The homelessness and housing crisis in Canada

Posted on November 14, 2010 in Inclusion Debates

Source: — Authors: – listserve – The homelessness and housing crisis in Canada: your help needed now to see Bill C-304 clear the House and move to the Senate
November 13, 2010.   Rob Rainer, Executive Director, CWP Advocacy Network

Imagine Canada’s Prime Minister rising in the House of Commons to say the following:

“Ms. Speaker, I am pleased today to announce that the Government of Canada officially recognizes the right to housing, as established in international human rights law to which Canada has been bound since 1976.  Our government also recognizes that, today, an estimated 150,000 to 300,000 people in Canada are visibly homeless, another 450,000 to 900,000 people are homeless but not visibly so, and an estimated 1.5 million households in Canada are in core housing need.  These numbers reflect a crisis – a crisis not only in housing but also in the social security system that for Canada remains an unfinished project.  And so today, Ms. Speaker, I am pleased to announce that the Government of Canada, in keeping with our support for Bill C-304 commits to developing a pan-Canadian housing strategy, in consultation and collaboration with provinces, territories, Aboriginal governments, non-profit and private sector housing providers, and civil society organizations.  We shall ensure this strategy addresses the root causes of homelessness and housing problems.  We shall strive to ensure that, within the shortest time possible, every person in Canada shall have access to housing, as is his or her human right.  This issue is among our highest priorities, and this government’s commitment to success shall not end until success has been reached.”

Towards realizing this vision, the CWP Advocacy Network shares the following message from Michael Shapcott of the Wellesley Institute: it is an update from the past week on the status of Bill C-304:

“Canada is inching closer to a long overdue and much-needed national affordable housing plan.  Bill C-304, draft legislation to create a national plan that was proposed by Libby Davies, MP for Vancouver East, is back for the second round of debate on third reading on Nov. 18.  Then the Commons is scheduled to vote on Nov. 24.  The Wellesley Institute’s Precarious Housing in Canada 2010 sets out the need, and the framework, for a national housing plan.  Atsecond reading, the national housing bill passed on a vote of 148 to 137, including support from the NDP, Liberals and Bloc Québécois.  The Bloc is seeking another amendment to the bill, so the vote on Nov. 24 will likely be to send C-304 back to committee, and then do a quick turn-around and back onto the floor of the Commons for a final vote. Advocates hope that the bill will get third and final reading vote before the House rises for the holidays on Dec. 17.”

At this time, we encourage you to send a short email message (in French) to Gilles Duceppe (, copy to the other members of the Bloc caucus. We suggest your message thank the Bloc Québécois for its continued openness to support Bill C-304, and urge the Bloc to help ensure the bill’s passage from the House to the Senate. You may wish to briefly characterize the state of homelessness and housing in your community, province or territory – to give further weight to the urgency of seeing Bill C-304 become law.

Attached is an Excel file with the names, email addresses and other contact information for the Bloc caucus < >.  You can mouse over all the email addresses at once, copy and paste them in to your “To” or “Cc” line when you send your message – thus to reach the entire Bloc caucus with one message.  The CWP Advocacy Network will itself send our message this week, and will blind copy you on it.

Need help with translating your message?  Let us know: we have a couple of wonderful translators assisting us at no or very low charge, and can turn your English text over to them for help.

Thank you and we hope you can take this action this week.

Rob Rainer
Executive Director / Directeur executif

Working in alliance with Canada Without Poverty / Travaillant en alliance avec Canada sans pauvreté

Head Office: 1210 – 1 rue Nicholas Street, Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7; (613) 789-0115


The time has come to stop talking and start taking action. If everyone who wants to see an end to poverty, hunger and suffering speaks out then the noise will be deafening. Politicians will have to listen.
Desmond Tutu

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