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Social Housing (Ontario) Legal Guide
(23 November 2021)

Ch.3 - RGI Eligibility Rules


  1. Overview
  2. Provincial RGI Eligibility Rules
    (a) Defining a "Household"
    (b) Ineligibility Exception for Social Housing Debt from a Previous Tenancy
    (c) Cessation of Eligibility for Failure to Notify of Changes or Occurence of Events
    . Overview
    . Change in Information Reporting Duty
    . Occurence of Events Reporting Duty
    . Manner of Compliance
    . Service Manager Exception
    . Housing Provider Mandate Exception
    (d) Cessation of Eligibility for Failure to Provide Information on Eligibility Review or to Determine Amount of RGI
    (e) Cessation of Eligibility for Not Filing Tax Returns
    (f) Cessation of Eligibility for Extended Period of RGI Equalling Market Rent
    (g) Cessation of Eligibility for Failure to Realize Specified Public Income
    (h) Cessation of Eligibility for Failure to Divest Residential Real Estate
    . Overview
    . Timelines
    . Special Priority Extension (Abuse and Trafficking)
    (i) Cessation of Eligibility if Acceptance of Portable Housing Benefit
    (j) Cessation of Eligibility if (Single) Refusal of Offer of RGI Unit
  3. Local RGI Eligibility Rules
    (a) Overview
    (b) Local Rules About Maximum Household Income
    (c) Local Rules About Maximum Household Assets
    . Overview
    . Mandatory Exempt Assets
    (d) Local Rules About Certain Convictions
    (e) Local Rules About Maximum Absence From Unit
    (f) Local Occupancy Standards
    (g) Local Rule About Over-Housing
    (h) Local Rule About Non-Local Discrimination
    (i) Local Rule About RGI Duration Discrimination
  4. Periodic RGI Reviews



1. Overview

One important point from the start is that eligibility for rent-geared-to-income (RGI) assistance is distinct from the legal tenancy that the household has with the housing provider. Also, the 'household' (which is the holder of RGI eligibility), is not necessarily the same as the tenant (or co-tenants) which hold the tenancy lease. That said, a prolonged disentitlement (or a prolonged zero RGI rate) to RGI eligibility will normally result in a termination of the tenancy [see s.2(f), below].

The RGI eligibility rules are both provincial and local [HSA 42(1)]. I set out fully the provincial rules [s.2 below], but - in this Ontario-based legal guide - the most I can do locally (municipally) is to set out the HSA 'rules about local rules' - that is, the HSA-allowed topics and range of the local RGI rules.

There are as many sets of local rules as there are large municipalities in Ontario, and they are listed (with their 'service areas') here: General Reg, Schedule 2 - Service Managers and Service Areas (Section 6).

It is essential to realize that for advocacy purposes both sets of rules have to be considered together. Obtaining copies of the local rules is addressed in Ch.9 ["Advocacy"].

Provincial eligibility rules are extensive, and mostly consist of ineligibility criteria. They are set out below in s.2 [Genl Reg 23-32.2]. Local rules (set out below in s.3) are made by the local service manager (who is normally the local municipality) and are more restricted [HSA 42(2-3)].

In the event of conflict between the two sets of rules, provincial rules are paramount - "unless the provincial eligibility rule provides otherwise" [HSA 42(4)].


2. Provincial RGI Eligibility Rules

(a) Defining a "Household"

RGI eligibility is held by a 'household', which requires [Genl Reg 24(1)]:
  • at least one member of the household must be 16 years old or older and able to live independently;

    A person can live independently "if he or she can carry out the normal essential activities of day-to-day living, either on his or her own or with the aid of support services that the individual demonstrates will be provided when required" [Genl Reg 24(2)];

  • each member of the household must meet at least one of the following criteria:
    . the member is a Canadian citizen,

    . the member has made an application for status as a permanent resident under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada), or

    . the member has made a claim for refugee protection under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada).
    Like welfare and ODSP recipients, "(a) household is ineligible for rent-geared-to-income assistance if a removal order has become enforceable under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada) against any member of the household" [Genl Reg 25].
These above conditions must be maintained to retain RGI eligibility [Genl Reg 27].

The essential concept of the 'household' - other than collective physical cohabitation - is that the income and assets of all members of the household are assessed collectively in order to determine initial and ongoing RGI eligibility. However this calculation is not the same as a social assistance 'benefit unit', as a household may comprise a benefit unit and a 'family unit' [see Ch.7 - "RGI Rent Amount Calculation (Income Rules)"].

A 'household' can be constituted at a minimum by a single person [HSA 2 defns].

(b) Ineligibility Exception for Social Housing Debt from a Previous Tenancy

If a member of the household owes any of the following debts with respect to a previous tenancy in any housing project under any transferred housing program [listed at Reg 368/11: Designated Housing Projects - Section 68 of the Act], the household will be ineligible (subject to the below exception and possible debt reduction) [Genl Reg 26(1)]:
  • arrears of rent;

  • RGI assistance improperly received [under HSA 56: "Assistance improperly received"] or reimbursement of excess RGI subsidy amount to service manager [under SHRA 86: "Reimbursement of service manager"]; or

  • an amount for damage caused by a current member of the household.
The service manager can except this rule (another exception to an exception) if they are satisfied that [Reg 26(2)]:
  • there are "extenuating circumstances", or

  • "a member of the household has entered into an agreement, or made reasonable efforts to enter into an agreement, with the person to whom the arrears or amount is owed for the payment of the arrears or amount and the service manager is satisfied that the member is making or intends to make all reasonable efforts to repay the arrears or amount". [ie. a 'debt payback agreement']
Additionally, in the case of such a debt payback agreement (or efforts to enter into agreement) the debt shall be halved if [Genl Reg 26(3)]:
  • "a request has been made for the household to be included in the special priority household category and the request would be or has been granted" [for 'Special Priority' see Ch.6]; and

  • "the arrears or amount is owed with respect to a unit of which the member and the abusing individual were joint tenants".
If any of these ineligibility debts are incurred at any time after initial eligibility, then they operate to disentitle the household from RGI eligibility in their current tenancy - subject to the same exception and debt reductions [Genl Reg 27].

(c) Cessation of Eligibility for Failure to Notify of Changes or Occurence of Events

. Overview

The HSA requires households to promptly notify the service manager of any changes in their circumstances which may effect their eligibility for RGI or it's amount.

Tenants should think of this as a duty. My advice to welfare and ODSP recipients (which is a very similar field for these purposes) for years has been: 'if in doubt, report'. This may seem at odds with my writings in the Welfare (Ontario Works) Guide [see Ch.5: 'Information Eligibility'], where I am of the view that the government chronically abuses it's information entitlements, but the consequence of cut-off for recipients is normally too extreme to risk it. These are potentially very difficult cases, especially where criminal fraud is a live issue.

. Change in Information Reporting Duty

It can be difficult for the average household member to determine which changes matter and which don't - but the law is that if is a change in information that the household member was previously "required to provide for the purposes of determining the household’s eligibility or continued eligibility" or required to determine the amount of rent payable, that change in information should be reported to the service manage promptly - or risk losing eligibility [Genl Reg 28(1,2)].]

. Occurence of Events Reporting Duty

As well, if any of the following events occur the same duty to notify applies [Genl Reg 28(1,2.1]]:
  1. Composition of Household

    A permanent change in the composition of the household.

  2. End in Attendence at Educational Institution

    A member of the household whose income was not included in the calculation of geared-to-income rent because the member was in full-time attendance at a recognized educational institution is no longer in full-time attendance at such an institution.

  3. Commencement or Termination in Welfare or ODSP

    A member of the household begins to receive or stops receiving basic financial assistance under the Ontario Works Act, 1997 or income support under the Ontario Disability Support Program Act, 1997 (3).

  4. Permanent Increase in Non-Benefit Income Over Income Limit

    A permanent increase in the monthly income of any member of a benefit unit, excluding members who are in full-time attendance at a recognized educational institution, that causes the benefit unit’s total income, other than any welfare basic financial assistance or ODSP income support referred immediately above, to exceed the applicable monthly non-benefit income limit set out in Reg 316/19 (Determination of Geared-to-Income Rent under Section 50 of the Act, s.12 [scroll down to see Column 3 in all of Tables 1-3] [Genl Reg 28(8)].

  5. Reassessment or New Assessment of Income Taxes

    The taxes of a member of the household whose income tax information was used in the calculation of geared-to-income rent have been reassessed or additionally assessed under section 152 of the Income Tax Act (Canada),

    . since the last annual review [under HSA Reg 316/19, s.10: "Annual review of geared-to-income rent payable"] or

    . if no annual review has taken place, since the initial calculation of geared-to-income rent [under HSA Reg 316/19, s.2: "Geared-to-income rent payable".]
. Manner of Compliance

The household shall notify the service manager [Genl Reg 28(5)]:
  • for a change to a document, by providing a copy of the changed document;

  • for a change to information, by providing a notice setting out the change; and

  • for an occurrence of an event, by providing a notice setting out the details of the event.
Such reporting "must be given to the service manager within 30 days after the change or the occurrence of the event or within such longer period after the change or the occurrence of the event as the service manager may establish" (eg. by a local rule) [Genl Reg 28(3)]. "The service manager may extend the period of time for notifying the service manager, either before or after the period has expired" [Genl Reg 28(4)].

. Service Manager Exception

Despite a failure of these duties, "the service manager may determine that the household remains eligible if the service manager is satisfied that there are extenuating circumstances" [Genl Reg 28(7)].

. Housing Provider Mandate Exception

As well, if the housing provider has a "mandate under s.76 of the Act to provide housing to households that are homeless or hard to house", and the housing provider "informs the service manager that the housing provider is of the view that requiring the household to comply with this section would be inappropriate in the circumstances", these duties do not apply [Genl Reg 28(6)].

Varied policy mandates commonly occur amongst pre-reform transferred housing projects, you can inquire at the housing provider office.

(d) Cessation of Eligibility for Failure to Provide Information on Eligibility Review or to Determine Amount of RGI

There are periodic eligibility 'reviews' built into the HSA, both before (ie. during time on the waiting list) and after a tenancy has been established [see s.4 below, and Ch.7, ss.6-7: "RGI Rent Amount Calculation (Income Rules)"]. Failure to provide information when requested for the following reviews will result in RGI ineligibility (which in the case of a waiting list review can result in removal from the list: Ch.5, s.3 "Selection System") [Genl Reg 29(1)(a)]:
  • a review of already-established RGI [under HSA 52(1): "Review of continued eligibility"];

  • a waiting-list review [under Genl Reg 46(1)6: "System requirements — centralized waiting list"]
.As well, if the household fails to provide information when requested necessary to "determine the amount of rent payable by a household receiving rent-geared-to-income assistance" [under HSA 50(1): "Amount of geared-to-income rent"] then it shall result in a cessation of eligibility [Genl Reg 29(1)(b)].

Despite a failure of these duties, "the service manager may determine that the household remains eligible if the service manager is satisfied that there are extenuating circumstances" [Genl Reg 29(2)].

(e) Cessation of Eligibility for Not Filing Tax Returns

Integral to the calculation of the quantum of RGI assistance are timely income tax filings by all adult members of the household [see Ch.7: "RGI Rent Amount Calculation (Income Rules)"].

Failure to file a tax return by any adult household member of the household "before the day an annual review of the household’s geared-to-income rent commences" results in a cessation of RGI eligibility for the whole household [Genl Reg 29.1(1); Reg 316/19, 6(3)].

If the late-filing member(s) of the household later file their tax returns, then the service manager may reinstate RGI eligibility [Genl Reg 29.1(3)].

Despite disentitlement under this provision, the service manager may determine that the household remains RGI eligible if satisfied that there are "extenuating circumstances" [Genl Reg 29.1(2)].

(f) Cessation of Eligibility for Extended Period of RGI Equaling Market Rent

If the household is still technically eligible for RGI, but the amount of RGI is calculated at zero (eg. usually due to higher income of the household) for a consecutive period of 24 months, then RGI eligibility terminates [Genl Reg 30(a)].

(g) Cessation of Eligibility for Failure to Realize Specified Public Income

Like the other forms of social assistance (welfare and ODSP), the HSA system has a similar (and limited) 'duty to realize available assets': Ch.7, s.7 Duty to Realize Available Financial Resources. If a household member fails, after notice from the service agent, to make 'reasonable efforts' to realize specified sources of public benefit, then the household becomes RGI ineligible.

Such a notice from the service manager shall [Genl Reg 31(1)]:
  • state that the member may be eligible to receive income of the type specified in the notice;

  • request that the member apply for that income and to make reasonable efforts to do whatever is required to obtain a decision on the application and receive that income; and

  • give the household a reasonable period of time specified in the notice within which to inform the service manager of the results of the application.
RGI eligibility ceases if the service manager [Genl Reg 31(3)]:
  • receives no response from the household within the period of time specified in the notice; or

  • concludes, after receiving a response from the household, that the member has failed to make reasonable efforts to obtain income of the type specified in the notice.
The specified income sources are [Genl Reg 31(2)]:
  • basic financial assistance under the Ontario Works Act, 1997 ('welfare')'

  • spousal or child support under the Divorce Act (Canada), the Family Law Act or the Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act, 2002;

  • unemployment benefits under the Employment Insurance Act (Canada);

  • a monthly benefit under the Ontario Guaranteed Annual Income Act" [under OGAIA s.2];

  • a pension or supplement under Part I or II of the Old Age Security Act (Canada);

  • support or maintenance resulting from an undertaking given with respect to the member under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada).
Despite disentitlement under this provision, the service manager may determine that the household remains RGI eligible if satisfied that there are "extenuating circumstances" [Genl Reg 31(4)].

(h) Cessation of Eligibility for Failure to Divest Residential Real Estate

. Overview

All members of a household that are receiving RGI must divest themselves of their "interest in the property" of any "legal or beneficial interest in a freehold or leasehold estate in residential property located in or outside Ontario that is suitable for year-round occupancy", and as well they must "give() written verification of the divestment to the service manager". Failing which either duty the household's eligibility for RGI assistance shall cease [Reg 32(1)].

For this purpose "residential property" means [Genl Reg 32(5)]:
  • in the case of a property that is used for residential purposes, all or part of the property, or

  • in the case of a property part of which is used for residential purposes and part of which is used for other purposes, the part that is used for residential purposes.
The holding of non-residential (ie. commercial) real estate does not benefit from the below 'time to divest' provisions, and is thus considered a chargeable asset immediately.

. Timelines

The member's divestment "must occur and the verification of the divestment must be given" [Genl Reg 32(2)]:
  • Interest Held During Start of Receipt of Assistance

    Within 180 days of the first day of the month for which the household begins to receive RGI assistance, if the interest is held at the time the household begins to receive RGI assistance; or

  • Interest Held After Receipt of Assistance

    Within 180 days after the first day of the month in which the member acquires the interest in the property, if the member acquires it after the household begins to receive RGI assistance.
The service manager may extend the time for divestment "for such period of time [they] consider() appropriate", if they are "satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to do so" [Genl Reg 32(3)].

. Special Priority Extension (Abuse and Trafficking)

The service manager shall (not 'may') extend time "as the service manager considers appropriate" for the divestment and verification if all of the following criteria are met [Genl Reg 32(4-5)]:
  • Inclusion in the Special Priority List After Request

    The household was included in the special priority household category following a request for inclusion relating to the abuse, or trafficking, of a member of the household.

  • Inclusion in the Special Priority List While in Receipt of RGI

    The household was included in the special priority household category at the time the household began to receive RGI assistance.

  • Property Jointly Held by Household Member with Abuser or Trafficker

    The interest in the property is held jointly by a member of the household and the abusing or trafficking individual.

  • Notification by Member of Belief that Risk of Abuse Exists to Members If Divestment Pursued

    The member notifies the service manager that he or she believes that the divestment or the taking of steps to effect the divestment would place the member or any other member of the household at risk of abuse.
(i) Cessation of Eligibility if Acceptance of Portable Housing Benefit

A household that is receiving RGI assistance ceases to be eligible for such assistance if it has accepted an offer of a portable housing benefit and begins to receive that benefit [Genl Reg 32.1].
Backgrounder: Legal Status of Direct Rent Subsidies

This topic is about direct rent subsidies: ie. cash subsidies for private rentals (hereafter "rent subsidies"). There is no direct bulding of social housing involved but you can see how the issue is related. This topic was the last I did in this Social Housing (Ontario) Legal Guide, and it had to be pieced together painstakingly from any references to the topic that I found.

First off, it appears to be an entirely Part V issue, as both pre-2000 "Rent Supplement Programs" [HSA 39(1), Genl Reg 18 and Sched 1], and later rent subsidies [the current one is the Canada-Ontario Housing Benefit (COHF)] (which are referred to as an "alternate form of financial assistance"), are under Part V of the HSA, which applies to "rent-geared-to-income assistance" [HSA 39(1), 40(3.1), 47(4)]. That said, it is also clear that the HSA regime does not view such 'rent subsidies' as a form of 'RGI assistance': ie. "even if no rent-geared-to-income assistance is provided to the household under this Part" [HSA 40(3.1)] (this is in reference to COHF and similar programs). So rent subsidies appear to be an 'add on' to the RGI world.

The 'modern' form of rent subsidies (in the HSA) is called "portable housing benefit" ('portable housing benefit'). It is defined as "an alternate form of financial assistance" "if the financial assistance is in the form of a monthly benefit" [Genl Reg 1(1), 9(2), 20.1], and conforms with Schedule 4.1 of the General Reg. If such a 'portable housing benefit' is paid to a household then the service manager may 'count' it as one household towards their 'minimum service level' requirements, and thus avoid the need to provide one unit of RGI housing [HSA 40(3.1)] [see Ch.2, s.3(d) "The Minimum 'Service Level' Number of Units"].

Tempting though being offered a 'portable housing benefit' may be to a household, if they "ha(ve) accepted an offer" of a portable housing benefit, then the household ceases to be eligible for RGI assistance [Genl Reg 32.1, 32.2] (but see Note below).
Note:
The HSA allows for regulations to be made regarding local rules regarding this disentitling rule, but no regulations have yet been made [HSA 47(4)] - although the centralized waiting list rules must provide for such removal from the waiting list "(u)nless the service manager is satisfied that there are extenuating circumstances" [Genl Reg 46.1(1)5.1].
(j) Cessation of Eligibility if (Single) Refusal of Offer of RGI Unit

It used to be (prior to 01 January 2021) that a household's initial number of offers of RGI units was locally determined (commonly it was three offers before disentitlement).

After that date, a household ceases to RGI eligible if they refuse only one RGI unit if that offer both: "meets the service manager’s occupancy standards", and "is in a housing project for which the household has expressed a preference" [Genl Reg 32.2(1)]. For these purposes, "an offer of a portable housing benefit shall not be considered a refusal" [Genl Reg 32.2(2)].

Despite disentitlement under this provision, the service manager may determine that the household remains RGI eligible if satisfied that there are "extenuating circumstances" [Genl Reg 32.2(3)].

The service manager shall make reasonable efforts to notify households about the above eligibility rules [Genl Reg 32.2(5)].


3. Local RGI Eligibility Rules

(a) Overview

The following are 'rules about rules', that is: HSA rules about what local (ie. service manager-made) rules may contain [HSA 42(2-3), Genl Reg 33-41]. Think of them as what a municipality or DSSAB (who are all 'service managers') would look to when they are drafting their local RGI rules.

Remember, as an advocate you have to determine the specific local rules in each case: see Ch. 9 "Advocacy". It is my strong suspicion that the accumulation of a 'full set' of local rules may prove to be a major challenge for many advocates.

(b) Local Rules About Maximum Household Income

Service manager may make local rules regarding the maximum income for a household to be eligible for RGI [Genl Reg 34(1)].

If they do make such rules, the rules must specify that 'income' of the household is "the total income of the members of the household for a 12-month period specified by the service manager" and that income is "the sum of all payments made to, on behalf of, or for the benefit of the members, other than payments that are excluded under the local eligibility rule" [Genl Reg 34(2)].

The local income rule may provide for "different maximum incomes for units of different types and sizes and for units in different parts of the service manager’s service area" [Genl Reg 34(3)].

The maximum income for a unit specified in the local eligibility rule must be at least the household income limit set out in Reg 370/11: High Need Households and Household Income Limits – Subsection 40 (4) of the Act, for such a unit [Genl Reg 34(4)].

(c) Local Rules About Maximum Household Assets

. Overview

Service managers may make local rules regarding the maximum assets for a household to have to still be eligible for RGI [Genl Reg 35(1)]. "The maximum value specified in the local eligibility rule must be at least $20,000" [Genl Reg 35(4)].

The local asset rule may provide "for different maximum values for units of different types and sizes and for units in different parts of the service manager’s service area" [Genl Reg 35(3)].

If they do make such rules, the rules must specify that "the value of the assets of the household is the total value of the assets of the members of the household other than assets that are excluded under the local eligibility rule" [Genl Reg 35(2)].

. Mandatory Exempt Assets

Local eligibility rules must exclude the following from the value of the assets of the household (ie. they can optionally exclude more) [Genl Reg 35(5)]:
  • Non-business Motor Vehicle

    The value of the interest of a member of the household in a motor vehicle that is not used primarily for the operation of a business by a member of the household (if it is for business it falls under the 'business' exemption, below). "The local eligibility rule is only required to exclude an interest of a member in a single vehicle, not in any other vehicle that member has an interest in" [Genl Reg 35(6)].

  • Tools of a Trade

    The value of tools of a trade that are essential to the work of a member of the household as an employee.

  • Business Assets

    The value of assets of a member of the household that are necessary to the operation of a business that the member operates or has an interest in.

    The local eligibility rule is only required to exclude the value of business assets [Genl Reg 35(7)]:

    . of a member of the household, up to a maximum of $20,000 for that member; and

    . necessary to the operation of a business, up to a maximum of $20,000 for that business.

  • Prepaid Funeral Value

    The value of a prepaid funeral.

  • Cash Surrender Value of Life Insurance Policy

    The cash surrender value of a life insurance policy. The local eligibility rule is only required to exclude the cash surrender value of life insurance policies up to a maximum value of $100,000 for the household [Genl Reg 35(8)].

  • Disability-Related Loan Against Life Insurance Policy

    The proceeds of a loan taken against a life insurance policy that will be used for disability-related items or services.

  • Welfare Employment Incentives Used for Post-Secondary Education

    A person on welfare (Ontario Works) is eligible for employment assistance for the successful completion of a high school diploma, the development of employment-related skills, and the further development of the person’s parenting skills [Ontario Works Act, Genl Reg 26(9)]. Successful completion of these programs can result in incentive payments made under the Ministry of Community and Social Services Act. Those payments are exempt from asset treatment to the extent that "the value of any portion of that payment that, within a time that is reasonable in the opinion of the service manager, will be used for the member’s post-secondary education".

  • RESP funds for Children

    The value of funds held in a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) for a child of a member of the household.

  • Clothing, Jewellry or Personal Effects

    The value of the clothing, jewellery and other personal effects of a member of the household.

  • Household Furnishings

    The value of the furnishings in the accommodation used by the household, including decorative or artistic items, but not including anything used primarily for the operation of a business.

  • Trusts Derived from Inheritance or Life Insurance Policy

    The value of the beneficial interest in a trust of a member of the household who has a disability if the capital of the trust was derived from an inheritance or from the proceeds of a life insurance policy. "The local eligibility rule is only required to exclude the value of beneficial interests in the trust of a member of the household up to a maximum value of $100,000 for that member" [Genl Reg 35(9)].

    As this provision applies to the 'beneficial interest' that a member has in the trust, funds in a Henson trust are not counted for these purposes.

  • RDSP Funds

    The value of funds held in a Registered Disability Savings Plan if the beneficiary of the plan is a member of the household.

  • Service-Manager Approved Savings Accounts

    The value of funds held in an account of a member of the household in conjunction with an initiative under which the service manager or an entity approved by the service manager commits to contribute funds towards the member’s savings goals.
(d) Local Rules About Certain Offence Convictions

Service managers may make local rules regarding RGI ineligibility if a member of the household has been convicted of [Genl Reg 36(1)]:
  • an offence under HSA s.55 ["Prohibition re obtaining assistance"];

  • an offence under s.85 ["Prohibition re obtaining assistance"] of the Social Housing Reform Act, 2000 [SHRA], or

  • a crime under the Criminal Code (Canada) in relation to the receipt of rent-geared-to-income assistance.
The local eligibility rule must not provide for a household to be ineligible in respect of a conviction that occurred more than two years before the determination of ineligibility [Genl Reg 36(2)].

(e) Local Rules About Maximum Absence From Unit

Service managers may make local rules regarding RGI ineligibility if "all the members of the household are absent from the unit ... for more than the maximum number of days specified ..." [Genl Reg 37(1)].

Such rules may "provide for a maximum number of consecutive days, for a maximum number of days in a year or for both" [Genl Reg 37(2)]. If a maximum number of consecutive days is specified before ineligibility, it must be at least 60 consecutive days [Genl Reg 37(3)]. If a maximum number of days in a year is specified before ineligibility, it must be at least 90 non-consecutive days [Genl Reg 37(4)].

The local eligibility rule must provide that a member of the household who is absent for medical reasons is deemed to not be absent [Genl Reg 37(5)].

(f) Local Occupancy Standards

A service manager shall establish occupancy standards for determining the size and type of unit permissible for a household receiving RGI assistance [HSA 43(1)].

Requirements of such local occupancy rules are [HSA 43(2), Genl Reg 42(1)]:
  • the standards must provide for the household to be permitted a larger unit than would otherwise be permitted if a larger unit is reasonably necessary due to a disability or medical condition of a member of the household;

  • the standards must treat a child of a member of a household as a member of the household, for the purposes of the occupancy standards, if the child:
    . is in attendance at a recognized educational institution and, while in attendance, does not live with the household,

    . lives with the household while not attending that educational institution, and

    . is dependent, in whole or in part, on the household for financial support.
For these purposes, a “recognized educational institution” means any of the following "or a similar institution outside Ontario" [Genl Reg 42(2):
. a school, as defined in the Education Act,

. a university,

. a college of applied arts and technology established under the Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Act, 2002,

. a private career college, as defined in the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005, and

. a private school, as defined in the Education Act, for which a notice of intention to operate has been submitted to the Ministry of Education in accordance with that Act.
(g) Local Rule About Over-Housing

Service managers may make local rules regarding RGI ineligibility if "the household occupies a unit that is larger than the largest size permissible under the service manager’s occupancy standards" ("over-housing") [Genl Reg 38(1)].

Such a rule must allow for at least a year after the service manager's notice of over-housing before ineligibility [Genl Reg 38(2)].

Ineligibility cannot be effective while the household is "following the process, specified in the rule or by the service manager, to be transferred to a unit that is permissible under the service manager’s occupancy standards" [Genl Reg 38(3)].

Such a process must provide that [Genl Reg 38(4)]:
  • RGI ineligibility takes effect if, after the period of notice (above) expires, the household refuses an offer to transfer to a unit that is permissible under the occupancy standards; and

  • a service manager may determine that the household remains eligible if they are satisfied that there are extenuating circumstances.
(h) Local Rule About Non-Local Discrimination

A local rule may not treat a household differently from other households because it resides, or at any time in the past did reside, out of the local service area [Genl Reg 40].

(i) Local Rule About RGI Duration Discrimination

A local rule may not treat a household receiving RGI assistance differently from other such households because of how long the household has received RGI [Genl Reg 41].


4. Periodic RGI Reviews
Note: The term 'review' is used more than once in the HSA. In Ch.11 ["Reviews (Appeals)"] it refers to an appeal-type procedure to challenge service managers decisions against the household or housing provider. Here however it refers to administrative eligibility 'financial check-ups' (ie. 'periodic reviews') to see whether a tenant household is still RGI eligible.
Every 12 months after a household first receives RGI assistance, or at such other times as the service manager considers appropriate, the service manager shall determine whether the households continue to be eligible for it [HSA 52(1-3); Genl Reg 59].

The following limitations apply to such periodic reviews [Genl Reg 60]:
  • Inability to Provide

    The service manager shall not require a person to provide information or documents if the service manager is satisfied that the person is unable to do so.

  • Conflict with Housing Provider Mandate

    If the housing provider has a mandate [under HSA 76] to "to provide housing to households that are homeless or hard to house", and if the housing provider "informs the service manager that the housing provider is of the view that requiring the information or documents would be inappropriate in the circumstances", then the service manager shall not require information or documents for a review.

  • No Review Requests Where Abuse Victim has Belief of Risk

    The service manager shall not require information or documents where the household was in the special priority 'abuse' category at the beginning of their RGI assistance, and where "a member of the household believes that he or she or any other member of the household will be at risk of abuse if he or she attempts to obtain the information or documents".

  • No Review Requests Where Trafficking Victim has Belief of Risk

    The service manager shall not require information or documents where the household was in the special priority 'trafficking' category at the beginning of their RGI assistance, and where "a member of the household believes that he or she or any other member of the household will be at risk of abuse if he or she attempts to obtain the information or documents".

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