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As part of a commitment to delivering quality services to tenants, Toronto Community Housing will implement a transparent, accessible tenant complaint process.
Toronto Community Housing expects that in the normal course of business, there will be occasions where tenants do not feel that they have received adequate services, or that there are other issues that should be further addressed. These circumstances are to be expected in a service delivery business. Toronto Community Housing will endeavour to meet and exceed the standards of service delivery, and to respond to tenants promptly where concerns have been raised.
The tenant complaint process is not intended to replace the normal interactions that will occur between tenants and staff, and is not intended to be used prior to an issue first being raised with local staff responsible for the particular area. This means for example, that when a tenant has a request for maintenance that this request is addressed to the building or office staff in the local operating unit office. If the maintenance request is not resolved within a reasonable amount of time, or the request has been rejected, the tenant should address this locally with the staff person. If there is no resolution and the tenant feels this is an unreasonable response on the part of Toronto Community Housing staff, the complaint would then be directed to the Operating Unit Manager.
The Operating Unit Manager is responsible and accountable for ensuring the physical repair of buildings, the health of their communities and the achievement of specific performance expectations. The Operating Unit Manager also has the authority and ability to decide the best solution for each circumstance. If the tenant feels that the decision of the Operating Unit Manager is an unreasonable response on the part of Toronto Community Housing, they can appeal that decision to a senior Toronto Community Housing manager, as outlined below.
Toronto Community Housing expects that in the course of delivering services to tenants there will be complaints made about these services or about the manner in which the services were delivered. Toronto Community Housing is committed to establishing processes to ensure these complaints are heard, the facts of the complaint established, and where required, that remedial actions are undertaken.
The objectives of the tenant complaint process are to:
- provide a simple process which is accessible to all;
- provide a method for resolution of complaints about Toronto Community Housing services, harassment, or perceived inequity of treatment of tenants by Toronto Community Housing;
- provide a mechanism for review of management decisions that tenants do not feel are reasonable, as per requirements of the Social Housing Reform Act, 2000;
- recognize the objectives of the Shareholder Direction and the Property Standards Protocol for Toronto Community Housing Owned Buildings;
- ensure that all complaints are resolved in a timely fashion;
- track and resolve complaints;
- use the resolution of complaints as learning in the development of future policies and practices; and,
- create a process that supports the normal management structures of Toronto Community Housing and respects the authority and accountability of Toronto Community Housing front-line managers.
Defining a tenant complaint is not difficult. Any event or action that leads to tenant dissatisfaction is the basis for complaints. More complicated, is defining when a routine matter becomes a complaint for the purposes of the tenant complaint process. For the purposes of this process, complaints are generally defined as:
- requests for maintenance to which Toronto Community Housing staff has not responded in a timely fashion (within standards set by Toronto Community Housing);
- actions on tenancy-related matters to which Toronto Community Housing staff has not responded in a timely fashion (within standards set by Toronto Community Housing); and,
- events and/or issues that may be an infringement of tenant rights under legislation or Toronto Community Housing policies governing the conduct of staff and tenant representatives, human rights and harassment.
Application of this Process
The tenant complaint process applies to all Toronto Community Housing tenants. This process applies to communities managed directly by Toronto Community Housing, as well as communities managed by contracted property managers. Toronto Community Housing will ensure that the principles and practices of this process are followed where Toronto Community Housing uses third party services to provide housing services to communities.
In addition, for the purpose of this process, "Operating Unit Manager" refers to managers of Toronto Community Housing directly managed communities and communities where property management services are contracted.
In all cases, however, tenants should seek to resolve issues with their local managers first. Only when all attempts to resolve issues locally are exhausted should these tenants seek remedies as outlined in this process.
The Tenant Complaint Process has been developed based on these principles:
- Toronto Community Housing is responsible for ensuring that tenants have the ability to raise a complaint through an open and accessible process and to have it addressed in a timely manner.
- Tenants have the right to quality property management services in a discrimination-free environment.
- Staff at the local level, building and/or operating unit office, should have the opportunity to address a complaint about a service/decision they have applied.
- Operating Unit Managers are accountable for their community and the decisions made within their community, and as such, are entitled to an opportunity to resolve or address the situation.
- Tenants have the right to appeal a decision made by the Operating Unit Manager.
- Tenants have the right to timely resolution of their complaint/appeal.
- Tenants and staff will be informed of the process and the outcome of the complaint/appeal.
- Complaints and complaint resolution will be tracked and reported on, in line with other performance measures for the organization.
- A communication and education is provided to ensure that all tenants and all staff are informed of their rights and responsibilities under this process.
Service Delivery Issues
- Tenant informs Operating Unit staff of the specific complaint. The complaint may be made either in person at the building or operating unit office or by telephone to the contact centre.
- Operating Unit or contact centre staff will record the complaint on a database and will inform the Operating Unit Manager within one day of receiving the complaint.
- In the event a complaint cannot be satisfactorily resolved by the Operating Unit Manager, the tenant can address the matter to the Director.
- In the event a complaint cannot be satisfactorily resolved by the Director, the tenant can address the matter to the Chief Operating Officer and if not resolved to the Chief Executive Officer
- Staff responsible for responding to the complaint will respond within 10 working days of receipt. In the event the complaint cannot be resolved, staff will inform the tenant of the anticipated time it will take to resolve the complaint. In all cases, the tenant will be informed of the outcome within 10 working days of the decision being made.
Note: A tenant may refer a complaint regarding a property standards issue that has been raised with Toronto Community Housing and not addressed to the Municipal Licensing and Standards Division of the City of Toronto. This also applies if there is a situation where Toronto Community Housing has not responded to a complaint related to property standards within 30 days. Tenants have that right under the City's Property Standards Protocol for Toronto Community Housing owned Buildings which is consistent with what applies to all landlords and tenants in the City of Toronto.
Service Delivery Issues related directly to an Operating Unit Manager
- Complaints about service delivery issues related directly to an Operating Unit Manager can be filed with the contact centre.
- Contact Centre staff will forward this complaint, within one day, to the Operating Unit Manager or the appropriate senior manager.
Human Rights or Harassment Complaints that involve an Operating Unit Manager
- Where a tenant has a complaint related to human rights or harassment that involves an Operating Unit Manager, this complaint can be made using the contact centre line or directly to the office of the Chief Executive Officer.
- Where the Contact Centre has received a complaint that relates to harassment or infringement of human rights, contact centre staff would forward this complaint, within one day, to the Office of the Chief Executive Officer.
- The Chief Executive Officer will respond to the tenant complaint within 10 working days of receiving the complaint.