Promoting and claiming social and economic rights through an inclusive human rights practice

What's New

Canada Issues Responses to UPR Recommendations - Refuses to commit to ensuring access to effective remedies for the right to housing in the NHS legislation; refuses to accept the recommendation to interpret the Charter of Rights Consistentlly with interdependence of Charter rights and ESC rights!

UN Human Rights Committee Issues ground breaking decision in Toussaint v Canada. Canada violated the right to life by denying irregular migrants access to essential healthcare. Read more.

Canada Without Poverty v Canada - Historic Win for Charities

Grounding the Rights-Based National Housing Strategy in the Right to Housing: Here's How See the "Draft Legislation, and the  Consensus Proposals.

Bruce Porter Enhancing the Rights-Based Framework for Canada's National Housing Strategy

Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing Report on Rights-Based Housing Strategies A/HRC/37/53.

Summary of 10 Principles in a Rights Based Housing Strategy

Canada's UPR#3. Check out the Key UPR Recommendations

New Book. Martha Jackman & Bruce Porter (eds)  Advancing Social Rights in Canada now published and available at Irwin Law

See the ESCR Case Law Database

Past but Relevant NOW

Bill C-400 model housing strategy legislation.

1992 Alternative Social Charter

New Publications

Martha Jackman and Bruce Porter (eds)  Advancing Social Rights in Canada (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2014)

Martha Jackman & Bruce Porter "Social and Economic Rights" in P. Oliver, P. Macklem and N. Des Rosiers, The Oxford Handbook of the Canadian Constitution (New York, Oxford Univesity Press, 2017) at pp 843-866.

Bruce Porter, Inclusive Interpretations: Social Rights and Judicial Accountability in Helena Alviar García, Karl Klare and Lucy Williams (eds), Social and Economic Rights in Theory and Practice: Critical Inquiries (London and New York: Routledge, 2015)


From the Archives

Bruce Porter, Human Rights and the Right to Housing in Housing - A Right, a publication to coincide with an exhibition at the Power Plant Gallery on homelessness and the right to housing. Now Magazine, Toronto, 1989.

See Further publications

Grounding Canada's National Housing Strategy

in the Right to Housing


On November 22nd of last year, the government announced a National Housing Strategy (NHS) that would be based in human rights.  For the first time, the federal government committed to implementing Canada’s obligation under international human rights law, as described in the NHS, “to progressively implement the right of every Canadian to access adequate housing.”  It promised to “affirm the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.”  The government also promised to adopt legislation that would create an obligation on future governments to maintain a rights based housing strategy.  

Consultations have been held across the country to consider how to implement a rights-based approach.   The consultations revealed a strong consensus that the legislation must recognize the right to housing as it is understood under international human rights law. It must ensure that the policies and programs that are part of the housing strategy are consistent with Canada’s obligations to progressively realize this right.  Consensus proposals as well as draft legislation have been developed to demonstrate how the legislation could ensure that those affected are able to identify systemic issues and hold governments accountable. Remedies would be ensured through other means than courts, drawing on the government’s proposed Federal Housing Advocate, Housing Council, community initiatives and programmes.

What is needed now is for the government to see that there is widespread public support for the recognition of the right to housing in the legislation.  Without such support we may lose this historic opportunity. 



Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing presents report on rights based housing strategies with 10 key principles.

Bruce Porter  Enhancing the Rights-Based Rights-Based Framework for Canada's National Housing Strategy

Civil Society Consensus on Key Requirements of a Rights-Based Housing Strategy

Emily Paradis If You Build It, They Will Claim: Rights-Based Participation and Accountability in Canada’s National Housing Strategy

CUPE Housing is a Human Right





housing strategy chart

2nd chart of right to housing at the centre