External advisory committee for Office of the Commissioner of Housing Equity

External advisory committee for Office of the Commissioner of Housing Equity

August 15, 2013

Further to the update in July on the LeSage Review and Ombudsman Report implementation, an external committee will advise Toronto Community Housing on how to create an Office of the Commissioner of Housing Equity.

Toronto Community Housing has committed to putting the office in place by September 2013. The LeSage Review called for the establishment of a Commissioner of Housing Equity to review cases where vulnerable residents face loss of subsidy or eviction for not paying rent.

The external advisory committee is independent of Toronto Community Housing and reports to Toronto Community Housing's board of directors via its co-chairs, board members Catherine Wilkinson and Jennifer Wood.

Members include Toronto Community Housing residents, representatives from the human rights, community law, and mental health sectors, and City of Toronto staff. Three Toronto Community Housing staff are on the committee to provide subject expertise and support, but do not participate in decision-making.

Committee membership



  • Catherine Feldman Axford, St.Stephens House
  • Anita Balakrishna, York University
  • Anita Barnes, Neighbourhood Legal Services
  • Cathy Birch, a resident
  • Alan Duddin, a resident
  • Ruth Goba, Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation
  • Lew Golding, Manager, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
  • Brook Physick, Flemington Community Legal Services
  • Grace Pluchino, Downsview Community Legal Clinic

City of Toronto

  • Andrea Austen, Social Development, Finance& Administration
  • Cindy Miranda, Toronto Employment and Social Services
  • Teresa Tucci, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration

Toronto Community Housing (subject experts)

  • Maurice Brenner, Managing Director, Office of Diversity, Fairness and Human Rights
  • Kola Iluyomade, Mental Health Liaison
  • Hugh Lawson, Director, Strategic Planning and Stakeholder Relations


The Committee is asked to make recommendations as identified below to the Board of Directors for a Commissioner of Housing Equity who would undertake a review of potential evictions for arrears where the household includes a senior (age 59 and greater). The Commissioner would also review decisions resulting in a loss of rent-geared-to-income eligibility for the same households. And the Commissioner would invite residents to participate in mediation by outside mediators.

  • The Committee will recommend the role and job functions of the Commissioner.
  • The Committee will recommend the job qualifications of the Commissioner.
  • The Committee may recommend the organization of the office of the Commissioner which may include number and type of staff.
  • The Committee may recommend criteria to be considered in choosing the location of the Commissioner's office.
  • The Committee will evaluate the functioning of the Commissioner's office after at least six months of operation and report to the Board.



The committee will make recommendations to the Toronto Community Housing board of directors during the fall of 2013. The committee will have finished its work once the evaluation of the Commissioner's office has been completed.

All committee meetings will take place in the conference room at 931 Yonge St. from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Meetings are open to the public.

Meeting schedule:

  • Tuesday, August 6
  • Tuesday, August 13
  • Tuesday, August 20