North Island–Powell River NDP MP Rachel Blaney has tabled a bill in the House of Commons to help ensure a greater number of Canadians have a roof over their head.
Bill C-325 — Right to Housing — is her first private member’s bill. If it passes, the legislation will put added pressure on governments to invest in affordable housing, and give Canadians more housing options.
While rights to housing have been supported by Canada in international covenants since 1976, Parliament has never passed legislation affirming those rights.
“What this bill will do, if supported, is add the right to housing to the Canadian Bill of Rights, which will help people identify how housing rights apply to them, and it will open up a lot of avenues to access justice,” Blaney said.
It would also increase the accountability of landlords and governments.
Statistics indicate about 235,000 Canadians are homeless.
“The needs for housing are increasing,” Blaney said, noting that funding has dried up at a national level. “It’s bad for the social framework of our community, but it’s also bad for business…There’s a lot of families that can’t find adequate housing.”
She also notes that housing issues are being downloaded onto municipalities.
“They don’t have the tax base that other levels of government have.”