FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ottawa, ON: November 22, 2017 – To mark National Housing Day, the federal government unveiled the details of its National Housing Strategy (NHS), a national plan to address housing and homelessness in Canada. The Dignity for All campaign, co-led by Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) and Canada Without Poverty (CWP), welcomed the announcement as a step toward ending poverty in Canada.
The government’s NHS makes positive steps forward by recognizing housing as a fundamental right, committing to building up to 100,000 new affordable housing units and renovating 300,000 existing units, and announcing new funding over the next 10 years. It will also include a portable housing benefit paid directly to tenants to provide them with more housing options and a specific Indigenous housing strategy.
In its 2015 model national anti-poverty plan, the Dignity for All campaign called for dedicated federal funding of no less than $2 billion per year in new federal money to implement housing solutions outlined in a national plan, with funds to be matched by provinces and territories. The plan also called for steps and significant investment to address the most marginalized communities in Canada, including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit persons living on reserve, where much of the housing stock is in deplorable condition, characterized by the presence of mould, inadequate heating, contaminated water, and overcrowding. Dignity for All’s plan also calls for the recognition of the right to adequate housing, ratified by Canada in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
“The funding committed to in the NHS is a major step towards meeting the rights of people experiencing poverty and housing insecurity in Canada,” said Harriett McLachlan, deputy director of CWP. “However, to effectively end poverty, this strategy needs to be implemented alongside a national anti-poverty strategy that comprehensively addresses the causes of homelessness, poverty, and food insecurity, and provides avenues of accountability for people in Canada to access their human rights.”
“We congratulate the government of Canada for completing a process where public consultation was used to inform policy development, especially from those in severe housing need,” said CPJ policy analyst Natalie Appleyard. “A report on ‘what we heard’ from Canadians was released and now the NHS has been announced.”
“CPJ expects that the federal consultation process on a national anti-poverty strategy, concluded in September, will follow a similarly responsive cycle. The report on the consultation should be quickly released, and the national anti-poverty strategy itself (promised two years ago) should be announced in advance of the 2018 federal budget with substantial funding commitments to finally eradicate poverty in Canada.”
Since it launched in 2009, the Dignity for All campaign has called for a national plan to eradicate poverty. In 2015, the campaign released its model plan, Dignity for All – A National Anti-Poverty Plan for Canada, based on five years of consultation with 600 organizations and individuals with lived experience of poverty across the country. The plan outlines six policy areas where the federal government can lead in drastically reducing poverty: income security, housing and homelessness, food security, health, early childhood education and care, and jobs and employment.
Dignity for All: the campaign for a poverty-free Canada, headed by Canada Without Poverty and Citizens for Public Justice, is a multi-year, non-partisan campaign supported by over 11,000 individuals and 700 local and national organizations calling for a comprehensive federal plan to eliminate poverty.