Recognize the Right to Housing in Law

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:

1 – ACTO’s ideas paper on the human rights-based approach: Questions on the Way to the Right to Housing.

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.

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Right to Housing Community Forum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Register here.

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:

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.

Tell Canada’s Prime Minister to make affordable housing a human right!

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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.

Follow-up story:
Toronto Star – November 22, 2016: “Report on Canada’s national housing strategy released

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MARCH for the Right to Housing!

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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!

To endorse the march as a group or organization, please contact: righttohousingcoalition@gmail.com
(Endorsers will be listed here)

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.”

Please download this flyer and share within your network.
Share and invite your friends on our Facebook event page.

R2H Coalition submission on a National Housing Strategy

(Photo by John Bonnar)

(Photo credit: John Bonnar)

Download the Right to Housing Coalition’s written submission for the Government of Canada’s “Let’s Talk Housing” consultation:

Full submission
2-page summary

We encourage you to widely share, print and distribute our submission and/or summary. We welcome everyone to use them in your own efforts to call for an adequate National Housing Strategy that centers housing as a human right!

We also feel that this consultation process has been inadequate so far (details can be found in our full submission). It should not be a one-time consultation that wraps up on November 22nd, 2016 with a summary report and an announcement. The federal government needs to make a commitment to meaningfully engage and involve those with lived experience of precarious housing, housing inadequacy or homelessness, and those who work with vulnerable tenants and homeless people. This must happen throughout all stages of development, implementation and evaluation of the National Housing Strategy.

Tell your MP what you think – find your local MP here.
Send your feedback by October 21st to the “Let’s Talk Housing” consultation here.

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New UN report slams Canada for persistent housing & homelessness crisis

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Toronto (March 7, 2016) – In a new United Nations report released today, Canada is criticized harshly for its ongoing housing and homelessness crisis. Some of the problems identified by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights include: absence of a national housing strategy; insufficient funding for housing; inadequate housing subsidy within the social assistance benefit; shortage of social housing units; increased evictions related to rental arrears; increased numbers of homeless and lack of homelessness prevention; shortage of emergency shelters; laws that penalize people for being homeless; lack of adequate housing for people with psycho-social and intellectual disabilities; and the poor housing conditions of Canada’s indigenous peoples.

After the Supreme Court ruled that homeless Canadians could not present their evidence in court, a group of affordable housing advocates took their concerns to the UN. The UN Committee reviewed Canada in February on its compliance as a signatory to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, a legally binding international treaty that outlines specific human rights obligations, including the right to an adequate standard of living.

“A committee of international human rights experts was able to see what Canadians and their political representatives refuse to see – that we are failing to protect a large and vulnerable portion of our population from violations of their fundamental right to housing,” commented Legal Director at the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario, Kenneth Hale, who was part of the NGO delegation that met with the Committee in Geneva last month.

Recommendations in the UN report include: implement a rights-based national housing strategy; increase federal and provincial resources for housing; increase availability of social housing and adequate emergency shelters across the country; intensify efforts to address indigenous peoples’ housing crisis; and integrate a disability perspective in all housing plans and policies. The report also sharply criticizes the barriers to disadvantaged groups accessing legal rights through the courts, and recommends that Canada broaden its interpretation of sections 7, 12 and 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to include economic, social and cultural rights.

“Canada’s international reputation has taken an embarrassing nosedive over the past decade. All eyes are on Canada now to see if the new Liberal government will show that it is indeed serious about real change by complying with its international human rights obligations,” said Helen Luu of the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario and Right to Housing Coalition.

The UN Committee’s full report (concluding observations) can be found here.
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Official press release can be found in English here (ou en Français ici).

Media coverage:
March 7, 2016 – Toronto Star: UN raises concern over Canada’s persistent ‘housing crisis’
March 7, 2016 – Ici Radio-Canada: Stratégie nationale du logement : le Canada réprimandé par l’ONU
March 8, 2016 – Huffington Post: UN Warns of ‘Persistent Housing Crisis’ in Canada
March 8, 2016 – CBC News: UN critical of Canada’s record on housing, homelessness
March 15, 2016 – L’Express: Logement et sans-abri: le Canada réprimandé

 

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