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Social Housing (Ontario) Legal Guide
(23 November 2021)

Ch.7 - RGI Rent Amount Calculation (Income Rules)

  1. Key Concepts for Calculating RGI Rent
    (a) Households
    (b) RGI Rent Determination and the Role of the "Unit"
    (c) Subtleties of the Two "Unit" Types: "Family Units" and "Benefit Units"
    (d) Examples
    (e) Summary
  2. RGI Calculation Basics
    (a) Overview
    (b) Initial, Annual and Interim Review
    (c) The Steps
    (d) Minimum Rent
    (e) Maximum Rent
    (f) Partial Month
  3. Social Assistance (Benefit Unit) Rent Calculation
    (a) Overview
    (b) Using the Charts to Determine RGI Rent (Under the Limit)
    (c) First Exception: Exceeding the 'Non-benefit Income' Limit
    (d) Second Exception: ODSP Exception for Federal Pensions
    (e) Alternative Rent Calculation
  4. Non-Social Assistance (Family Unit) Rent Calculation
    (a) Overview
    (b) The Calculation
  5. Services, Utilities and Heating
    (a) Overview
    (b) Add Amount Where Services and Utilities Are Provided by the Housing Provider
    (c) Subtract Water and Appliance Allowance Where Household Pays
    (d) Subtract Oil Heating Charges Where Household Pays
    (e) Subtract Gas Heating Charges Where Household Pays
    (f) Subtract Electric Heating Charges Where Household Pays
  6. Annual Reviews of RGI Eligibility
    (a) Overview
    (b) Pensioner Annual Review
  7. Interim Reviews of RGI Eligibility
    (a) Overview
    (b) Circumstances for 'Normal' Interim Reviews
    (c) 'Extenuating' Interim Reviews
    (d) When RGI Rate Change Effective After Interim Review



1. Key Concepts for Calculating RGI Rent

(a) Households

To start with, the "household" is simply those people that co-habit together in a social housing unit. Members of a social housing 'households' are commonly, but not always, on social assistance (welfare or ODSP). Sometimes, even within one household some are on social assistance and some are not, but it's plain that the policy goal of the Housing Services Act (HSA) is to treat those on social assistance differently from those earning all of their income.

(b) RGI Rent Determination and the Role of the "Unit"

Consequently, there can be two types of calculations (one for social assistance recipients and one earners) for the amount of RGI rent payable in a household. Where members in the same household are mixed (ie. social assistance and not) the total RGI rent payable is the total of the separate calculations. Aggregating the household members turns on both the social assistance concept of the "benefit unit" and the HSA-original concept of the "family unit" - both quite similar, with the main difference being that members of the benefit unit are on social assistance.

Both of these "units" (ie. benefit and family units) are roughly modelled on the conventional family, and they can comprise (using the definition of "family unit" as the example, it is adequate for both situations) the following expected forms [Reg 316/19, s.1(1)]:
. an individual, the individual’s spouse and all of the children of both or either of them who are living with them [full family, with kids]

. an individual and the individual’s spouse living with him or her, if neither has any children [two spouses, no kids]

(c) an individual and the individual’s children living with him or her, if the individual has no spouse [single parent with kids], or

(d) a single individual.
Note that other configuations are possible. For example take the situation where a single mother with kids co-resides with an aunt - the sister of the mother. As the aunt is neither the spouse nor the child of her sister, then she forms a separate "unit" for these purposes. If the aunt is on social assistance it is a separate "benefit unit", and if not she is a separate "family unit" - see how it works?

You can see how both the social assistance and the HSA systems are structured on an aggregation of household members into conventional 'nuclear family' models. You can also see how a large single household could theoretically comprise any number of separate benefit and family "units" (although in practice the typical household is that of the single individual on social assistance, as several-"unit" situations are rare).

(c) Subtleties of the Two "Unit" Types: "Family Units" and "Benefit Units"

It's a source of confusion for new-comers to the Ontario social housing world that, technically, under the HSA (whether on social assistance or not) every member of a household is a member of a "family unit". However, the real practical distinction is between those who are solely in a "family unit" [ie. "(i)f the household has at least one family unit that is not, and no part of which is, a benefit unit": Reg 316/19, s.2(1)1,2]], and those that are in both a "family unit" and also in a social assistance "benefit unit". This functional distinction re-focusses us to the real HSA policy RGI rent calculation categories: ie. those on social assistance and others.

Again, the "family unit" is the simpler concept - it's only requirement is to be a member of a social housing household - period.

The "benefit unit" however is a concept drawn from both the Ontario Works Act (welfare) and the Ontario Disability Support Program Act (ODSP) [Reg 316/19, s.1(1) "benefit unit"], and it is: "a person and all of his or her dependants on behalf of whom the person" applies for or receives either welfare or ODSP [OWA 2 "benefit unit", ODSP 2 "benefit unit"]. For these purposes, a spouse is a dependent - as are co-resident children.

The "benefit unit" concept is more sophisticated and complex that that of the "family unit", but for most practical purposes the household members can assume that anyone 'on the welfare/ODSP cheque' is in the benefit unit. Those interested in exploring more the concept of the benefit unit [which can be quite tricky as "spouse", "dependent" children (both minor and adult) and split-custody children are not always easy to grasp] can refer to the Isthatlegal Welfare (Ontario Works) Legal Guide, Ch.2: "Claimants" [there is a similar ODSP chapter, for that see the header].

(d) Examples

It's a bit awkward, but what the HSA is trying to do is separate that part of a household that is on social assistance from that which isn't - this is because the HSA wants to calculate their rent-contributions differently [which they do by the separate calculations undertaken in s.3 ["Social Assistance (Benefit Unit) Rent Calculation"; Reg 316/19, s.2(1)1] (below) and s.4 ["Non-Social Assistance (Family Unit) Rent Calculation"; Reg 316/19, s.2(1)2] (below).

In most social housing situations, where many - if not most - people in social housing are single persons, the determination is simple: they are calculated either under s.3 ("benefit units") or s.4 ("family units")]. For single parent social assistance families, the calculation is also straight-forward - under s.3.

Some mild complication can arise in the above-cited 'co-habiting aunt' example, where a co-habiting aunt on social assistance adds a separate s.3 ['benefit unit'] calculation to the total RGI rent calculation (you add the figures for each 'unit' to achieve the final RGI rent). Where the aunt is not on social assistance then her added calculation is under the "family unit" rules of s.4, below.

Lastly, the most complex that these RGI calculations can get is anticipated in this quote [Reg 316/19, s.2(1)3]:
3. If the household has at least one family unit a part of which is a benefit unit and the other part of which is not, determine in accordance with section 5 the rent attributable for the month to the part of each of such family units that is not a benefit unit.
This refers to the relatively less common 'benefit unit' situations where a (usually former) member of the family has been hived off from the formal social assistance "benefit unit", such as sometimes occurs with still co-habiting 'independent' adult children of the applicant who are earning enough to be ineligible for social assistance (if not earning enough, they form a separate benefit unit). Another situation is that of split-custody children where one parent is on social assistance in social housing and the other is neither on social assistance nor in social housing (for social assistance purposes they are effectively counting as a 'half-dependent'). In this situation the person hived off from the benefit unit is calculated under the s.4 "family unit" rules.

(e) Summary

The amount of RGI rent is determined by the local service manager [HSA 50(1-2)] (ie. the local municipality), and such a determination "is binding on the housing provider" (typically a non-profit corporation, if it's not a municipality-owned complex) [HSA 50(3)]. These rules apply to HSA Part V housing projects.

Social housing law is very much conceptually based on social assistance law, with the concept of financially-assisted 'RGI rent' being substituted for that of direct financial assistance (or 'income support' for ODSP). RGI rent is not always payable to a social housing tenant 'household' every month (usually due to earnings income), but that would be an unusual and temporary situation as a prolonged ineligibility for RGI assistance will normally result in termination of the household's RGI eligibility and subsequent termination of their tenancy (and eviction if necessary). Normally, the essence of being in social housing is that the household is in receipt of RGI rent assistance.

The administrative cultures between social housing and welfare (though not ODSP, which is provincial) are identical as well, as the HSA 'service manager' is the same municipality that administers the Ontario Works Act (ie. welfare). I would expect that there's a lot of 'seconding' of welfare administrative staff to the social housing staff, and vice versa - so you can expect them to 'know' social assistance law very well.
Terminology Notes: Where the following terms are used in this chapter, they have distinct definitions different from the General Regulation definitions [Reg 316/19, s.1(1)]:
“child”, in relation to an individual, means a child of that individual born within or outside marriage (unless that child has been adopted by one or more other individuals in Ontario or according to the law of another jurisdiction), a child adopted by that individual in Ontario or according to the law of another jurisdiction, and a child whom the individual has demonstrated a settled intention to treat as a child of his or her family, but does not include a child placed in the individual’s home as a foster child for consideration by another person having lawful custody;

Note: Where the term 'child' is used in the rest of the HSA and Regulations a different definition applies, linked here: General Reg s.1(1) "child".

“full-time attendance”, in relation to a student attending a recognized educational institution, means, in the case of a student having a permanent disability, taking at least 40 per cent of a full course load, and in the case of any other student, taking at least 60 per cent of a full course load, as determined from the course calendar of the educational institution;

“recognized educational institution” means,

(a) a school, as defined in the Education Act,

(b) a university,

(c) a college of applied arts and technology established under the Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Act, 2002,

(d) a private career college, as defined in the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005, or

(e) a private school, as defined in the Education Act, for which a notice of intention to operate has been submitted to the Ministry of Education in accordance with that Act;

“rent” means,

(a) in relation to a unit in a non-profit housing co-operative under the Co-operative Corporations Act occupied by a member of the co-operative, housing charges as defined in that Act, other than sector support levies and initial membership fees, or

(b) in all other cases, rent as defined in the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006;

Note: Where the term 'rent' is used in the rest of the HSA and Regulations a different definition applies, linked here: General Reg s.1(1) "rent".

2. RGI Calculation Basics

(a) Overview

A household's RGI rent is calculated by adding (and if necessary, subtracting), and applying the limits, set out in this section [HSA Reg 316/19, s.2].

To the extent that many of the below calculations rely on social assistance determinations (eg. members of the benefit unit and welfare rates), the service manager will normally trust and rely on the welfare/ODSP decisions.

This is because (at least in the case of welfare) these decisions are made by the same legal entity. The social housing 'service managers' (although it sounds like an administrative job) are the same municipality (or DSSAB) that administers welfare - ie. the City of North Bay is is it's own social housing service manager. The HSA use of the term 'service manager' in this manner has led to a great deal of confusion.

In the ODSP case the social housing service manager is still the municipality (or DSSAB), but it can be expected to rely on the Director of ODSP (a provincial legal entity) for those same benefit unit determinations.

(b) Initial, Annual and Interim Review

The already complex HSA rules about RGI calculation get more so because of the fact that the calculations can occur at three different times, with three different corresponding rules: ie. 'initial' [upon offer of a unit], 'annual review' and 'interim reviews' [Ch.3, "RGI Eligibility Rules", s.4 "Periodic RGI Reviews"] (see ss.6 and 7 below for details of the different RGI reviews).

(c) The Steps

(i) Base Rent

Add together the base rents as they apply to the household (ie. the figures for all the 'benefit units', and non-benefit unit 'family units' in the household, normally this is very simple) [HSA Reg 316/19, s.2(1)1-4]:
  1. Social Assistance (Benefit Unit) Rent Calculation [Reg ss.3-4]

    If the household has at least one benefit unit, determine the rent attributable to each benefit unit [see s.3 "Benefit Units" in this chapter, below] [HSA Reg 316/19, s.2(1)1].

    Remember, under this category there can still be non-social assistance residents in the household, but their rent is calculated separately below.

  2. Non-Social Assistance (Family Unit) Rent Calculation [Reg s.5]

    This calculation applies to the members of the family unit who are not on social assistance [HSA Reg 316/19, s.2(1)2-3]. In these cases the 'family unit' calculation applies [see s.4 "Family Units" in this chapter, below].
(ii) Services, Utilities and Heat

To the amount from (i) "Base Rents", add the increases for services and utilities, and subtract the reductions for services, utilities and heat) if any [Reg 316/19, s.2(1)5-6,9; see s.5 "Services and Utilities" in this chapter, below].

(d) Minimum Rent

RGI housing has a minimum rent figure [Reg 316/19, 2(2)(a),3,4,5,7,7.1,8)].

This was first set for July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020 at $129 [Reg 316/19 in force 23 Sept 2019].

For subsequent years (though note the COVID exception, below) add the RTA rent increase guidelines [Reg 316/19, s.2(4)]:

For July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 ..... 2.2%
For July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022 ..... 1.5% [Reg 316/19, s.2(4.1); Ont Gazette 29 August 2020]
Note re COVID Exception: This 2021-2022 increase was subsequently frozen for the calendar year 2021 at 0% [RTA 120(3.1), in force 01 Oct 2020], barring any further changes the 1.5% increase will take effect 01 January 2022: Reg 316/19, s.2(7.1)]
There are transitional rules relating to the replacement of the prior Regulation 298/01 "Determination of Geared-To-Income Rent Under Section 50 of the Act" [23 September 2019] that can sometimes set the minimum rent for pre-existing RGI household tenants at $93, with annual increase of $8 [Reg 316/19, s.2(5,6), 12].

(e) Maximum Rent

The maximum rent payable is "the rent that would be payable for the unit occupied by the household if the unit were occupied by a household not eligible for RGI assistance" ('market rent') [Reg 316/19, s.2(2)(b)]. "Market rent" is set by each separate service manager (ie. municipality) - in Toronto: "(m)arket rents are typically set according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's City of Toronto average rate and go up every year, reflecting the Government of Ontario's Rent Increase Guideline" [https://www.torontohousing.ca/rent/market-rent].

(f) Partial Month

For any partial month the RGI rent is pro-rated [Reg 316/19, s.2(9)].


3. Social Assistance (Benefit Unit) Rent Calculation

(a) Overview

. General

There are two ways to determine the social assistance ("benefit unit") RGI rent amount, depending on the amount of 'non-benefit income' (typically earnings and federal pensions) that the benefit unit receives in a month. The dividing line between these two methods is the 'non-benefit income limit' (the 'limit': see (b) below).

If the 'non-benefit income' is at or below the limit, then the RGI rent attributable to that benefit unit is a fixed amount determined in accordance with Column 2 of the 'charts' (below). The effect of not exceeding the limit is that the benefit unit gets to 'keep' the non-benefit income without it effecting the RGI rent level.

If the non-benefit income limits are exceeded [see (c) below], or the federal pension income exception applies [see (d) below], then an alternative rent calculation applies [see (e) below; Reg 316/19, s.4].

. The 'Charts'

Reg 316/19 of the Housing Services Act ["Determination of Geared-to-Income Rent Under S.50 of the Act"] has three charts [Tables 1-3] that set out the RGI 'base rent' [as per s.2(c) above] for that part of the household that are on welfare or ODSP, listed by the number of people in the "benefit unit"). Remember that this is only the rent for those household members on welfare or ODSP - if there is a "family unit" component in the household then that is added to the 'benefit unit' figure to reach the actual RGI rent [for the 'family unit' calculation, see s.4 below].

The different charts are for the different member compositions of welfare (Tables 1 and 2) and ODSP (Table 3) benefit units (ie. single member, single parent family, etc).

. Exceeding the 'Non-Benefit Income Limit' or Excepting the Chart Due to Federal Pension Income

Sometimes collateral income such as earnings income [see (c) below] or federal pensions [see (d) below]) excepts the household from the above 'chart' determination of RGI rent. Where these exceptions apply, a non-chart 'alternative rent calculation' applies [see (e), below].

(b) Using the Charts to Determine RGI Rent (Under the Limit)

. Welfare - Single Parent

Table 1, Reg 316/19 (scroll down) [Reg 9(2)] is for single parents on welfare [Reg 3(1)]. The social assistance part of the RGI rent appears in Column 2 after you determine the number of people in the benefit unit for Column 1. For example, for a benefit unit of 3 people the social assistance portion of the RGI rent is $226 [according to Table 1 at 01 August 2021] (expect the figure to increase slightly in subsequent years).

. Welfare - Other Composition

Table 2, Reg 316/19(scroll down) is for any other welfare benefit unit (ie. anything other than single parent - such as an individual, a couple with or without children) on welfare [Reg 3(3)]. The social assistance part of the RGI rent appears in Column 2 after you determine the number of people in the benefit unit for Column 1. For example, for a benefit unit of 2 people the social assistance portion of the RGI rent is $175 [according to Table 1 at 01 August 2021] (expect the figure to increase slightly in subsequent years).

. ODSP - All Compositions

Table 3, Reg 316/19 (scroll down) is for any ODSP benefit unit [Reg 3(5)]. The social assistance part of the RGI rent appears in Column 2 after you determine the number of people in the benefit unit for Column 1. For example, for a benefit unit of one person the social assistance portion of the RGI rent is $109 [according to Table 1 at 01 August 2021] (expect the figure to increase slightly in subsequent years).

(c) First Exception: Exceeding the 'Non-benefit Income' Limit

. Overview

Go back to Tables 1,2 and 3 again.

Column 3 on each of Tables 1,2 and 3 set out the monthly 'non-benefit income limit' for each of the benefit unit types. This is the amount of 'non-benefit income limit' that, if exceeded, determines that an alternative (and higher) RGI rent calculation from that set out in (b) above applies [Reg 3(2,4,6)].

For example, according to the charts, for a single person ODSP recipient the 'non-benefit income limit' [on Table 3] is $440. If the non-benefit income limit is over $440, then the RGI rent calculation set out in (a) above is excepted, and an alternative (and higher) RGI rent calculation applies [Reg 3(8)].

. 'Non-Benefit Income' Defined

Calculating the actual 'non-benefit income' amount of a specific benefit unit requires care, as the method used differs with whether the calculation is done for the initial, annual or interim RGI review. The 'initial review' is when the household gets first called with an offer of a unit and accepts it. The annual review is explained at s.6 (below) and the interim review is explained at s.7 (below), but for 'non-benefit income' purposes they are explained in this section.

The different review calculation methods turn on how the concept of 'net income', which forms a part of the calculation of 'non-benefit income', is calculated. They differ by how expenses are calculated with respect to both the gross income and the expenses are determined.

'Non-benefit income' is a monthly figure, calculated by deducting from the 'net income' (addressed below) [Reg 3(8)]:
  • "the net income of members who are in full-time attendance at a recognized educational institution", and

  • "the amount of any monthly payment received by the members of the benefit unit under the Ontario Works Act, 1997 and the Ontario Disability Support Program Act, 1997".
. 'Net Income' Variations for Different Reviews

For this purposes, the 'net income' varies with whether the calculation is performed at the initial [upon offer of a unit], annual review and interim reviews [Ch.3, "RGI Eligibility Rules", s.4 "Periodic RGI Reviews"] [Reg 3(8)1,(9)]:
  • Initial Net Income [s.6(2,6-8), 7(2-4)]

    The initial calculation of RGI assistance may use one of two methods, which are at the sole discretion of the service manager. These methods are either [Reg 6(2)]:

    • Most Recent Income Tax "Net Income"

      The "net income" [line 23600] on your Notice of Assessment, minus any RDSP payments and plus any RDSP re-payments.

      The assessment should be for the most recent tax year if issued. If none has been issued it should be, "the amount that would appear on the net income line had the notice of assessment been issued" (ie. the net income figure on a filed return, or what that should be if it were done).

      For these purposes, the service manager shall verify the net income by either the latest Notice of Assessment or "a proof of income statement" issued by CRA. If these documents are not available, they shall use "the verification methods developed by the service manager to verify the net income of a member" [Reg 6(6)].

      For these purposes, employment income is all that received in the tax year that is "applicable to the determination of net income for the member", and it includes all items set out below [Reg 7(3)]:

      • Wages or salary.
      • A commission or bonus.
      • Tips and gratuities.
      • Vacation pay.
      • Remuneration as a dependant contractor.
      • Income from work in a business that the member directly or indirectly operates and controls.
      • Unemployment benefits under the Employment Insurance Act (Canada).
      • Payments for a loss of earnings under the insurance plan under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.
      • Payments for sick leave or a short-term disability under a private or workplace insurance plan.
      • Any other income the service manager determines is related to employment.

      For these purposes, the service manager shall verify the employment income by means of "a proof of income statement" issued by CRA. If this document is not available, they shall use "the verification methods developed by the service manager to verify the income from employment of the member" [Reg 3(10), 7(4)].

    • Best Approximation Projection of Next 12 Calendar Month's Net Income

      The other method for calculation of net income (for initial reviews) is that the service manager shall project their best approximation net income, counted from the month after the calculation is done for the next 12 calendar months, minus any RDSP payments and plus any RDSP re-payments.

    For the RDSP figures, "the service manager shall verify amounts ... by means of the latest information available to the member" from CRA or if not available then "by using the verification methods developed by the service manager to verify any payments from a registered disability savings plan received or repaid by a member" [Reg 6(7)].

    For these purposes, employment income is based on a projection from the service manager's best approximation of employment income, counted from the month after the calculation is done for the next 12 calendar months [Reg 7(2)].

  • Annual Review Net Income [s.6(3-4,6-8), 7(3-4), 8]

    For an annual review, the net income is calculated as either 1 or 2 as appropriate [Reg 6(3)]:

    1. Most Recent Income Tax "Net Income"

      This calculation of the "net income" is drawn from your Notice of Assessment [line 23600], minus any RDSP payments and plus any RDSP re-payments. If the review is done 01 July-31 December, the assessment used is for the prior tax year. If the review is done 01 January-30 June, use the assessment for the next previous tax year.

      If no Notice of Assessment has been issued this figure should be, "the amount that would appear on the net income line had the notice of assessment been issued" (ie. the net income figure on a filed return, or what that should be if it were done).

      For these purposes, the service manager shall verify the net income by either the latest Notice of Assessment or "a proof of income statement" issued by CRA. If these documents are not available, they shall use "the verification methods developed by the service manager to verify the net income of a member" [Reg 3(10),6(6)].

      For these purposes, employment income is all that received in the tax year that is "applicable to the determination of net income for the member", and it includes all items set out below [Reg 7(3)]:

      • Wages or salary.
      • A commission or bonus.
      • Tips and gratuities.
      • Vacation pay.
      • Remuneration as a dependant contractor.
      • Income from work in a business that the member directly or indirectly operates and controls.
      • Unemployment benefits under the Employment Insurance Act (Canada).
      • Payments for a loss of earnings under the insurance plan under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.
      • Payments for sick leave or a short-term disability under a private or workplace insurance plan.
      • Any other income the service manager determines is related to employment.

      For these purposes, the service manager shall verify the employment income by means of "a proof of income statement" issued by CRA. If this document is not available, they shall use "the verification methods developed by the service manager to verify the income from employment of the member" [Reg 7(4)].

    2. Where the Method in (1) is Not Accurate, Use the Best Approximation Projection of Next 12 Calendar Month's Net Income

      If the service manager is of the opinion that the above calculation [under Reg 6(3)] "does not accurately reflect the current financial position of a member of a family unit", the service manager shall project their best approximation of net income, counted from the month after the calculation is done for the next 12 calendar months, minus any RDSP payments and plus any RDSP re-payments [Reg 6(4)].

    For these purposes, employment income is based on a projection from the service manager's best approximation of employment income, counted from the month after the calculation is done for the next 12 calendar months [Reg 7(2)].

    For the RDSP figures, the "the service manager shall verify amounts ... by means of the latest information available to the member" from CRA or if not available then "by using the verification methods developed by the service manager to verify any payments from a registered disability savings plan received or repaid by a member" [Reg 6(7)].

  • Interim Review Net Income [Reg 6(5,7-8), 7(2), 8]

    For an interim review, the service manager shall project their best approximation of net income, counted from the month after the calculation is done for the next 12 calendar months, minus any RDSP payments and plus any RDSP re-payments [Reg 6(5)].

    For these purposes, employment income is based on a projection from the service manager's best approximation of employment income, counted from the month after the calculation is done for the next 12 calendar months [Reg 7(2)].

    For the RDSP figures, the "the service manager shall verify amounts ... by means of the latest information available to the member" from CRA or if not available then "by using the verification methods developed by the service manager to verify any payments from a registered disability savings plan received or repaid by a member" [Reg 6(7)].
(d) Second Exception: ODSP Exception for Federal Pensions

When a benefit unit is on ODSP (not welfare), their income support is mostly made up of 'basic needs' and 'shelter'. The 'basic needs' component is set out here: ODSP General Reg 222/98, s.30(1)1].

When this basic needs amount for the benefit unit is exceeded by either the total federal OAS spousal allowance or the CPP-D for benefit unit, then the RGI rent calculation set out in (b) above is excepted, and an alternative (and higher) RGI rent calculation applies [Reg 3(7)].

(e) Alternative Rent Calculation

The monthly alternative rent is calculated by taking the 'non-benefit income' [calculated as above in (c)], and subtracting [Reg 4(1-3)]:
  • for a benefit unit of one person, employment income to a maximum of $75, or

  • for a benefit unit with more than one person, the total employment income from members of the benefit unit, a maximum of $150.
Then, multiply this figure by 0.3. This is the alternative rent.


4. Non-Social Assistance (Family Unit) Rent Calculation

(a) Overview

The rent calculation for the "part of the family unit that is not a benefit unit" ('non-social-assistance rent' or 'family unit rent') is the same as that for the 'alternative rent calculation' in s.3(e) above. It is - roughly - 30% of the net income of the family unit, after a small income deduction.

(b) The Calculation

The "family unit" RGI rent portion is calculated by taking the 'adjusted family net income' "of the family unit or the part of the family unit" that is not a benefit unit, and subtracting [Reg 5(1-3),8]:
  • for a family unit of one person, employment income to a maximum of $75, or

  • for a family unit with more than one person, the total employment income from members of the family unit, a maximum of $150.
Then, multiply this figure by 0.3. This is the 'non-social-assistance rent' or 'family unit rent' component.

The monthly 'adjusted family net income' is calculated by adding the net incomes of each member of the family unit - "excluding members who are in full-time attendance at a recognized educational facility" - and dividing by 12 [Reg 6(1)].
Terminology Note: Where the term "spouse" is used in relation to a 'family unit' [(b)], in contrast to it's use in relation to a 'benefit unit' [(a)], then it means as follows:
“spouse”,

(a) in relation to a benefit unit, has the same meaning as in Ontario Regulation 134/98 made under the Ontario Works Act, 1997, or

(b) in relation to a member of a family unit, means,

(i) an individual who, together with the member, has declared to the service manager that the individual and the member are spouses, or

(ii) an individual who is residing in the same dwelling place as the member, if the social and familial aspects of the relationship between the individual and the member amount to cohabitation and,

A. the individual is providing financial support to the member,

B. the member is providing financial support to the individual, or

C. the individual and the member have a mutual agreement or arrangement regarding their financial affairs.

(2) For the purpose of clause (b) of the definition of “spouse”, sexual factors shall not be investigated or considered in determining whether or not an individual is a spouse.

5. Services, Utilities and Heating

(a) Overview

The amount charged either directly or indirectly (ie. through the housing provider or their contractor) for services, utility and heating are regulated (ie. standardized) [by five charts (Tables 4-8) set out in Reg 316/19 "Determination of Geared-to-Income Rent Under s.50 of the Act"].

The amounts from the charts are added to the RGI rent when the service or utility is provided by the housing provider, and subtracted when the service, utility or heat is paid by the household [Reg 9]. The net intention is that the cost of these items is included in the RGI rent, so the household only pays the quoted rent figure - but given the fact that these rules are administered over 47 different service managers, how this is presented to the household (ie. lump sum rent including these items, or a flat rate 'rent plus' figure) can be expected to vary.

(b) Add Amount Where Services and Utilities Are Provided by the Housing Provider

These include electricity for lights and household use (other than unit heating and water heating) and laundry facilities that are provided by the housing provider. The amounts are set out in Table 4, Reg 316/19 (scroll down) [Reg 9(1)].

(c) Subtract Water and Appliance Allowance Where Household Pays

These include various oil, gas and electric charges - and water, refrigerator and stove - paid by the household. The amounts are set out in Table 5, Reg 316/19(scroll down) [Reg 9(2)].

(d) Subtract Oil Heating Charges Where Household Pays

These are oil heating charges paid by the household. The amounts are set out in Table 6, Reg 316/19 (scroll down) by regions of Ontario [Reg 9(3,6)].

(e) Subtract Gas Heating Charges Where Household Pays

These are gas heating charges paid by the household. The amounts are set out in Table 7, Reg 316/19 by regions of Ontario (scroll down) [Reg 9(4,6)].

(f) Subtract Electric Heating Charges Where Household Pays

These are electric heating charges paid by the household. The amounts are set out in Table 8, Reg 316/19 by regions of Ontario (scroll down) [Reg 9(5-6)].


6. Annual Reviews of RGI Eligibility
Note: The HSA has two different meanings for the term "review". First, as is used here, a 'review' is a periodic re-verification of a household's RGI eligibility. But it is also used in the sense of an 'appeal', an administrative "review" to challenge certain service manager decisions [see Ch.11]. In this chapter an 'appeal review' means one requested by a household, and not by a household provider [Reg 316/19, s.1(1), HSA 156].
(a) Overview

After RGI eligibility is first established by an initial calculation [under ss.2-5, above], the service manager shall perform an annual review of the amount of RGI rent on all households thereafter [Reg 10(1)]. The annual review will use either the same methods used for an initial calculation ['full annual review'] [see ss.2-5, above], or - optional (to the service manager) and in some circumstances - do a 'pensioner' annual review [see (b) below].

Note that initial calculations and annual reviews do have some different rules [these are specified in s.3 above].

(b) Pensioner Annual Review

. Overview

At the discretion of the service manager, and if the criteria in "pensioner method criteria" (below) are met, the annual review may be performed with this pensioner method.

. Pensioner Method Criteria

The following are the circumstances to qualify for a 'pensioner' annual review [Reg 10(3)]:
  • all members of the household are unemployed,

  • any income that the members of the household receive is paid in fixed amounts for specified periods (eg. federal pensions),

  • income of the members of the household includes either OAS or Ontario GAINS payments [the 'pension amounts'],

  • there was an adjustment increase either the OAS or Ontario GAINS in the past year,

  • the household has no dependents, and

  • the last review was not done using the pensioner method.
. Pensioner Method

The pensioner annual review method is to following these steps [Reg 10(2)]:
  1. determine the total amount of the OAS and/or Ontario GAINS pensions of the household,

    If the annual review is done 01 July-31 December, the pension amounts used are for the prior tax year. If the annual review is done 01 January-30 June, use the pension amounts for the next previous tax year.

  2. now determine the amount by which these pension payments increased from the last year,

  3. divide by 12,

  4. multiply by 0.3,

  5. add this sum to the last rent RGI rent.
. Date Effective

Any change to RGI rent shall take effect "on the first day of the month following the month in which the review is completed" [Reg 10(4)].

If the result of the annual review is appealed [under Ch.11 "Appeal (Reviews)"] the result of the appeal shall take effect "on the first day of the month following the month in which the (original) review is completed" [Reg 10(6)].

If a rent increase results from an annual review, and it would otherwise be effective in 2021, the increase shall be deferred to 01 January 2022 ('COVID increase deferral') [Reg 10(7)].

If an increase is less than $10, the service manager may disregard it [Reg 10(5)].


7. Interim Reviews of RGI Eligibility
'Review' Note: The HSA has two different meanings for the term "review". First, as is used here, a 'review' is a periodic re-verification of a household's RGI eligibility. But it is also used in the sense of an 'appeal', an administrative "review" to challenge certain service manager decisions [see Ch.11]. In this chapter an 'appeal review' means one requested by a household, and not by a household provider [Reg 316/19, s.1(1), HSA 156].
(a) Overview

In addition to mandatory annual reviews of RGI eligibility (above), the HSA allows for what I call 'normal interim reviews' of RGI eligibility under certain circumstances (below), and at the sole discretion of the service manager [Reg 11(1)]. There are also 'extenuating' interim reviews [see (c) below].

(b) Circumstances for 'Normal' Interim Reviews

The circumstances justifying a normal interim review are any of the following [Reg 11(2)]:
  1. Household-Requested Review Where Expectation that Service Manager's Projection of Net Income Would be Less than 80% of Last RGI Rent [this situation is cited below as '#1']

    This is where a household requests an interim review "based on an expectation" that if the net income of each family unit member of the household" (ie. excluding those members not included in the RGI rent calculation and not included in a benefit unit), were calculated using the service manager's best approximation projection method then the total net income calculation would be 80% or less of the current net income rate.

  2. Change in Composition of Household

    There has been a permanent change in the composition of the household.

  3. Member of Household Starts or Stops Full-time School

    A member of the household has begun or ceased full-time attendance at a recognized educational institution.

  4. Member of Household Starts or Stops Social Assistance

    A member of the household has begun to receive or has stopped receiving welfare or ODSP.

  5. Member of Household Has Change in Tax Assessment

    The taxes of a member of the household whose income tax information was used in calculating the RGI rent have been reassessed or additionally assessed [under s.152 ITA].

  6. Service Manager Discretionary Projection that Benefit Unit's Non-Benefit Income Over Next Year Will Exceed Limit

    The service manager projects, based on a calculation that is at the service manager’s discretion, that the average of the monthly non-benefit income of a benefit unit in the household for the next 12 months will exceed the applicable monthly non-benefit income limit set out in Column 3 of Tables 1 to 3.
Normal interim reviews are allowed once in the time between annual reviews (and also once in the time between an initial calculation and the first annual review) [Reg 11(1)].

(c) 'Extenuating' Interim Reviews

'Extenuating' interim reviews may be conducted at anytime (after a 'normal' interim review), when [Reg 11(3)]:
  • at the sole discretion of the service manager, extenuating circumstances apply, and

  • any of the circumstances listed in (b) (above) occur [except #1].
Such an 'extenuating' interim review shall be conducted 'without delay' [Reg 11(4)].

(d) When RGI Rate Change Effective After Interim Review

If a change in RGI rent results after any kind of interim review (normal or extenuating), then it shall take effect the first day of the next month [as per the circumstances set out in (b): 'Circumstances for 'Normal' Interim Reviews'] [Reg 11(5)]:
  • after the request by the household in situation #1 occurs;

  • otherwise, "following the date on which the event occurred."
If the change in RGI rent occurs after a household request for a review (appeal) by a review body (see 'Review Note' above) the change takes effect under these same rules [Reg 11(7)].

If a rent increase results from an annual review, and it would otherwise be effective in 2021, the increase shall be deferred to 01 January 2022 ('COVID increase deferral') [Reg 11(8)].

If an increase is less than $10, the service manager may disregard it [Reg 11(6)].

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