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Canada recognizes housing as a human right. Few provinces have followed suit



In Canada, where the struggle for affordable housing is becoming increasingly dire, one significant issue stands out: the recognition of housing as a fundamental human right. Surprisingly, among all the provinces, it's the smallest one that can proudly point to legislation acknowledging this right.


When questioned by The Canadian Press about their stance on housing as a human right and whether they plan to introduce legislation to uphold it, most provinces provided evasive responses, highlighting various initiatives aimed at addressing housing challenges within their regions.


Quebec's response drew unintended attention when a spokesperson for the housing minister accidentally forwarded a message asking whether to continue avoiding the reporter, highlighting potential discomfort with the inquiry.


Among the responses, Manitoba expressed recognition of Canada's rights-based approach to housing, while Newfoundland and Labrador affirmed agreement with federal and international law recognizing housing as a human right.


Prince Edward Island referenced its Residential Tenancy Act, which acknowledges Canada's commitment to housing as a human right, albeit without concrete measures to uphold it.


Marie-Josée Houle, the federal housing advocate, emphasized the importance of provinces adopting legislation recognizing housing as a human right. She emphasized the need for a human rights-based approach to housing, focusing on the needs of homeless individuals and involving them in decision-making processes.


Dale Whitmore of the Canadian Centre for Housing Rights echoed this sentiment, stressing the need for provinces to enact legislation that not only recognizes but also upholds housing as a human right. This includes measures such as rent regulation to ensure affordability and eviction protections to prevent homelessness due to unaffordable rents.


In the face of an escalating housing crisis, the call for concrete action to recognize and protect the right to housing grows louder, emphasizing the urgency for provinces to take meaningful steps to address this pressing issue.


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