Every five years (or so), Canada has the opportunity to address, on a global stage, how it is doing on the meaningful implementation of economic, social, and cultural rights through the United Nations review of Canada under the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.
Next week, the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (CESCR) will meet with civil society to determine the critical questions that Canada must answer in response to its implementation of these rights. At the forefront of this review is the right to housing.
While Canada has taken an important step forward with its right to housing legislation, we know that the housing and homeless crisis demands urgent action from all levels of government.
In preparation for Canada’s appearance on the world stage on economic and social rights, the National Right to Housing Network’s Steering Committee made a submission on how Canada is doing and how much work is left in implementing the right to housing.
The submission outlines recommendations on next steps for the Federal Housing Advocate, Council and Review Panel – as well as some of the other key steps for Canada to be in line with its international human rights obligations. Some of the key issues include:
- Recognizing the National Housing Strategy Act as a significant advance in the domestic implementation of the right to adequate housing;
- Ensuring that stakeholders are able to bring forward systemic issues to the Federal Housing Advocate and Council for investigation and hearings, and promote the implementation of the right to housing locally and regionally;
- Updating the goals of the National Housing Strategy so that targets and timelines are consistent with international human rights obligations, including the elimination of homelessness in the shortest time possible based on the maximum of available resources;
- Implementing the right to housing on the municipal level;
- Building new affordable housing;
- Addressing the financialization of housing;
- Preventing forced evictions;
- Combating discrimination and the criminalization of homelessness; and
- Implementing the right to housing for persons with disabilities.
To participate in the National Right to Housing Network’s next steps in Canada’s CESCR review (or to learn about other United Nations reviews), join the Network!