Human Rights And Housing: Ensuring Healthy And Affordable Homes For All

Human Rights And Housing: Ensuring Healthy And Affordable Homes For All
Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall, Ontario Human Rights Commission
Tracy Heffernan, lawyer, Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario

Michael Shapcott, Director Housing and Innovation, Wellesley Institute

International, national and Ontario human rights laws are a robust foundation on which to build effective housing policies. Everyone is welcome to join smart and skilled practitioners as they set out practical strategies to ensure healthy and affordable homes for all using a rights framework. Among the initiatives to be highlighted:

Housing, human rights and planning: As part of its pioneering work on housing and human rights, the Ontario Human Rights Commission has been active in ensuring that the provincial Human Rights Code provisions for equal treatment in housing apply to critical municipal planning and zoning decisions that may lead to discrimination against certain people. More on the OHRC’s work in housing here:

Charter challenge on right to housing: The Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario, working with a range of partners, has launched a legal challenge under sections 7 and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that argues that Canada’s failure to respond effectively to a nation-wide homelessness disaster and affordable housing crisis is a violation of the federal government’s domestic and international rights obligations. More info here:

Universal Periodic Review: In May of 2013, Canada will be at the United Nations’ Human Rights Council for its second Universal Periodic Review of its international rights obligations. After criticism during the first UPR in 2009, the federal government promised to better progress. The Wellesley Institute is preparing a formal submission to the UN to track housing developments since 2009. More information on the 2009 UPR and on draft legislation for a national housing plan here: