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Privacy Statement

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Your Privacy Is Important To Us

Ministers of Ontario government ministries and agencies are responsible for the administration of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. The act requires government organizations to protect personal information in their possession.

 

The Rental Housing Enforcement Unit (RHEU) of the Ministry of Housing has safeguards to ensure that the information you provide is protected from unauthorized disclosure.

Information We Collect

RHEU collects information from landlords, tenants, and in some cases, their agents and other parties. The RHEU’s Compliance Officers gather all relevant information from complainants and alleged offenders over the telephone. From these conversations, they take notes to fully document their understanding of the situation in order to obtain compliance with the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 (RTA).

Where compliance with the RTA is not successful, we refer files to a RHEU Investigator. Investigators have jurisdiction to collect whatever evidence they deem appropriate for cases that may be prosecuted in the Ontario Court of Justice.

The RHEU and the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB)

The LTB of the Social Justice Tribunal Ontario is an agency under the Ministry of the Attorney General and is separate from the Ministry of Housing and the RHEU. Often, parties involved in a RHEU case also have applications filed with the LTB. Information from LTB applications and Orders may be directly relevant for compliance and investigation activities. In these cases, Compliance Officers will ask for the consent of the parties to view their case-related information at the LTB. However, RHEU Investigators who undertake an investigation for the purposes of law enforcement are allowed, under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, to view LTB information without first obtaining the consent of the parties.

How We Collect Information

Compliance Officers usually collect information over the telephone and record notes of what has been said during these conversations. Sometimes complainants and alleged offenders send documents to the RHEU staff to support the information-gathering process.

Investigators use a variety of methods to collect information, including conducting witness interviews and collecting documents from various institutions.

Why We Collect Information

It is critical for the RHEU staff to collect enough information to determine whether there may have been a breach of the RTA, and to provide informed options to landlords or tenants to achieve compliance with the law.

Consent To Share Information

Our ability to share information with the parties involved in a complaint is critical to the intervention process. Compliance Officers ask for the complainant’s verbal consent to call the alleged offender to discuss all the issues raised. Compliance Officers only share information directly relevant to resolving a case.

Personal Information Considerations

Parties provide verbal consent to the RHEU staff to share information which can include their personal information. However, the RHEU imposes limits on personal information-sharing as noted below under Exceptions on Personal Information Sharing.

Personal identifiers are shared since the complainant and alleged offender are typically known to each other. Personal identifiers include, but are not limited to:

  • Name of the complainant(s)
  • Name of the alleged offender(s)
  • Address of the rental unit where the alleged offence occurred
  • Business contact information of the landlord including address and telephone/fax numbers

Exceptions on Personal Information Sharing

Sometimes in the course of conversations, complainants volunteer personal information to the RHEU staff. Staff are trained to keep personal information unrelated to the rental dispute confidential. This information includes, but is not limited to:

  • Personal details of parties’ lives irrelevant to the dispute
  • Health-related information
  • Personal information of third-party individuals not related to the dispute
  • Address/contact information of tenants different from the address where the offence was alleged to have occurred
  • Address/contact information of landlords different from their business address

Calls are monitored to ensure that these privacy considerations are maintained in practice and on an ongoing basis. In addition, staff receive periodic privacy training.

We do not disclose information to anyone outside the RHEU, apart from the parties to the complaint. However, once a prosecution has been initiated, evidence that will be used in Court is required to be disclosed to the alleged offender by the Ministry’s Legal Counsel or Prosecutor.

How We Protect Your Personal Information

Information collected by the RHEU remains within the RHEU and its information systems. This information is subject to records retention, archiving, and destruction guidelines in accordance with “Ontario Public Service Records and Document Management Policies and Guidelines”.

The RHEU’s information systems are password protected and only accessible to the RHEU staff, and information technology professionals who may periodically undertake systems maintenance.

Accessing Your Personal Information

If you have a file with the RHEU, you may access it by making a request to the Ministry’s Freedom of Information (FOI) Coordinator. Information cannot be released while compliance or investigative activity is ongoing but only after files are closed.

There is a $5.00 application fee for an FOI request. Payment should be made by cheque or money order, payable to the “Minister of Finance”.

The Ministry’s FOI contact is:

Senior Information and Privacy Advisor
Ministry of Housing
777 Bay Street, 17th Floor
Corporate Services Unit
Corporate Services Branch
Toronto, Ontario
M5G 2E5
Tel: 416-585-7094