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Advancing the human right to adequate housing for all

In a year where housing affordability, evictions, and homelessness weighed heavily on the minds of people across Canada, the Commission advocated for the right to adequate housing for all.

In public statements, we spoke out about how Canada must uphold the rights of people experiencing homelessness and called on governments at all levels to take specific steps to fulfil the right to adequate housing and improve housing conditions for those most in need.

Throughout 2021, the Commission made preparations in anticipation of the appointment of Canada's first Federal Housing Advocate. This included finalizing and testing the systems that will allow the Federal Housing Advocate, as part of their many functions and duties, to receive submissions from people in Canada who are experiencing systemic housing issues, housing need, and homelessness.

The Commission also conducted research and preliminary engagement with key stakeholders throughout 2021, including the National Housing Council, to inform a deeper understanding of current housing issues and where best to focus the efforts of the future Advocate. The research was conducted using an intersectional lens and a participatory approach, in collaboration with civil society and people with lived experience.

The Federal Housing Advocate's role will be the first of its kind in Canada, with a mandate to promote and protect the right to housing for all. They will work in collaboration with the Commission, and independently from government. The Advocate will drive change on systemic housing issues by receiving public submissions and amplifying the voices of affected communities, by making recommendations to improve Canada's housing laws, policies and programs, and by holding governments to account on their human rights obligations.

This accountability mechanism is unique in the world, offering Canada — and the Commission — the opportunity to be a world leader on domestic implementation of the human right to adequate housing.