"...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)

Charter Challenge to Homelessness and Violations of the Right to Adequate Housing in Canada:
SRAC and CERA intervene in Tanudjaja, CERA et al. v Canada and Ontario

The AGs of Canada and Ontario filed a motion to dismiss this case without a hearing into the evidence on June 11th, 2012. Check out the Motion to Dismiss page Here.
The appeal against the motion to dismiss was heard in the Ontario Court of Appeal May 26-27, 2014.

For a succinct overview of the case see: Ammended Notice of Application

CURA community partners, the Social Rights Advocacy Centre and Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA), have engaged in extensive legal research and evidentiary support for this historic challenge to homelessness and violations of the right to adequate housing in Canada. The challenge has been launched by a broad coalition of organizations and individuals affected by homelessness and inadequate housing. 

The Notice of Application was filed in Ontario Superior Court on April 26, 2010 by CERA along with claimants Jennifer Tanudjaja, Janice Arsenault, Ansar Mahmood and Brian Dubourdieu. The case represents a significant advance in social rights practice in Canada both because of the nature of what is challenged and the remedy that is sought.  The claim does not challenge a particular legislative provision or government action but rather the failure of two levels of government to develop and implement housing strategies to effectively address homelessness. The Ontario and Canadian governments have failed to respond to repeated and urgent recommendations from United Nations human rights bodies, human rights commissions and a range of experts urging these governments to implement comprehensive housing strategies based on the right to adequate housing and including firm goals and timetables for eliminating homelessness. This is the first case in which the remedy sought in a Charter or human rights challenge in Canada is consistent with the comprehensive plan to implement and realize a social right in accordance with international human rights obligations.

The litigation initiative has been accompanied by widespread mobilization among stakeholders and civil society campaigning for political response. This has resulted in legislative initiatives both federally and provincially which, if successful, would have provided the remedy sought in the litigation. The case thus provides fertile ground for better understanding the relationship between legal and political strategies to implement social rights.

Applicant Affidavits

 Affidavit of Leilani FarhaExecutive Director, Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation

Expert Witness Affidavits

Affidavit of Ann M Fitzpatrick, Supervisor, Community Development and Prevention Services Team, Children's Aid Society of Toronto, “Housing, Low Income Families and Youth”

Affidavit of Michael Shapcott, Director, Affordable Housing and Social Innovation, Wellesley Institute, “Housing and Homelessness: Provincial and Federal Funding and Initiatives"

Affidavit of Paula Nina Goering, Full Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto & Affiliate Scientist, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, "Homelessness and People with Mental Illness and Addiction" 

Affidavit of Marie Eve Silvestre, Associate Professor of Law & Director of the PhD Program in Law, University of Ottawa, "Criminalization of the Homelessness and Housing”

Affidavit of Charles Taiowisakarere Hill, Executive Director, National Aboriginal Housing Association,  “Aboriginal Peoples, Homelessness and Housing"

Affidavit of Michael Bach, Executive Vice President, Canadian Association for Community Building, “Barriers to Adequate Housing for People with Intellectual Disabilities"

Affidavit of Catherine Crowe, Well Known Street Nurse, Researcher, Activist and Author of "Dying for a Home: Homeless Activist Speak Out", “Homelessness and Health: A View from the Street"

Affidavit of Catherine Frazee & Esther Ignagni, Professor Emeritus, School of Disability Studies, Ryerson University, Asst Professor School of Disability Studies, Ryerson University, “Housing, Homelessness and People with Physical Disabilities”

Affidavit of J David Hulchanski, Associate Director for Research, Cities Centre, University of Ottawa, "Government Policy, Housing and Homelessness"

Affidavit of Miloon KothariSpecial Rapporteur on Adequate Housing (2000-2008), United Nations, “Canada and the Right to Adequate Housing under International Law”

Affidavit of Janet Mosher, Associate Professor, Osgoode Hall law school,” Women’s safety and Access to the Affordable Housing”

Affidavit of Dr. Stephen HwangStaff Physician, St. Michael’s Hospital & Director, Division of General internal Medicine, University of Toronto &  Research Scientist, Centre for Research on Inner City Health, Keenan Research Centre, Li ka Shing Knowledge Institute, “Homelessness and its Profound Negative Effects on Health”

Personal Experience Affidavits

Affidavit of Linda Chamberlain, Housing and Mental Health Advocate. “Homelessness and the Impact of Supportive Housing: A Personal Experience"

Affidavit of Phillip Dufresne, Housing and Mental Health Advocate, “Supportive Housing Saves Lives: A Personal Experience”


Media on the Right to Housing Challenge:

Toronto Star Article

Globe and Mail Article

Rabble.ca article

Video of Press Conference