Ontario By-Name List Approach and Homeless Enumeration in 2021 - March 19, 2021

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Assistant Deputy Minister’s Office

Municipal Affairs and Housing
777 Bay Street, 14th Floor
Toronto ON M7A 2J3

March 19, 2021

Service Manager Chief Administrative Officers
Service Manager Housing/Homelessness Directors

Dear Colleagues:

I am writing you to provide details on the introduction of Ontario’s By-Name List approach and homeless enumeration in 2021.

In March 2020, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) communicated to Service Managers and sector organizations its intention to introduce By-Name Lists across Ontario in 2021. Over the past months, MMAH has engaged with a select group of Service Managers and experts to inform Ontario’s By-Name List approach and homelessness enumeration in 2021.

Enclosed with this letter are the updated Minister’s Directive to Service Managers (Directive) and the Service Manager Guidelines: By-Name List Implementation and Homeless Enumeration (Guidelines) that set out the provincial approach for By-Name Lists and homeless enumeration.

All 47 Service Managers across Ontario are expected to begin developing a By-Name List in April 2021 and have an operational list across the entire Service Manager area by January 1, 2022. A By-Name List is an ongoing real-time list of people experiencing homelessness in a community. A By-Name List can be used to connect people to a range of housing options and supports.

Recognizing that the By-Name List approach is a major shift for many Service Managers, MMAH is partnering with the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH) to provide coaching, training and support to help Service Managers develop and implement their local By-Name List.

Due to the limitations in the 2018 data, we paused enumeration requirements in 2020 to reassess our approach. With the implementation of By-Name Lists, we are going beyond a snapshot of anonymous data to gathering real-time information. This will help individuals experiencing homelessness connect to the local housing and supports they need. To provide greater consistency in the data collected and to help build local By-Name Lists, MMAH will also require Service Managers to enumerate by December 15, 2021, using a Point-in-Time Count method.

A Point-in-Time Count captures numbers and basic demographics of people experiencing homelessness at a single point in time. Conducting a Point-in-Time Count also provides an opportunity to connect with people experiencing homelessness in the community to ask if they would like to be included on the By-Name List to receive help from Service Managers to find housing and supports.

MMAH has worked to maximize alignment with federal Point-in-Time Count requirements for Ontario communities funded under the federal government’s Reaching Home program.

MMAH will be holding a meeting later this month with Service Managers to review the By-Name List approach and enumeration requirements outlined in the Guidelines and Directive. MMAH will also discuss the types of training and supports CAEH will be providing to support Service Managers in developing and implementing their By-Name Lists.

I would also like to thank those who participated in engagement sessions, including Ontario Municipal Social Services Association (OMSSA) and Association of Municipalities Ontario (AMO), and for providing valuable input and feedback on the proposed approach for By-Name Lists and Point-in-Time Counts.

I look forward to continuing to work in partnership with Service Managers on improving housing outcomes for vulnerable populations across Ontario.


Joshua Paul
Assistant Deputy Minister
Housing Division