Backgrounder: Tenant Engagement System Refresh in 2018

Tenants and Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) staff have worked together over the past several years to develop a refreshed engagement system that encourages and empowers more TCHC tenants to get involved in their community.

This year marks an exciting new milestone as Toronto Community Housing starts a process to implement proposed changes to the tenant engagement system.

Tenant engagement is a critical lever for creating vibrant communities that tenants are proud to call home. The engagement system is how TCHC delivers on a commitment in the City of Toronto Shareholder Direction calling for a democratic system of active tenant participation that provides for tenant input on decisions at the local and corporate levels. TCHC is committed to providing an effective engagement system that allows tenants from all communities to get involved.

In 2018, TCHC engaged with more than 16,000 tenants about the proposed changes to refresh the engagement system. It undertook a broad consultation process to make sure that as many tenants as possible had opportunities to shape the proposed new model, and that the model developed through this process represented the diverse views and needs of TCHC's tenant population.

Did you know?

  • 3,326 tenants participated in community meetings to brainstorm local priorities
  • 10,205 tenants participated in activities to establish community priorities
  • 303 tenants participated in the consultations forums
  • 292 tenants participated in the community feedback forums
  • 125 tenants participated in the Tenant Volunteer Policy consultations
  • 2,380 tenants completed the section of the 2018 Tenant Experience Survey that addressed the tenant engagement system related

Draft tenant engagement system

Following approval by the TCHC Board of Directors of the City-wide Tenant-Staff Engagement Advisory Committee's (CWTSEAC) report (PDF) in 2017, Toronto Community Housing started an extensive consultation process to invite tenants to provide their ideas for a refreshed engagement system.

Through the consultation process, tenants told TCHC that they wanted a system that empowers them to voice their priorities. Tenants said that the system should allow for more tenant participation in local decision-making. It should also increase the capacity for tenants—regardless of age, race, gender, religion or ability—to engage with their community in a meaningful and accessible way.

The proposed refreshed engagement model provides opportunities for tenants to:

  • give input for community priorities
  • create an action plan to respond to tenant-identified priorities
  • be part of the decision-making processes for their community
  • implement and monitor their community action plan
  • work with other tenants to ensure staff and tenants follow an accountability framework
  • build on personal and professional skills
  • select a local engagement model of their preference

If approved by the TCHC board, the structure of the new tenant engagement system (PDF) will include three levels.

  1. Building/townhouse level, which is responsible for developing, monitoring and implementing community action plans
  2. Tenant Community Action Table, which works with tenants and stakeholders to address tenant priorities for communities within an operating unit boundary
  3. City-Wide Tenant Staff Governance Oversight Committee, which acts as resource and accountability structure for tenants and staff participating in the tenant engagement system

Quotes from TCHC tenants

"I am impressed with the intelligence and patience of the staff and how the new tenant engagement system looks. We have been trying to get other groups from the building involved, and this is the answer."

 – Jack Chappelle, Tenant

 "The new model involves and engages more people and allows tenants to meet and put their opinions on paper. It is about working with tenants and working with communities and bringing everybody together."

– Rui, tenant

Progress and next steps

The Tenant Services Committee approved the Tenant Engagement System Refresh model and implementation plan on May 31, 2019. Both the model and plan will be considered for approval by the TCHC Board of Directors in June 2019.

Pending the board's approval, TCHC will communicate with tenants to create awareness about the new tenant engagement system and their role in it.

Additional resources

About Toronto Community Housing

Toronto Community Housing is Canada's largest social housing provider. We provide homes for nearly 60,000 low- and moderate-income households in neighbourhoods across the city.