Access system rules
This section provides an overview of amendments to Ontario Regulation 367/11 under the Housing Services Act, 2011 (HSA) related to new access system requirements.
Overview of changes
Section 10.2 of the HSA will come into force on January 1, 2023. This section requires a service manager to have an access system for assistance related to housing in its service area.
The forms of assistance that must be included in the access system include rent-geared-to-income (RGI) assistance, any form of assistance described in regulation, and any specified program approved by the Minister.
The amended Ontario Regulation 367/11 requires that the access system include any form of financial housing assistance that is:
- provided in respect of households (targeted towards households) and that either reduces the rent that a household must otherwise pay, or is to assist the household in paying rent
- funded or administered, or both, by the service manager
Examples of forms of assistance
The access system must include forms of assistance that are targeted to specific households and are either provided to landlords to reduce rent or provided directly to households to assist them in paying rent. Examples of such assistance include RGI assistance, rent supplements, portable housing benefits, housing allowances, flat rate benefits, and short-term/emergency financial assistance.
These forms of assistance must be included in the access system if they are funded and administered by the service manager, funded by another level of government and administered by the service manager, or funded by the service manager and administered by another entity.
Service managers are not required to but may also include other forms of assistance in their access systems, such as affordable housing.
The amended regulation requires that the following information be made publicly available through the access system:
- the forms of assistance available under the access system (such as RGI assistance, portable housing benefits)
- a description of how to apply for the forms of assistance that can be accessed by the public (for example, filling out RGI assistance application or applying directly with Indigenous or other housing providers)
- eligibility rules, and a description of how households are prioritized and selected for each form of assistance administered by the service manager
When households are offered a form of assistance in the access system that is administered by the service manager, the household must be notified, in writing, of:
- the initial amount of the assistance, and a description of the method used to calculate the assistance (if the assistance is provided in the form of reduced rent (such as RGI assistance), it must include a description of the method used to calculate the rent)
- a description of the criteria for assessing continued eligibility for the assistance
- any effect that receiving this assistance will have on basic financial assistance that a member of the household is receiving under Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program
Rules for assistance that is funded, but not administered, by service managers
For assistance that service managers fund but do not administer (for example, funding provided to preserve RGI assistance for Urban Native Housing Units), the service manager would only be required to make information publicly available to households about:
- the forms of assistance available
- a description of how to apply for the forms of assistance that can be accessed by the public
Households can contact their local service manager for more information on where to find publicly available information on forms of housing assistance and how to apply. Find your local service manager.
Date in effect
The amendments to Ontario Regulation 367/11 related to requirements for the service manager’s access system come into effect on January 1, 2023.