Today, the CAEH joined advocates across Canada to welcome right to housing amendments to the National Housing Strategy Act contained in federal budget implementation legislation. The amended legislation lays the groundwork for a more effective National Housing Strategy helps cement long-term federal leadership on housing, and sets Canada on a path for the elimination of homelessness. Below is a statement issued today by the Right to Housing Campaign.
(Calgary, May 31) – Housing rights advocates across Canada welcomed amendments to the National Housing Strategy Act introduced by the government in the House of Commons today. The amendments introduced by Minister Maryam Monsef accompany right to housing amendments proposed by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance May 29. Together, these amendments make a strong and clear federal commitment to housing as a fundamental human right and add an innovative new rights-based accountability model that gives a meaningful voice and role to people with experience of homelessness and housing need.
The Government of Canada introduced the National Housing Strategy Act in the Budget Implementation Act, 2019 on April 8. This historic legislation requires governments to “further the progressive realization of the right to adequate housing” as recognized by international human rights laws.
“This is an historic moment in Canada,” says Tim Richter, Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness President & CEO with the Right to Housing Campaign. “If and when the National Housing Strategy Act is passed with these amendments, the federal government would take on international human rights leadership with a clear, decisive and unambiguous commitment in legislation to the right to housing.
“This legislation lays the groundwork for a more effective National Housing Strategy, cements long-term federal leadership on housing, and sets Canada on a path for the elimination of homelessness.”
The amendments were necessary to clarify and strengthen the rights-based approach. They reflect recommendations made by a broad range of civil society organizations and housing experts as well as by United Nations human rights bodies.
“The government made an important commitment to the right to housing when it introduced the National Housing Strategy,” said Elizabeth McIsaac, President of Maytree. “These amendments and this legislation show the government is willing to listen, take the time to get it right, and is serious about tackling Canada’s housing crisis.”
The proposed amendments make clear and direct commitments to adequate housing as a fundamental human right, the National Housing Council with a role to monitor progress on the progressive realization of the right to housing and provide advice to the designated federal Minister, strengthen the oversight role of an independent federal Housing Advocate, provide for a review panel to hold hearings into selective systemic issues relating to the right to housing, and require the Minister to respond to recommendations from that panel within 90 days.
For more information, visit housingrights.ca.
Click this link for a downloadable Backgrounder and Fact Sheet PDF on the right to housing in this Canadian context.