2022 Edition

Shelter Services (CA-SH) 5: The Rights of Service Recipients

The organization respects individuals’ rights, dignity, and values.

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Shelter Services meet the basic needs of individuals and families who are homeless or in transition, support family stabilization or independent living, and facilitate access to services and permanent housing.
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.      
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Program rules
  • Procedures regarding opening mail of persons served
  • Expulsion policy
  • Expulsion procedures
  • Information regarding service recipientsu2019 rights
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Persons served
  • Review case records

Fundamental Practice

CA-SH 5.01

Stays in the program are voluntary, unless legally mandated.

Fundamental Practice

CA-SH 5.02

The use of services beyond the provision of shelter is voluntary and is not required as a condition of stay.


CA-SH 5.03

The environment promotes a non-threatening, welcoming, and inclusive approach, and fosters trust and engagement for all service recipients.


Programs should provide an affirming, safe and welcoming environment for all individuals. Youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender non-conforming (LGBT) are greatly overrepresented among youth experiencing homelessness, and are at higher risk for verbal, physical, and sexual harassment and assault. Programs can help to signal that they provide an environment that is safe and welcoming, for example, by posting “visual cues” in the reception or common area, such as a nondiscrimination policy or LGBTQ symbols (i.e., posters, stickers, and flags), and ensuring that the environment is free from homophobic and transphobic language.
Note: Please see the Facility Observation Checklist for additional guidance on this standard.


CA-SH 5.04

Program rules are developed with the participation of service recipients.

Fundamental Practice

CA-SH 5.05

The organization does not open mail received by a resident unless a previous incident involving the resident indicates that:
  1. the mail is suspected of containing unauthorized, dangerous, or illegal material or substances, in which case it may be opened by the resident in the presence of designated personnel; or
  2. receiving or sending unopened mail is contraindicated.

Fundamental Practice

CA-SH 5.06

Written expulsion policies and procedures:
  1. are provided at intake;
  2. are clear and simple, avoiding overly rigid and bureaucratic language and rules;
  3. define specific behaviours, conditions, or circumstances that may result in expulsion, and limit expulsion to extreme situations;
  4. include timely due process provisions;
  5. describe the conditions or process for re-admission to the program; and
  6. require all reasonable efforts be made to prevent exits to unsheltered locations.
Examples: Examples of reasons for expulsion include when a service recipient exhibits severely disruptive behaviour or is violent toward self or others.