Housing activists in Canada have long decried the hypocrisy in their nation’s rhetorical commitment to housing as a human right while its affordable housing supply has shrunk and fallen into disrepair. Canada, like most other countries in the world, ratified an international covenant that guarantees the right to housing. But over the past few years, powerful moves by housing activists, a worsening housing crisis in big cities and small towns alike, and a series of negative reviews by the United Nation’s special rapporteur on adequate housing have made the problem too big to ignore.
In response, the ruling liberal government released a new national housing strategy, which commits $40 billion CAD to a broad menu of housing interventions over the next decade. The plan is notable not only for the significant amount of resources committed, but also for overtly declaring that it will approach housing as a human right—or at least point its policy in that direction.