Right to Adequate Housing

Bill C- 400: The Secure, Adequate, Accessible and Affordable Housing Act

Previously Bill C-304.

CURA community partners, the Social Rights Advocacy Centre and the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation worked with Ligue des droits et libertés and a broad range of community partners in Quebec and across Canada to make Bill C-304 a model piece of social rights legislation. The bill as amended incorporated all of the key recommendations of UN treaty monitoring bodies and the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing. It also recognized Quebec’s formal adherence to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The Act commits to developing:

  • goals and timelines for eliminating of homelessness;

  • an independent complaints procedure for violations of the right to adequate housing;

  • guarantees of effective participation by Aboriginal communities, equality-seeking groups and other stakeholders including women leaving violent households and persons with disabilities;  

  • a process for review and follow-up on any concerns or recommendations from United Nations human rights bodies with respect to the right to adequate housing; 

  • a key role for civil society organizations, including those representing groups in need of housing, and Aboriginal communities in designin g the  delivery, monitoring and evaluation of programs required  to implement the right to adequate housing; and

  • provision of financial assistance to those who cannot otherwise afford housing

The Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development presented its final Committee Report to the House of Commons on March 21, 2011, but Parliament was dissolved before the Bill reached a third reading vote.

Bill C-304 was reintroduced as a private member’s bill (C-400) in the subsequent Parliament under a Conservative majority. Despite widespread support from civil society organizations, the Bill was defeated on February 27, 2013 though all four opposition parties and two independent members supported it. The extent of support Bill C-304 and Bill C-400 received across the country, within and beyond the housing and anti-poverty communities, and among all but one political party, demonstrates the strength of civil society and public commitment to its underlying rights-based approach.

Full-text of Bill C-400

Committee Report – March 21, 2011 with regard to clause 3.1 (Quebec’s adherence to the ICESCR)

Committee Report – March 24, 2010

Letter to Rachel Rolnik, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing

Letter to MPs from Steering Committee on Human Rights Implementation in Canada – English / French