OTTAWA – In the lead up to National Housing Day on November 22, the NDP Housing Critic, Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet (Hochelaga), reiterated the NDP’s expectations for the soon-to-be released National Housing Strategy, details of which will be announced in the coming days.

“We urgently need a housing strategy based on human rights,” said Boutin-Sweet. “In 1976, Canada ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which recognizes the right to housing. The government must take this opportunity to integrate the right to housing into Canadian legislation and put in place measures that are necessary to ensure that we finally meet that standard.”  

Data from the 2016 Census shows that 24.1% of Canadian families are paying more that 30% of their total household income towards housing. In Vancouver and Toronto, one in three people is affected by the housing affordability crisis. Meanwhile, existing social housing unit stocks are depleting and waiting lists for these units are getting longer.

“Funds committed to housing and to fighting homelessness should be seen as investments, not just expenses,” continued Boutin-Sweet. “We cannot wait any longer. The government must work with local stakeholders and immediately provide the necessary funds to solve this crisis. The government needs to prioritize maintaining existing social and community housing units, as well as building new units. It also needs to implement a targeted Indigenous Housing Strategy to ensure that each person’s right to housing is respected.”

Recently, the Liberal government opposed a Bill by NDP MP Rachel Blaney (North Island—Powell River), that aimed to formally recognize the right to housing in Canadian law.