Legislate the Right to Housing

Addendum to Sept 6 2018 Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau

Mr. Prime Minister, during a press conference to announce the National Housing Strategy (NHS), you proclaimed that your government “(…) recognizes that housing rights are human rights (…) [that] [e]veryone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home (…) and [that you] will introduce legislation to ensure that future governments continue to take steps to support access to adequate housing”. Unfortunately, your words fall flat when they are compared with the actions taken by your government on this file.

The NHS only aims to reduce chronic homelessness by 50% over the next decade. How can you say that housing rights are human rights when your plan is to leave 50% of Canada’s chronically homeless out in the cold?

In November 2017, you had an opportunity to support MP Rachel Blaney’s Private Member’s Bill, C-325, to enshrine the right to housing in Canadian law. But, your government voted ‘nay’.

Then, in February 2018, you had an opportunity to work across party lines to create a national plan to end and prevent homelessness in Canada. But, again, your government voted ‘nay’.

In August 2018, an open letter signed by over 170 organizations and prominent Canadians was submitted to your office urging you to follow through on your commitment to make housing a human right. We wholeheartedly support this letter.

Despite a track record of refusal to recognize that housing rights are human rights, we are hopeful that your government understands that Canadians should not be left out in the cold with no place to call home. We can, and we should, be more ambitious with our housing goals. We must start by letting Canadians know - in legislation - that it is their human right to be able to access adequate housing.

Questions on housing and human rights have been asked in the House of Commons on: November 24, 2017, March 26, 2018, March 27, 2018, June 1, 2018, and June 12, 2018.

Statements on housing and human rights have been delivered in the House of Commons on: November 22, 2016, December 1, 2017, February 2, 2018, and March 20, 2018.  

Speeches and adjournment proceedings on housing and human rights have been delivered in the House of Commons on: November 3, 2017, November 24, 2017, and February 15, 2018.