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Ministerial Directive to Service Managers under S. 19.1 of the Housing Services Act, 2011

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Ministerial Directive

Pursuant to s. 19.1 of the Housing Services Act, 2011 (the “Act”), the Minister of Housing hereby directs that, with respect to enumeration by Service Managers of persons who are homeless:

  1. Each Service Manager shall conduct an enumeration of persons who are homeless in its service area using one or more of the following methods:

    Point-in-Time Count Method
    The Point-in-Time (PiT) Count is a count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons on a single night.  A PiT Count is intended to capture numbers and basic demographics of persons experiencing homelessness at a single point in time. 

    Registry Week Method
    The Registry Week Method involves a co-ordinated, multi-day count of homeless persons on the streets, in shelters and other spaces frequented by homeless persons.  A Registry Week is a coordinated outreach and assessment process to collect information that will help find housing for persons experiencing homelessness, starting with the most vulnerable. 

    Period Prevalence Count Method
    Period Prevalence Count (PPC) involves a co-ordinated, multi-day count of homeless persons and accesses them through a variety of service organizations that are likely to be used by persons experiencing homelessness such as community meal programs and drop-in centres, in addition to emergency shelters where they exist. 

  2. The Service Manager shall sample representative parts of its service area.  The Service Manager may use different methods for different parts of its service area, depending upon factors such as geography and community preference.

  3. The Service Manager shall engage Indigenous partners, including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples, in the Service Manager’s communities in the planning and implementation of enumeration, as well as in communicating results about Indigenous peoples, consistent with the principle of supporting relationship-building and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. 

  4. The Service Manager shall develop an Enumeration Plan outlining the manner in which the enumeration will be conducted, using the template attached as Appendix ‘A’, prior to conducting the enumeration. The Service Manager shall submit the Enumeration Plan to the Minister for comment no later than six months before conducting the enumeration. 

  5. The Service Manager should use the same method(s) for enumeration in subsequent counts to provide consistency over time, unless a rationale for changing methods is provided in the Enumeration Plan.

  6. The Service Manager shall conduct the enumeration within the months of March, April or May 2018 and thereafter every two years within the months of March, April or May. 

  7. The Service Manager shall, within six months of completing the enumeration, provide the Minister with the information collected during the enumeration.  The information shall be provided to the Minister electronically and include the information identified in Appendix ‘B’ in the format specified in Appendix ‘B’. 

  8. The Service Manager shall, by March 31 of the calendar year after the enumeration is completed, make available to the public a summary of the information collected during the enumeration. The Service Manager may make the summary available to the public through any mechanism of its choosing. 

Issued this 30th day of January, 2017.

Signature:  Original signed by the Minister

The Honourable Chris Ballard 
Minister of Housing 


Appendix A – Service Manager Local Homeless Enumeration Plan

To provide opportunity for comment, Enumeration Plans should be submitted to the Ministry no later than six months before a Service Manager undertakes local homeless enumeration.  For example, if enumeration is being planned for April 2018, the Enumeration Plan would be submitted in October 2017. 

Enumeration Plans should be approved by a delegated Service Manager authority (e.g., director level).  Council or Board approval is not required where delegated authority is in place.

The Ministry of Housing will review all Service Manager Local Homeless Enumeration Plans and may provide feedback as required.  The Ministry will use the Enumeration Plans to gather information on the scope of enumeration being conducted across the province, the enumeration methods being used, and how enumeration will be implemented across Service Manager regions. 

Details of the Enumeration Plan must be provided in this document.

Service Manager:


Contact Name:

Contact Information:




Enumeration Timing

What is the planned date for enumeration? 


Enumeration Methods 

Which enumeration method(s) will be used to enumerate homelessness in your Service Manager area? (Check all that apply).

  • Point-in-Time Count
  • Registry Week
  • Period Prevalence Count

Service Manager Areas Enumerated 

Please complete the following table to provide information about the municipalities  that you have selected for enumeration. Some very large municipalities may wish to select a subset of areas to enumerate based on census tracts. 

Name of municipality

Population of the municipality covered by enumeration

(if census tracts are selected for enumeration, report the total population of those census tracts)

Enumeration method to be used (if differs by municipality)












Please describe how you selected these municipalities (or census tracts) for enumeration: 











For each municipality that will be enumerated, please describe how people experiencing homelessness will be located:  (Examples: canvassing block by block to locate people experiencing homelessness, “magnet events” , working with agencies/organizations that serve people experiencing homelessness) 













How will community partners be engaged in planning and conducting enumeration?













Which types of community partners will be engaged? (Check all that apply).

  • Emergency shelters
  • Community centres/drop in centres
  • Domestic violence/Violence Against Women shelter
  • Housing First program
  • Hostels 
  • Homelessness outreach programs
  • Indigenous organizations (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit)
  • Food banks
  • Religious/Cultural organizations
  • First responders (police, fire, paramedics)
  • Health Services  
  • Mental Health Services 
  • Correctional services 
  • People with lived experience
  • Other, please specify


How will Indigenous organizations and communities, including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit be engaged in planning and implementing enumeration, where present in the service area?













If volunteers are being used to conduct enumeration, please describe the training that will be provided.











How will the results of enumeration be used to inform your local Housing and Homelessness Plan?













Section for Service Manager / Delegate Approval





Appendix B – Instructions for Reporting Enumeration Data

As per the Minister's Directive on Service Manager Local Homeless Enumeration, please provide information collected during your enumeration for the common data points.  The Ministry will use enumeration data to better understand the scale and nature of homelessness in Ontario.  Enumeration data will also be used to inform policy and program initiatives and to track homelessness and chronic homelessness over time. 

Service Managers are expected to obtain consent from respondents to share the relevant collected information with the Ministry to help the Ministry understand homelessness.

This sheet describes the data that should be reported and the structure that data should have.

  • Data should be provided in a Microsoft Excel file or as a ‘csv’ file.  Each row will contain the responses for one individual.  
  • The dataset should include all individuals who were counted as homeless, even though some may not have completed the survey questions.  For example, someone may be   counted as homeless but not be able or willing to answer questions (e.g., sleeping in a car at the time of enumeration).  That person would be included in the data set and assigned a number but will have N/A or missing information for the survey questions. 
  • The surveys used for the different enumeration approaches may have slightly different questions.  For this reason, please report the results for each method separately.
  • Please report results for each municipality separately.   Service Managers can either provide data in separate files or include a column in a data file to note which municipality the data come from.

Please provide your data to the Ministry of Housing within six months of completing enumeration.  

Service Manager: 

Contact Name:

Date Compiled: 


Enumeration Method:

Date(s) of Enumeration:

Mandatory Data Points: 

A - Client # 
B - Type of Current housing/ lodging
C - Chronicity of homelessness
E - Frequency of homelessness
F - Reasons for homelessness / housing loss (*see note below)
G - Age 
H - Indigenous Identity
I - Racialized Identity  -Response 1
J - Racialized Identity  - Response 2 (if applies)
K - Gender Identity 
L - Sexual Orientation
M - Language 
N - Family Homelessness (*see note below)
O - Military Service
P - Health - Chronic/ Acute  
Q - Health - Physical
R - Health - Addiction
S - Health - Mental Health
T - Child Welfare (Foster Care) Ever? 
U - Child Welfare (Foster Care) How long ago?
V - Income Source  (*see note below)













































































































* The question provides the opportunity to select more than one response.  The number of columns under this question will correspond to the number of response options that are possible

Required Data Points

Data Point


Type of Current Housing/Lodging

Where a person is staying or will stay on the day enumeration is conducted.

Chronicity of Homelessness

The length of time that someone is homeless.

Frequency of Homelessness

The number of times that someone is homeless.

Reasons for Homelessness/Housing Loss

Reasons that caused / contributed to a person becoming homeless / losing their housing


Number of years a person has lived.

Indigenous Identity

People that identify as First Nations, Métis, or Inuit.

Racialized Identity

A racialized person is someone who experiences racialization, which is “the process by which societies construct races as real, different and unequal in ways that matter to economic, political and social life.”

Gender Identity

Each person’s internal and individual experience of gender. It is their sense of being a woman, a man, both, neither, or anywhere along the gender spectrum. A person’s gender identity may be the same as or different from their birth-assigned sex.

Sexual Orientation

Sexual orientation is a personal characteristic that forms part of who one is. It covers the range of human sexuality from lesbian, gay, two-spirit, and queer to bisexual and heterosexual.


The language that a person predominantly uses to communicate. This may also include the language that a person would prefer to receive services in.

Family Homelessness

One or more adults experiencing homelessness with one or more dependentchildrenunder 18 years of age.

Military Service

Someone who has served in the Canadian military.


Someone who identifies as having a health issue, which includes physical health, mental health, addictions, and disability.

Child Welfare (History of Foster Care)

The placement of a child or youth in the home of someone who receives compensation for caring for the child but is not the child's parent. Years since leaving care will be collected.

Income Source

Sources of income including various forms of assistance, benefits and employment.