Canadians have been urging their governments to recognize housing as a human right for over a decade. Last year, the federal government introduced Canada’s National Housing Strategy and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that “housing rights are human rights”. Now public consultations on the National Housing Strategy’s human rights-based approach to housing are underway until June 2018. The Government of Canada wants to hear what you have to say about the key elements of a human rights-based approach to housing, the proposed approach to new legislation, and new concepts to be explored.
We believe that the federal government MUST recognize that housing is a human right in law. Canada signed international agreements that must be upheld. We need clear remedies to hold our government accountable to their promise. Without recognition of the right to housing in law, a human-rights based approach to housing is merely symbolic.
Click on this link to send an email to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and tell them to recognize housing as a right in law.
Right to Housing Forum
On April 30, 2018, we organized the Right to Housing Forum. Panelists discussed solutions to Ontario’s affordable rental housing crisis and what the right to housing should look like in Canada – if you couldn’t make it in person, watch the forum here:
The Government of Canada is currently in the midst of a national consultation for their human rights-based approach to housing. Consultations will end on June 1, 2018. We encourage everyone to engage in this process through written submissions.
Here are two resources to help you with your submission:
2 – Emily Paradis, Research Consultant at the University of Toronto and Bruce Porter, the Executive Director of the Social Rights Advocacy Centre have prepared a summary paper that sets out key elements for implementing the right to housing: Implementing the Human Right to Housing in Canada’s National Housing Strategy.
Our federal government has promised to fix the affordable housing crisis with the recently announced National Housing Strategy. They announced billions of dollars of investments, which will require cost-matching by the provinces and territories. What will the Ontario government do to make sure we don’t lose these funds?
The federal government also promised to recognize that housing is a human right. But what does that mean? How can we hold our government accountable to their promise?
Join us for a discussion on what is needed to fix Ontario’s affordable housing crisis and what a rights-based approach to housing should look like.
The panel of housing advocates include:
- Leilani Farha (UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing)
- Michael Creek & Dawnmarie Harriott (Working for Change)
- Tracy Heffernan (Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario)
- Sheila Warner (Aboriginal Legal Services)
- Suad Badri (Hamilton Tenants Solidarity Network)
- Council Fire Native Cultural Centre
Moderated by Effie Vlachoyannoacos (Maytree)
This is a free event. Everyone is welcome!
Wheelchair accessible. ASL interpretation provided. Scent-free zone.
This event will be livestreamed at acto.ca
Please download this flyer and share within your network.
Share and invite your friends on our Facebook event page.
ACTO and the Right to Housing Coalition applaud recognition of right to housing in National Housing Strategy
November 24, 2017 (TORONTO) — For over seven years, the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO) and the Right to Housing Coalition – alongside housing advocates from across the country, including those with lived experience of homelessness – have pressed for a National Housing Strategy and the recognition in law of the right to housing. Those demands have finally been heard by the federal government in their announcement of a National Housing Strategy.
“The courts repeatedly blocked our efforts to have these rights recognized under existing laws. But the community organizing on the ground sent a loud message to the government that enough is enough,” says ACTO lawyer Tracy Heffernan, one of the legal counsel in the historic Charter challenge. “The fight isn’t over just yet. Until new legislation is adopted by Parliament, we have to keep up the pressure to ensure that our government stays true to their promise of legally recognizing that housing is a human right.”
From 2010 to 2015, the Right to Housing Coalition worked tirelessly to have the voices of those impacted by the affordable housing crisis heard by the courts through the Charter case called Tanudajaja vs. Canada. 10,000 pages of evidence never heard by the court demonstrated:
- how supportive housing can save lives;
- how housing unaffordability impacts families and youth;
- the link between homelessness, mental illness and addictions;
- how criminalization of homelessness creates real barriers;
- how the Indigenous population is disproportionately impacted by homelessness;
- how inadequate housing impacts those with intellectual disabilities and physical abilities; and
- how women’s safety and access to affordable housing is critical.
Five applicants bravely shared their life stories of struggling with inadequate housing and homelessness, while many social justice organizations intervened in the case to echo the call for the right to housing, backed up by a National Housing Strategy.
In 2016, ACTO, the Right to Housing Coalition and others went to Geneva to make the case before the United Nations’ Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) that people were suffering from governments’ broken promises and to push for the right to housing in Canada.
Details of the National Housing Strategy unclear
While we celebrate the recognition of the right to housing and the creation of the first National Housing Strategy, we are also waiting for more details of how it will be implemented, to verify that it actually meets the needs of those living on lower incomes in Canada. The affordable housing crisis most adversely impacts hundreds of thousands of people living on lower incomes and fighting to keep a roof over their heads. These people cannot wait several years for the bulk of the money to be spent.
“Committing to a national strategy is an important step toward ending the affordable housing crisis, but a generation has gone by without meaningful spending and the time is now to invest in building communities,” says Kenneth Hale, the Director of Advocacy and Legal Services at ACTO. “We must continue to advocate for the rights of the most marginalized members of our society and work in partnership with people whose lives are being thrown off course by a lack of housing opportunities.”
See official press release here.
The Canadian government has promised to fix the affordable housing crisis with Canada’s first ever National Housing Strategy. From June to October 2016, the Federal government asked Canadians to share their thought on the future of housing in Canada. They summarized their findings in What We Heard: Shaping Canada’s National Housing Strategy.
The federal government promised to invest new funds in the next 11 years through the National Housing Strategy, to tackle the affordable housing crisis. This fall, they will unveil the National Housing Strategy.
We believe that access to safe, adequate and affordable housing is a basic human right. And we want to make sure that our National Housing Strategy will guarantee everyone the fundamental right to housing.
Take action now! Click here to tell PM Justin Trudeau to make safe, adequate and affordable housing for all in Canada a legislated human right.
For more information:
Mind the Gap: Repairing Canada’s Social Safety Net with Human Rights
R2H Coalition submission to the Government of Canada on a National Housing Strategy
R2H Coalition submission to the UN’s CESCR on the Right to Adequate Housing
“Canada’s housing safety net is full of holes, that can and should be fixed, because access to clean, safe and affordable housing shouldn’t be considered a privilege, it is a human right. That was the message sent by advocates, supporters and activists who gathered on the lawn of Queen’s Park on Friday afternoon, before marching through Toronto in support of the National Housing Day of Action. . . ”
Read the full article here.
Toronto Star – November 22, 2016: “Report on Canada’s national housing strategy released“
Food, water and shelter are some of the most fundamental human rights, yet Canada is facing an affordable housing and homelessness crisis. Everything begins with housing – without it, no one can truly live life with dignity.
On Friday November 18th, take the people’s pledge and join our National Housing Day of Action – take to the streets and march for the right to housing!
See details of the march here.
We encourage you to bring noise makers – pots, pants, cans, shakers, drums, etc. and join the drummers as we march!
The Canadian government has promised to fix the affordable housing crisis with Canada’s first ever National Housing Strategy. On November 22nd, they will announce what they have heard people across Canada say is needed in a National Housing Strategy. We are calling for the government to ensure our National Housing Strategy will guarantee everyone the right to safe, adequate, and affordable housing.
We are here, loud and clear. Our message to the government is simple:
“This is Canada’s moment to make history. The federal and provincial governments have made the commitment to provide adequate housing to all. We, the people, are here to make a pledge that we will hold the government accountable to their promise.
- No one shall ever feel a loss of their dignity because they don’t have a home.
- No one shall ever have to choose between adequate food and housing.
- No one shall ever have to live on our streets and sidewalks, or worry they may end up there.
- No one shall ever have to pass on life’s opportunities because they don’t have a place to call home.
This is our pledge to everyone in Canada. Join our movement. Make your voice heard. Together let’s make a commitment that we will hold the government accountable.”