Seniors' Guide
  • Print


Home Adaptations

Most of us want to continue living in our own home for as long as possible, but housing needs can change over the course of a lifetime. Sometimes even small and inexpensive modifications can help make your home safer and allow you to remain independent as you get older. If you’re thinking of modifying your home, these Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation online publications may be able to help:

  • Maintaining Seniors’ Independence Through Home Adaptations: A Self-Assessment Guide can help you learn about the types of home adaptations that are best for you.
  • Accessible Housing By Design highlights the range of renovations that can make your home more accessible.
  • Preventing Falls on Stairs can help you reduce the risk of falls and injuries on stairs.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
TTY: 1-800-309-3388 (> Consumers > Publications and Reports > Accessible & Adaptable Housing)

Financial Assistance Programs

If you are thinking of modifying your home to make it more accessible, there are a number of government programs that may be able to help you.

Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit

This tax credit can be claimed by senior homeowners and tenants and by people who share a home with a senior relative to help with the costs of making your home safer and more accessible. Some examples of home modifications include wheel-in or walk-in showers, grab bars and handrails, or lowered counters or cupboards.

Ministry of Finance
TTY: 1-800-263-7776

Ontario Renovates

The Ontario Renovates component of the Investment in Affordable Housing for Ontario Program (2011-2015) provides forgivable loans to eligible low-income homeowners and landlords to make necessary repairs to homes or units to increase accessibility and to create affordable rental housing in existing single family homes. Accessibility repairs are an eligible activity under Ontario Renovates and up to $3,500 of funding for those repairs are in a form of a grant. Affordable housing programs like this are administered by local municipalities and District Social Services Administration Boards, also known as Service Managers. Service Managers decide whether to participate in Ontario Renovates based on local housing needs.

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Service Managers and Their Service Areas

Senior and/or Disabled Property Tax Relief

Property owners who build or modify a residence for a senior or a person with a disability may be eligible for property tax relief. Examples of alterations and additions include building a ramp or an additional room. If you believe your home is eligible, contact your local office of the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation.

Municipal Property Assessment Corporation
1-866-296-MPAC (1-866-296-6722)
TTY: 1-877-TTY-MPAC (6722) (> Property Owners > Property Assessment Procedures > Tax Incentive Programs > Senior and Disabled Property Tax Relief)

Property Tax Relief for Low-Income Seniors and Low-Income Persons with Disabilities

Low-income seniors and low-income persons with disabilities who own residential property may be eligible to receive relief from property tax increases that result from assessment reform. For more information or to determine your eligibility, please contact your local municipality.

Provincial Land Tax Deferral Program for Low-Income Seniors and Low-Income Persons with Disabilities

Under this program, low-income seniors and low-income persons with disabilities may apply for an annual deferral of part of the Provincial Land Tax and Education Tax increases. All deferred taxes must be repaid in full upon the sale or transfer of title to the property. This program is for those who pay their property taxes directly to the Province of Ontario.

Ministry of Finance
TTY: 1-888-321-6774

If you would like to learn more about the Home and Vehicle Modification Program, please see the FINANCES, Financial Assistance section of this guide.

Housing Options

If you need help to decide what housing option might be best for you or for your family member, one of these professionals can help:

  • Case Manager with your local Community Care Access Centre
    ( or call 310-CCAC)
  • social worker in a geriatric centre or in a family counselling agency
  • community health nurse.

Adult Lifestyle Communities

Adult Lifestyle Communities provide independent living residences for retirees or semi-retirees. Residences may include bungalows, townhomes, small homes or condominiums that provide the benefits of home ownership with on-site recreational and community activities. Amenities may include 24-hour security, social interaction with peers along with leisure and recreational activities. Contact your local real estate agent to find an Adult Lifestyle Community near you.

Life Lease Housing

With life lease housing, you hold an “interest” in a property, but do not own it. This type of arrangement can have many advantages. For example, units are often less expensive than similarly sized condominiums in the area. In addition, life lease communities are restricted to people of a certain age, so residents are more likely to share common interests and needs.

Retirement Homes

Retirement homes are private businesses that sell various combinations of accommodations (from shared rooms to large apartments), support services and personal care. Anyone can apply to live in a retirement home.

You are responsible for the entire cost of both your accommodation and care services. Accommodation rates are subject to rent control. Residences and rates can vary widely in terms of care, services and amenities provided. While you do not need to provide medical evidence that you need care, the home will assess your needs to make sure you do not need more support than it can provide.

Retirement homes are regulated under the Retirement Homes Act, 2010. This legislation:

  • mandates care and safety standards for retirement homes, including emergency plans, infection control and prevention programs, assessment of care needs and care planning, police background checks and training for staff
  • created a Residents’ Bill of Rights that includes the right to know the true cost of care and accommodation and the right to live in an environment that promotes zero tolerance of abuse or neglect
  • established the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority, an arm’s-length organization that educates, licences and inspects retirement homes to ensure they meet prescribed standards.

For information about retirement homes in your community, contact the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority.

Ontario’s Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority licences and inspects the province’s retirement homes, maintains a Public Register of all homes that have been granted or have applied for a licence (, handles complaints and educates retirement home staff and owners, consumers and the public about the Act.

Anyone in Ontario can call the Authority, free of charge, to get help resolving retirement home complaints.

If you see or suspect harm or risk of harm to a resident resulting from poor care, abuse or neglect or unlawful conduct, or if you suspect misuse of a resident’s money, you must report this to the Registrar of the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority. You may report anonymously.

Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority
1-855-ASK-RHRA (1-855-275-7472)

Supportive Housing

Supportive housing programs provide on-site personal support services for seniors living as tenants in designated residential buildings. These programs are designed to help people live independently in their own apartments. Services include personal support/attendant services, essential homemaking services and staff available 24 hours a day to handle regularly scheduled care and emergency needs.

Community Care Access Centre
310-CCAC (310-2222)

Housing Options for Low-Income Seniors

Investment in Affordable Housing for Ontario (2014-2020)

This program provides funding to build and repair affordable housing, and for rental and down payment assistance to households in need. Affordable housing programs like this one are administered by local municipalities and District Social Service Administration Boards, also known as Service Managers. Service Managers decide which parts of the program to participate in based on local housing needs.

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Service Managers and Their Service Areas

Rent-Geared-To-Income Housing

Social housing is developed with government assistance for low-to moderate-income Ontarians. The length of time before a unit becomes available will vary depending on your location. An application for rent-geared-to-income assistance can be made through your municipal Service Manager.

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Service Managers and Their Service Areas

Co-operative Housing

Co-operative housing residents do not own equity in their homes, but they have an equal say in how their community is run. A co-operative is non-profit. When you leave a housing co-operative, your home is returned to the co-operative to be offered to someone else in need of affordable housing.

Ontario Regional Office of the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada

Emergency Rental Assistance

Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative

This initiative supports services and activities that prevent, reduce and address homelessness. It combines funding from the following five former homelessness-related programs into a single program administered by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing:

  • Consolidated Homelessness Prevention Program
  • Emergency Energy Fund
  • Emergency Hostel Services
  • Domiciliary Hostel Program
  • Provincial Rent Bank

Services are delivered by local municipalities and District Social Services Administration Boards, also known as Service Managers.

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Service Managers and Their Service Areas

Landlord and Tenant Relations

Residential Tenancies Act, 2006

This legislation governs most landlord and tenant relationships across Ontario, sets out the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants who rent residential properties, and regulates most rent increases. The Act does not cover commercial tenancies.

Landlord and Tenant Board

The Landlord and Tenant Board resolves disputes between landlords and tenants and educates people about their rights and responsibilities. Both landlords and tenants can file an application, after which a hearing is scheduled. At the hearing, a member of the board will make a decision or, if both sides agree, a mediator will try to help both parties reach an agreement.


For Aboriginal Seniors

Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program On-Reserve

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is committed to finding solutions to improve housing conditions on- and off-reserve. It has many First Nations, Metis and Inuit programs to assist Aboriginal Peoples, with some programs specifically geared to seniors. The Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program On-Reserve offers financial assistance to Band Councils and Band members to repair substandard homes to a minimum level of health and safety and to improve the accessibility of housing for disabled persons.

TTY: 1-800-309-3388

Assisted Living Program

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s Assisted Living Program is a residency-based program that provides funding for non-medical, social support services for seniors, adults with chronic illness, and children and adults with disabilities. The program helps individuals remain independent for as long as possible, while maximizing their quality of life at home and in the community.

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
TTY: 1-866-553-0554 (> All Topics > Social Programs > Assisted Living Program)