By Rob Elbertsen
Beginning in 2014, the city initiated a review of multi-tenant houses – commonly referred to as rooming houses– to analyze the current bylaws and regulations pertaining to rooming houses. Currently, they are allowed to operate under various bylaws in the former city of Toronto, former city of Etobicoke and the former city of York, but not in the former city of Scarborough, former city of North York or East York District.
The goals of the city’s review are to identify: issues affecting the regulation and enforcement of rooming house standards; opportunities to improve rooming house conditions; and ways to minimize the rooming house impact(s) on surrounding communities.
The city also wants to harmonize rules and regulations under one city-wide bylaw.
During 2015, more than 1,500 individuals and groups from North York, Scarborough, Etobicoke and Central Toronto were engaged in the review through various meetings. There was also an online survey and a dedicated city email address to receive feedback.
In late 2015-2016, city staff drafted a proposed zoning and licensing rooming house strategy based on the review findings and other research. One component of this strategy is to implement a rooming house pilot program in five areas within the city where they are currently not permitted. One of the proposed pilot neighbourhoods is within Highland Creek, in the UTSC campus area.
This past June, City of Toronto staff hosted Rooming House Review public information sessions in the impacted neighbourhoods. A session took place at UTSC to specifically focus on the Highland Creek pilot neighbourhood. Based on feedback/ consultation, further research and analysis, city staff will prepare a report that is expected to go to Executive Committee in late October/early November.
Our local Ward 44 Councillor Jim Hart, in collaboration with the Highland Creek Community Association, will be hosting a community meeting on the proposed rooming house pilot as follows:
Tuesday, October 10
6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Royal Canadian Legion, Highland Creek Branch
45 Lawson Rd.
Centennial community residents are encouraged to attend. Additional background information can be found on the city’s web page at www.toronto.ca/roominghouse review.