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


Looking for?

The Toussaint case on right to life of irregular migrants and healthcare

The Tanudjaja Charter challenge to the failure to address homelessness

The National Housing Strategy Act and the right to housing in Canada

The 2019 Toronto Housing Charter and its Implementation Plan

Charter Committee on Poverty Issues Interventions

Social Rights In Canada Community-University Research Project


What's New

CCPI/CHC/FCJRC and AI/ESCR-Net file facta in Toussaint v Canada

Presentations to Dept of Justice and OGD on National Housing Strategy Act with NRHN and WNHHN

The progressive realization of the right to housing: Paper prepared for the National Housing Council

Three papers on implementing the right to housing under the National Housing Strategy Act

Co-ordinated Legal Action to challenge Canada and other States obstructing #TRIPS Waiver at the #WTO! Letter to Minister NG

CERA and National Right to Housing Network Make first SUBMISSION under the National Housing Strategy Act.

Charities liberated to engage in public policy after groundbreaking decn of Justice Ed Morgan in Canada Without Poverty v Canada

New Publications

Bruce Porter, La interdependencia de · los derechos humanos in Derechos sociales y el momento constituyente de Chile: Perspectivas globales y locales para el debate constitucional (Distrito Global, 2021)

Jackie Dugard, Franziska Sucker & Bruce Porter & Jamie Burton, Supporting the TRIPS COVID-19 waiver is an essential step to support international human rights (Open Global Rights, 2021)

Bruce Porter, Implementing the Right to Adequate Housing Under the National Housing Strategy Act: The International Human Rights Framework (2021) (en francais)

Jackie Dugard, Bruce Porter, Daniela Ikawa and Lilian Chenwi (eds) Research Handbook on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as Human Rights

Elizabeth McIsaac and Bruce Porter "Housing Rights: Ottawa takes an historic step forward"Literary Review of Canada,(November, 2019)

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.

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

From the Archives

1992 Alternative Social Charter 

See Further publications























International Education and Advocacy

Caselaw Database

SRAC is a partner in the research and development of an important Caselaw Database sponsored by ESCR-Net, the international Network on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  The database includes critical jurisprudence, cases, background material, case pleadings and secondary literature on social rights cases from around the world. 

International ESCR Strategic Litigation

SRAC is on the Steering Committee of the International Strategic Litigation Working Group developing important test case litigation in social rights around the world, with a focus on countries that have ratified the OP-ICESCR.

Vaccine Equity and the TRIPS Waiver

SRAC has worked actively to promote vaccinne equity and the adoption of the TRIPS waiver at the WTO. SRAC has worked with organizations and experts in Canada to challenge Canada's refusal to support the TRIPS waiver as a violation of international human rights and of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. A Letter to Minister NG was signed by organizations and individuals across Canada and an appendix outlined Canada's legal obligations that could be justiciable in Canadian courts.

Third Party Intervention under the OP-ICESCR in Djazia (MDB) v Spain

SRAC participated in a third party intervention in the critical case of Mohamed Ben Djazia and Naouel Bellili v Spain

SeeThird Party Submission

SRAC also supported the third party submission from the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing.

Submissions to the UN Human Rights Committee on theRight to Life and General Comment 36

SRAC joined with ESCR-Net and the Global Initiative for ESC Rights in a submission to the UN Human Rights Committee on the Draft General Comment on the right to life. Recognizing the Interdependence and Indivisibility of the Right to Life with ESC Rights Written Submissions for the General Discussion on the Preparation for a General Comment on Article 6 (Right to Life)

Amicus in Detroit Right to Water Case: Lyda v Detroit

SRAC joined the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and de Justicia work with Susie Talbot at to prepar an amicus brief and a motion to the District Court, Eastern Michigan in the case of Lyda et al. v. Detroit.

See the ESCR-Net Amicus Brief

For more information on the Detroit Right to Water Case go here.

NGO Coalition for the OP-ICESCR

SRAC is a member of the Steering Committee of the NGO Coalition for the OP-ICESCR, promoting ratification of the OP-ICESCR and ensuring that the vision of access to justice for social rights claimants is realized.


Reclaiming the Vision of the OP-ICESCR (July 2014)

Remarks by Bruce Porter at the United Nations Celebrating the Entry Into Force of the OP-ICESCR on May 8, 2013

Address to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Geneva Switzerland, in Celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights   (November 5, 2008)

Presentation to Expert Seminar, Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Counter-Terrorism (November 6, 2008)

Presentation for General Discussion on Draft General Comment on Right to Non-Discrimination, November 17, 2008 Geneva 


Other International Initiatives

Keynote Address at Conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland, “Getting the Bill Right: An Update” 2nd and 3rd July 2008 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Social and Economic Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Paper presented to the International Conference on Social and Economic Rights: Models of Enforcement, hosted by the Irish Human Rights Commission, Dublin, Ireland, December 10-11, 2005).

"The Justiciability of Social and Economic Rights: an Updated Appraisal" Paper presented to the Human Rights Consortium of Northern Ireland, Belfast, Ireland, November 20, 2005), with Aoife Nolan and Malcolm Langford.

"The Right to be Heard: What's at Stake?" Paper Presented to the High Level Expert Seminar on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (French Department of Foreign Affairs, Nantes, France September 5 & 7, 2005).

The Right to Housing in Canada.  Presentation to the Inter-American Human Rights Commission Special Hearings on the Right to Housing, Washington, D.C., March 4, 2005).

Presentation to Judges and Lawyers from Japan, China, Korea and Mongolia, judicial training hosted by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the International Commission of Jurists, Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia, January 26-28, 2004.,

Presentation to Judges and Lawyers from Japan, China, Korea and Mongolia, judicial training hosted by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the International Commission of Jurists, Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia, January 26-28, 2004.,


The Universal Periodic Review Process at the UN Human Rights Council - The Case of Canada

SRAC and CERA co-ordinated an NGO steering committee which organized engagement sessions between federal and provincial representatives and civil society organizations in Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver.  A separate consultation was organized by the Government of Quebec in Montreal.  Concerns and issues raised by NGO's across Canada were summarized in  

SRAC organized a joing submission from NGOs across Canada addressing the "Implementation Gap" - the gap between Canada's international commitments and their effective implementation in domestic law and policy. 

See Bruce Porter "In Defence of Soft Remedies (Sometimes): Enforcement of Systemic



Ckucj here to access all NGO submissions for Canada's UPR. 

On social rights and poverty issues, see in particular the submissions of

CCD - Council of Canadians with Disabilities

CCPI - Charter Committee on Poverty Issues

Citizens for Public Justice

FAFIA - Feminist Alliance for International Action

Independent Living Canada

WHEN - Women's Housing Equality Network

British Columbia UPR Coalition


Mouvement d’éducation populaire et d’action communautaire du Québec

Wellesley Institute

Follow-up on Implementation of UPR

Letter to Prime Minister Harper from Steering Committee February 23, 2009

Article by Bruce Porter and Leilani Farha "Reaffirming Canada's Commitments to International Human Rights" in Poverty and Parliament Spring, 2009 (Canada Without Poverty)

Leilani Farha, Alex Neve et al  Submissions to Senate Sub-Committee on Human Rights March 30, 2009

Bruce Porter, Submissions to Senate Sub-Committee on Human Rights  April 20, 2009

Bruce Porter Presentation to the House of Commons Committee on Human Resources and the Status of Disabled Persons (HUMA) April 22, 2009


UN Treaty Monitoring Bodies Reviews of Canada

SRAC plays an active role in promoting the use of both international and domestic human rights in Canada. SRAC helped to co-ordinate Canadian NGOs and others participating in reviews of Canada by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and other UN Human Rights Treaties.  See the Compilation of NGO Submissions  (Compilation des sommaires des soumissions des ONG) canadiennes

See all documents with respect to the Review of Canada in May, 2006.  In particular, see in  particular submissions from

Charter Committee on Poverty Issues

Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action and National Association of Women and the Law

Poverty and Human Rights Center

Inter-American Commission

See also SRACs Presentation to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on the Right to Adequate Housing in Canada.