Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Court Won't Hear Right to Housing Challenge

Earlier this year I wrote about how social and economic rights are becoming increasingly important.  http://whenthemayorsmiles.blogspot.ca/2013/02/social-and-economic-rights.html

In that piece, I made reference to the “right to housing.”
Recently we had a case in Ontario where the idea of federal and provincial governments were challenged from that perspective.   Here is what happened.

(This story originally appeared on www.hamiltonjustice.ca)
Ontario Superior Court Judge Thomas R. Lederer ruled on Friday that the courtroom is not the proper place to resolve the issue of homelessness and inadequate housing in Canada.
The Judge’s comments came in a decision in, what has been called, the Right to Housing Challenge. Individuals and housing advocates were trying to make the case for a court order. That court order would require that the Federal and Provincial governments implement a national housing strategy.
Lawyers from the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA) and filed a case three years ago. Their argument is that Canada and Ontario have violated individuals’ rights under section 7 and section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by creating and maintaining conditions that lead to and sustain homelessness.

Put simply, Canadians have the right to adequate, affordable housing.

Lawyers for the governments of Ontario and Canada argued that the case shouldn’t even be

Judge Lederer agreed with the government lawyers.

Peter Rosenthal, one of the lawyers for the applicants, offered this comment:

“The decision reflects a narrow view of the Charter that seems to be applied when the poor seek judicial relief.”

The judgment will be appealed.

You can read more about the Right to Housing Challenge on the website of the Advocacy Centre for Tenants of Ontario (ACTO) at http://righttohousing.wordpress.com/