Housing to Become a Human Right in Canada

  • October 4, 2019
  • BakerLaw

The Canadian Government has introduced the National Housing Strategy Act that affirms housing as a human right. The Act will invest more than $55 billion over the next ten years to give Canadians safe and affordable housing. For years, advocates and the public have been pushing the government to help the 1.7 million people across Canada that are in need of housing.

The government answered with a strategy that includes a goal to remove half a million families from need of housing and cut homelessness in half in the next ten years. This strategy takes a strong human rights approach, meaning the government will assist the most vulnerable and those in desperate need of housing. The initiative will prioritize women and children fleeing family violence, seniors, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, those dealing with mental health and addiction issues, veterans and young adults.

It is difficult to envision what these changes will look like and whether or not the government will achieve their lofty goals. Nonetheless, the introduction of housing as a human right in our legislation is a strong step forward in the effort to achieve equity and universal human rights. Canada signed the UN-backed International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in 1979 which recognizes “adequate” housing as a right. Finally, this right will be recognized domestically, giving the right to housing a new meaning and power.

You can read more about this in the Toronto Star article here (link).

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