Commissioner of Housing Equity
Read more about Cynthia Summers
With over twenty-five years of experience in the broad social services sector and a Master’s degree in Social Work, with a focus on social welfare policy, Cynthia has extensive experience in understanding and supporting persons facing vulnerabilities. She has expertise in working with persons and families facing mental and physical challenges, persons of low income, and new arrivals to Canada.
Her experience includes over fifteen years in the field of administrative law, having been appointed by both the federal government to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada to determine refugee eligibility for newcomers to Canada and to the Ontario provincial government to serve as a Member of the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal (now the Landlord and Tenant Board). Her knowledge of administrative justice, procedural fairness and in particular the issues related to the issues of rental arrears, eviction and social housing, were developed in her role determining landlord- tenant claims for over seven years.
As the founding Director of the Office of Student Conduct and Dispute Resolution at York University, Cynthia provided leadership in the areas of student conduct and crisis management. She co-chaired a Committee to develop a new Code of Conduct to ensure procedural fairness for students, and created new processes for dealing with complaints, including the creation of a University Administrative Tribunal for determining issues of serious misconduct. The mandate of the Office grew under Cynthia’s leadership to include the management of all student crises; such as student suicides, interpersonal conflicts and health related issues.
Cynthia is an expert in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and she continues to teach administrative law and how to use ADR effectively to work with vulnerable persons, in the School of Business at Humber College.
Through her professional experiences, Cynthia has gained a practical understanding of the necessity to implement informal resolution prior to subjecting vulnerable persons to the more formal tribunal systems. Cynthia is committed to the goal of eviction prevention and to ensuring that seniors and vulnerable tenants at Toronto Community Housing Corporation can access the supports necessary to ensure stable housing.
Cynthia is a Member of the Society of Adjudicators and Regulators of Ontario and also the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.