, Toronto Community Housing Corporation should make no transfers outside the internal transfer process. Any exceptions should be approved by the Chief Executive Officer and documented.

 

Toronto Community Housing Corporation Should Commit to Making These Changes as Soon as Possible

 

21.  The new Crisis priority is urgently needed. Toronto Community Housing Corporation should develop a detailed implementation plan by the end of March 2018, providing that the Crisis priority process will be in place by the end of June 2018.

 

2.  City Council request the Ombudsman to report to City Council in the first quarter of 2019 on the progress of implementation of the recommendations in the investigation report (January 24, 2018) from the Ombudsman.

City Council Decision Advice and Other Information

The Ombudsman gave a presentation to City Council on an Investigation into Toronto Community Housing Corporation's Medical and Safety at Risk Priority Transfer Process for Tenants.

Background Information (City Council)

(January 24, 2018) Cover report from the Ombudsman on An Investigation into the Toronto Community Housing Corporation's Medical and Safety at Risk Priority Transfer Process for Tenants (CC36.12)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2018/cc/bgrd/backgroundfile-111730.pdf
Ombudsman Toronto Report: An Investigation into the Toronto Community Housing Corporation's Medical and Safety at Risk Priority Transfer Process for Tenants
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2018/cc/bgrd/backgroundfile-111731.pdf
(February 1, 2018) Presentation to City Council by the Ombudsman - An Investigation into TCHCs Medical and Safety at Risk Priority Transfer Process For Tenants (CC36.12a)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2018/cc/bgrd/backgroundfile-112398.pdf

Motions (City Council)

1 - Motion to Amend Item (Additional) moved by Councillor Paula Fletcher (Carried)

That City Council request the Ombudsman to report to City Council in the first quarter of 2019 on the progress of implementation of the recommendations in the report (January 24, 2018) from the Ombudsman.

Vote (Amend Item (Additional)) Feb-01-2018 4:15 PM

Result: Carried Majority Required - CC36.12 - Fletcher - motion 1
Total members that voted Yes: 35 Members that voted Yes are Paul Ainslie, Maria Augimeri, Ana Bailo, Jon Burnside, John Campbell, Christin Carmichael Greb, Shelley Carroll, Josh Colle, Gary Crawford, Joe Cressy, Vincent Crisanti, Janet Davis, Glenn De Baeremaeker, Justin J. Di Ciano, Sarah Doucette, Paula Fletcher, Michael Ford, Mary Fragedakis, Michelle Holland, Stephen Holyday, Jim Karygiannis, Norman Kelly, Chin Lee, Josh Matlow, Mary-Margaret McMahon, Joe Mihevc, Frances Nunziata (Chair), Cesar Palacio, Gord Perks, Anthony Perruzza, Neethan Shan, David Shiner, Michael Thompson, Lucy Troisi, Kristyn Wong-Tam
Total members that voted No: 0 Members that voted No are
Total members that were Absent: 10 Members that were absent are Frank Di Giorgio, John Filion, Mark Grimes, Jim Hart, Mike Layton, Giorgio Mammoliti, Denzil Minnan-Wong, James Pasternak, Jaye Robinson, John Tory

Motion to Adopt Item as Amended (Carried)

Declared Interests (City Council)

The following member(s) declared an interest:

Councillor Jim Hart - as his wife is an employee of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation.
Source: Toronto City Clerk at www.toronto.ca/council