A landlord cannot discriminate against you or refuse to rent to you because of your race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, source of income (as long as it's legal), or age (over 19 years old). The landlord cannot discriminate against you if you are married or not married, if you have children, or if you have a disability.
There are two exceptions to this. The law does not always apply when cooking, sleeping or bathroom facilities are shared. For example, if a woman wants to rent a room in her house only to another woman, she may be allowed to discriminate in this way. Also, a landlord can refuse to rent to you because you have children if the building is reserved for people over 55 years old.
For more information on discrimination, see:
The right to adequate housing
At the moment the Canadian Human Rights Act does not specifically spell out that there is a right to adequate housing, although there is a right to some form of shelter. Some studies and organizations that have drawn the link between human rights and housing include:
Canada Without Poverty
Visit Canada Without Poverty at www.cwp-csp.ca to learn about human rights as well as structural causes of poverty, such as public policies that advance or constrain the social and economic development of individuals, families and communities.
Would you like to see a poverty free Canada? Click here to support the Dignity for All Campaign.
Human Rights Video
You can also watch a short video exploring the evolution of human rights over time and how they are being disregarded in certain respects today. Source: United for Human Rights Organization.
Where to go for help
If you as a tenant feel that you are being denied housing or facing eviction due to discrimination, contact the BC Human Rights Coalition.