This is a critical moment: legislation for the National Housing Strategy is being drafted right now and with the government's historic promise to recognize the right to housing, we want to ensure we get this right.
We are calling on all parties to support the meaningful, effective legislation of the right to housing, as outlined in our open letter and draft legislation.
Let your MP know this is an issue that matters to you and that you're expecting some follow-up on its progress. We've heard their commitment, now let's get the NHS right(s)!
Nous nous trouvons à un moment historique: le gouvernement est en train d'écrire la législation pour la Stratégie nationale sur le logement, après avoir promis d'élaborer et de mettre en œuvre progressivement une approche du logement au Canada axée sur les droits de la personne.
Nous voulons assurer que cette législation répond à leur promesse.
Nous demandons que les députés de chaque partie politique soutiennent la législation significative et effective du droit au logement comme décrit dans notre lettre ouverte et notre ébauche de projet de loi.
Dites a votre député que le droit au logement est un sujet important pour vous et que vous attendez les nouvelles du progrès de cette législation. Nous avons entendu leur promesse, maintenant encourageons la mise en pratique!
At a press conference in Ottawa today advocates released an open letter to Prime Minister Trudeau signed by over 170 organizations and prominent Canadians urging the Prime Minister to make good on his commitment to the right to housing by enshrining that right in upcoming National Housing Strategy legislation.
The letter was penned by Amnesty International Canada, Campaign 2000: End Child and Family Poverty in Canada, Canada Without Poverty, the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, housing and homelessness researcher Emily Paradis, and the Social Rights Advocacy Centre. Supported by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to housing, the letter outlines key requirements of right to housing legislation consistent with international human rights law.
"We've come together to show the Prime Minister that there is broad-based support for legislated recognition of the right to housing and to offer a way forward," said Tim Richter, President of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness. "Canada's housing and homelessness crisis is the result of a failure to protect human rights. If we're serious about fixing this crisis, then Canada must live up to our international human rights commitments and have a legislated right to housing as the foundation of our National Housing Strategy."
Among the letter's signatories are national organizations including the Canadian Housing & Renewal Association, the Canadian Medical Association, the Native Women's Association of Canada, the Canadian Lived Experience Advisory Council and the United Church of Canada along with prominent Canadians like street nurse and advocate Cathy Crowe, former Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page, and former Liberal cabinet ministers Claudette Bradshaw and Irwin Cotler.
Every year over 235,000 people experience homelessness in Canada. Today, over 1.7 million Canadian households are living in unsafe, unsuitable, or unaffordable housing without better options available to them. These households are disproportionately led by women and feature overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, immigrants and refugees, youth and older adults, and members of racialized communities. All these people are experiencing the effects of a systemic crisis - a failure to protect and implement their human rights.
"Canada has an opportunity for international human rights leadership with a clear, decisive and unambiguous commitment in legislation to the right to housing," says Leilani Farha, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing. "The National Housing Strategy made an historic commitment to progressively implement the right to housing; what's needed now is legislation that ensures meaningful accountability to that right."
Draft legislation prepared by legal scholars and civil society experts is also available. This draft legislation offers suggestions on how the right to housing could be incorporated into the proposed National Housing Strategy legislation, consistent with international human rights law, and including mechanisms through which people affected by homelessness and inadequate housing can bring complaints about systemic violations and require the government to respond.
On 22 November 2017 the Government of Canada announced a National Housing Strategy based on its commitment to “progressively implement the right of every Canadian to access adequate housing.” Consultations held in recent months regarding the National Housing Strategy demonstrated a strong consensus that implementing legislation must explicitly recognize the right to housing as defined in international human rights law.
The following is a list of key commitments integral to the meaningful implementation of the right to housing. They were recently presented to Prime Minister Trudeau in an Open Letter signed by over 170 individuals and organizations across the country. You can add your name here.
We call on the federal government to ensure that Canada's National Housing Strategy legislation:
affirms the recognition of the right to housing as a fundamental human right;
implements accountability mechanisms through which those affected by homelessness or inadequate housing can hold governments accountable for the progressive realization of the right to housing;
ensures that the Office of the Federal Housing Advocate and National Housing Council are independent, adequately resourced and given authority to make recommendations and require remedial action for compliance with the right to housing;
provides for an adjudication body which includes both experts in human rights and persons with lived experience of homelessness or inadequate housing, to hold accessible hearings into systemic issues affecting the progressive realization of the right to housing and to recommend effective remedies;
requires goals and timelines for the elimination of homelessness and access to adequate housing, in accordance with Canada’s obligations under international human rights law and commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals;
provides resources and support for local lived-experienced-led monitoring of NHS programmes and for community initiatives to promote the right to adequate housing engaging all levels of government.
We believe the legislation implementing a rights-based national housing strategy provides an historic opportunity for the federal government to address, as a priority, a critical human rights issue at home and at the same time to provide leadership in human rights internationally. It is the first time that legislation implementing the right to housing has been contemplated in Canada, and it is critical that this be done right.