New regulatory amendments related to reviews of decisions made by Service Managers
Section 157 of the Housing Services Act (the HSA) states that Ontario’s housing providers can request reviews of certain decisions made by their Service Manager. However, until recently there was no further clarification about which decisions this applied to.
ONPHA has been advocating for further clarification in this area since the HSA was enacted, and recent amendments to O.Reg 367/11 provide this. The new regulatory amendments, which came into effect January 1, 2017, offer direction around when and how housing providers can request third-party reviews. Read on for more details, and to learn about how the changes will impact your organization.
When can a housing provider request a third-party review?
The HSA provides that Service Managers can exercise several remedies if they identify a housing project as being in difficulty. A project is identified as being in difficulty if any of the triggering events identified in section 83 of the HSA have occurred.
When a triggering event occurs, the Service Manager can take measures such as:
- discontinuing or suspending subsidy payments;
- reducing subsidy payments;
- deducting an amount from a subsidy payment to pay all or part of a debt that the housing provider owes;
- exercising any of the powers or performing any of the duties of the housing provider;
- appointing an operational advisor;
- appointing an interim receiver or interim receiver and manager;
- removing some or all of the directors; and,
- appointing one or more individuals as directors.
Under the amended regulation, housing providers identified as being in difficulty can request reviews of any of the above remedies, except in certain circumstances.
Housing providers in difficulty cannot request a review of the majority of these remedies if:
- the triggering event is a contravention of section 162 of the HSA (certain housing projects);
- they are unable to pay debts;
- they are operating a project in a way that impairs its structural integrity or the health and safety of its participants;
- an audit alleges fraud, criminal activity or misuse of assets;
- they are in default of a mortgage guaranteed by the Province of Ontario or the Ontario Mortgage and Housing Corporation;
- the number of directors has not met quorum requirements for 90 days; or,
- there are other circumstances prescribed.
In any of these cases, housing providers are still permitted to request a review of a Service Manager decision to appoint an interim receiver or an interim receiver and manager.
The review process
The amended regulations state that the individual appointed to conduct a review must be jointly agreed upon by the Service Manager and the housing provider, and that the costs related to reviews are to be shared equally between both parties.
In an instance where the Service Manager and the housing provider cannot agree on who should conduct the review, an individual will be selected from a list of individuals identified by the Minister of Housing. The Ministry is currently recruiting a pool of individuals qualified to conduct such reviews.
ONPHA will continue to monitor and communicate about developments related to Service Manager reviews. If you have questions about the new amendments and how they may impact your organization, please do not hesitate to contact ONPHA’s Member Support department at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-297-6660, ext. 115.