Ensuring Equitable Treatment and Finding Specialized Programs at the City that Can Help

4 May 2021

When someone contacts us to complain, we always consider whether the person is experiencing vulnerabilities—including mental or physical ones—that require an extra level of care from both us and the City.

Sometimes circumstances arise that require additional care and specialized support, for example in cases where a TCHC tenant exhibits hoarding behaviour. In such instances, fairness demands that TCHC make an extra effort to be sensitive to the needs of the tenant, and to take all reasonable steps to meet those needs (even when it may be difficult). In such situations, we ensure that TCHC comes up with a plan to respond to the tenant in a reasonable, fair and equitable way. Often, this will involve working with specialized staff at TCHC and/or elsewhere at the City.

One example is SPIDER, the City of Toronto’s Specialized Program for Inter-Divisional Enhanced Responsiveness to Vulnerability, where representatives from different parts of the City administration and community partners work together to address difficult cases of elevated risk and vulnerability.

In the eloquent words of a leader from SPIDER, “Vulnerable people should only have to reach as far as they can to have their needs met. Service providers need to do the rest of the reaching and the stretching.”

Why This Matters: To treat people fairly, the City must treat them equitably. That means taking into consideration people’s unique needs and circumstances. When serving a vulnerable member of the public, City staff must take extra steps to make sure that person’s needs are met. We hold City staff accountable by making sure they do this.