"...The first two decades of Charter litigation testify to a certain timidity – both on the part of litigants and the courts – to tackle head on the claims emerging from the right to be free from want." (Louise Arbour)

Advancing the Right to Housing: Intervention in a Challenge to By-Law Prohibiting Homeless from Sleeping in Tents Overnight in Park: Victoria (City) v. Adams

CURA research supported an intervention by CURA Community Partner, the Poverty and Human Rights Centre (PHRC), before the British Columbia Court of Appeal in this important case on the right to adequate housing. While the trial judge in this case adopted a relatively narrow approach to the right to adequate housing, the decision relied extensively on previous work done in the international research stream to ensure that the right to adequate housing is recognized as a critical component of the right to security of the person under the Canadian Charter. The Court recognized that homelessness is a violation of the right to life and security of the person, but did not, in the context of this case, order governments to address the structural causes of homelessness or to take positive measures to ensure the right to adequate housing. CURA research supported a more substantive approach to the right to adequate housing under the Charter by the PHRC. Subsequently, researchers have developed critical assessments of the decision and remedy in the case. This research has given rise to innovative strategies and approaches to move beyond a "negative rights" framework. Information on the case has also been disseminated internationally through the case law database of escr-net.

Factum of the Poverty and Human Rights Centre

Gwen Brodsky, Shelagh Day & Pamela Murray, Victoria (City) v. Adams: Advancing the Right to Shelter (Vancouver: Poverty and Human Rights Centre, 2009).

Martha Jackman, “Charter Remedies for Socio-economic Rights Violations: Sleeping Under a Box?” in Robert J Sharpe & Kent Roach, eds, Taking Remedies Seriously (Montreal: Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice, 2010) 279.

Margot Young, “Rights, the Homeless, and Social Change: Reflections on Victoria (City) v. Adams (BCSC)”, Case Comment (2009) 164 BC Studies 103.

Bruce Porter, Case Comment on Victoria (City) v. Adams: The Remedy Provided by the B.C. Court of Appeal: Something to Work With?

Victory for Right to Sleep Campaign (B Channel News)

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