The National Right to Housing Network is calling on the federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for human rights to focus on a right to housing.
On November 9, we sent a letter to the federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) ministers responsible for human rights attending an important inter-ministerial meeting on November 9 and 10, calling on them to address the human rights crisis in housing, focusing on implementing the right to housing that applies to all provinces and territories under international human rights law, by establishing an FPT Working Group for the implementation of the right to housing.
This inter-ministerial meeting is an important opportunity to address the current housing crisis through coordinated, collaborative action to implement the right to housing. Shockingly, Alberta and Quebec refused to participate. Alberta refuses to accept the fact that international human rights law applies to it, and Quebec refuses to commit to addressing systemic racism.
The Ministers were asked to respond to the Network’s proposal of an FPT working group on the right to housing at a session on November 10 held with civil society organizations. Attorney General David Lametti responded by noting the work being done by Minister Hussen to implement the right to housing under the National Housing Strategy Act, with agreements now in place with all provinces and territories, but said that the federal government is open to more work in this regard.
Minister Guilbeault, the federal Minister responsible for human rights, acknowledged the lack of progress in implementing the 2017 commitment to economic, social and cultural rights, but noted that to date, we have only had an informal arrangement with respect to FPT follow-up. He stated that it is difficult “to keep governments’ feet to the fire” without a more formal mechanism, and expects that a more formalized inter-ministerial human rights forum, with regular meetings, will facilitate enhanced stakeholder engagement and “force ministers to move forward on commitments”.
A more formal FPT framework for the implementation of the shared commitment to the progressive realization of the right to housing is desperately needed and would be responsive to repeated concerns and recommendations from UN human rights bodies.
Should the Ministers agree to the creation of an FPT mechanism for the Implementation of the Right to Housing, our Network would be pleased to assist in ensuring effective civil society and stakeholder participation. Read the full letter here.