Backgrounder: Toronto Community Housing’s 2017 Tenant Survey

Backgrounder: Toronto Community Housing’s 2017 Tenant Survey

November 30, 2017

Toronto Community Housing hired the global market research firm Ipsos to conduct its 2017 Tenant Survey. In March, Ipsos mailed the survey to a random sample of 16,900 tenants. More than 3,550 tenants completed the survey, a response rate of 21 per cent. 


Key survey findings

  • Overall satisfaction (67%) improved by three percentage points compared with TCHC's previous survey conducted in 2015.
  • The most important drivers of overall satisfaction were staff being respectful toward tenants (74 per cent satisfied), staff keeping tenants informed of changes (73 per cent satisfied), and building conditions (62 per cent satisfied).
  • The survey reported a five-percentage-point improvement in the "very satisfied" category across the portfolio and a six-percentage-point improvement for TCHC's seniors buildings. 
  • 74 per cent of seniors said they were satisfied with TCHC, with satisfaction even higher among those living in seniors-designated buildings (78 per cent versus 64 per cent in 2015).
  • 70 per cent of tenants rated the service received from the Client Care Centre as good or very good, compared with 63 per cent in 2015.
  • 70 per cent of tenants in direct-managed buildings were satisfied with the services they receive, compared with 55 per cent of tenants in contract-managed buildings (up from 52 per cent in 2015).  
  • The percentage (64%) of tenants who were satisfied with the condition of their units is unchanged from 2015.  But ratings for lighting, doors, heating, windows and window locks, walls and ceilings, and exhaust fans all improved significantly.
  • 62 cent of tenants were satisfied with the condition of their buildings, up from 59 per cent in 2015. Ratings for common areas, parking lots, garages and elevators all improved significantly.
  • 58 per cent of tenants were satisfied with building safety and security, unchanged from 2015. Tenants' ratings of the assistance they received from the Community Safety Unit was also unchanged from 2015; however, more tenants identified drunken and rowdy behaviour and illegally parked vehicles as problems in 2017.

Action Plan

TCHC values the input provided by tenants through the survey, which helps to identify where it can continue to improve service delivery to tenants. Based on the survey findings, TCHC is implementing the following actions for improvement.

Building conditions and unit conditions

  • Capital repairs: TCHC will invest $300-million in building capital repairs in 2018, and increase of $50 million to its capital repair budgets of $250 million in both 2017 and 2016. If supported by the City, this record level of investment will enable TCHC to accelerate its efforts to repair buildings and improve living conditions for tenants.

  • Vendor management: TCHC is strengthening its vendor management program to ensure a higher quality of work, and to hold contractors and consultants more accountable. Implementation of ongoing random surveys through the "Closing the Loop" program, to begin in late 2017, will enable TCHC to collect information on contractor performance on a more timely basis and respond accordingly.
  • High-needs building approach: With funding support from the City of Toronto, TCHC is continuing to implement approaches to address severe unit conditions, such as pests, poor sanitation and excessive clutter.

Safety and security

  • Security cameras: TCHC is replacing older analog cameras with digital cameras that have better resolution and clearer, more responsive features. This will serve as a deterrent to crime and provide TCHC with stronger evidence of anti-social behavior or property damage.
In 2017 and 2018, TCHC will install or upgrade 4,000 cameras in more than 100 communities. It will also introduce new software that will improve the management of camera surveillance and better integrate camera data with the Toronto Police Service Operations Centre.

  • Community safety: The Community Safety Unit (CSU) is hiring more special constables to provide an increased presence in the community. As well, a new deployment model implemented in 2017 is enabling the special constables to have a greater community presence and more engagement with tenants, while also providing improved staff coverage during peak service times.

  • Fire safety: TCHC is enhancing fire safety in all its buildings through a range of measures, including a tenant education campaign on fire prevention.

  • Partnership with Crime Stoppers: The CSU is enhancing partnership activities with Toronto Crime Stoppers to promote awareness of the Crime Stoppers program. CSU will hold a total of 20 tenant education sessions in 2017, and it will begin receiving nuisance tips from Crime Stoppers so it can respond accordingly.

Customer service

  • Annual tenant surveys: Going forward, TCHC will conduct the tenant satisfaction survey annually to measure and report on performance against key drivers of tenant satisfaction more frequently and to enable more timely responses to tenants' concerns.
  • "Closing the Loop" program: TCHC will expand the "Closing the Loop" program which was successfully piloted in 2015 and 2016. TCHC has begun collecting ongoing, continuous feedback from tenants on recent work order requests and issues that affect overall satisfaction.

Tenants will be invited to provide feedback on their customer service experience through the "Closing the Loop" pulse survey, which will use telephone, mail and online channels. In addition, tenants who have not recently had a work order request will be asked questions that reflect key drivers of satisfaction.

  • New contracts for property management companies: TCHC implemented new contracts for property management services in May 2017 to improve performance. The new contracts include several additional performance targets specific to achieving customer service, maintenance, cleaning, and operating targets. Failing to meet the targets set in the new contracts could result in financial penalties for the service providers.
  • IT system upgrades: TCHC is in the process of acquiring a new information technology systems for its operations, which will support TCHC team members in delivering better customer service to tenants. The new system is expected to launch in late 2019.
  • Integration with the 2019-2021 strategic plan: Drivers of tenant satisfaction indicated in the 2017 and 2018 tenant surveys will be used to support the development of TCHC's 2019-2021 Strategic Plan. TCHC will engage tenants directly on the plan's development.

About Toronto Community Housing

Toronto Community Housing ( is Canada's largest social housing provider. We are owned by the City of Toronto and provide homes for nearly 60,000 low- and moderate-income households in 106 of the city's 144 neighbourhoods. Our 2,100 buildings represent a $10-billion public asset.

Media contact:
TCHC media line: 416-737-1352