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431-00003 (Social affairs and equality)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English


We, the undersigned residents of Canada, draw the attention of the House of Commons in Parliament Assembled to the following:

Whereas, Every year, an an estimated 235,000 people in Canada experience homelessness.

Whereas, The Government of Canada's committment to reduce homelessness by 50% over 10 years would still leave 117,500 Canadians homeless each year.

Therefore, We, the undersigned, Citizens of Canada call upon the House of Commons to take immediate action by:

  1. Officially recognizing that housing is a human right;
  2. Adopt M-147 to develop a plan to end and prevent homelessness in Canada.

Response by the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): ADAM VAUGHAN

The Government of Canada is committed to helping those who are in need and believes that one homeless Canadian is one too many.

The National Housing Strategy Act, now passed into law[1], represents a historic milestone for housing in Canada. With the National Housing Strategy Act, the Government of Canada has enshrined the right to housing into law, and is ensuring that the housing concerns of vulnerable Canadians are heard at the highest levels of government. Since taking office in 2015, we’ve invested nearly $13 billion in Canada’s housing sector, and helped more than 1 million Canadians find a place to call home.

The housing policy of the Government of Canada recognizes that the right to adequate housing is a fundamental human right affirmed in international law and recognizes that housing is essential to the inherent dignity and well-being of the person and to building sustainable and inclusive communities. Moreover, the Government of Canada’s housing policy furthers the progressive realization of the right to adequate housing as recognized in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The National Housing Strategy Act requires the federal government, and future governments, to develop, maintain and report on a National Housing Strategy that prioritizes the housing needs of the most vulnerable and takes into account key principles of a human rights-based approach to housing.

The National Housing Strategy Act creates a Federal Housing Advocate and also establishes a National Housing Council. Together, they will help identify systemic barriers to accessing affordable housing and advise the Government on housing policy in Canada.

A description of all the functions and mandates of the Federal Housing Advocate and the National Housing Council can be found in  the text of the National Housing Strategy Act.

As part of the National Housing Strategy, a total investment of $2.2 billion over 10 years was announced to expand and extend funding for the federal homelessness program.  

On June 11, 2018, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development announced that Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy would replace the Homelessness Partnering Strategy on April 1, 2019.

This plan to prevent and reduce homelessness in Canada introduces bold changes to federal homelessness programming and supports the goals of the National Housing Strategy, particularly to support the needs of the most vulnerable Canadians and to reduce chronic homelessness nationally by 50% by 2027–28.

In collaboration with other orders of government and the non-profit sector, the Government of Canada is supporting community-level efforts to prevent homelessness where possible and, when it does occur, ensure there are well-managed, efficient systems in place to address it.  

Specifically, through Reaching Home, the Government of Canada:

  • reinforces its community-based approach to addressing homelessness by delivering funding directly to municipalities and local service providers; 
  • introduces a new outcomes-based approach to give communities greater flexibility to identify, test, and apply innovative solutions and evidence-based practices to achieve results for vulnerable Canadians. As part of this approach, all Housing First investment targets have been removed in order to provide communities with the flexibility they need to meet local homelessness priorities;
  • increases support for communities to address the needs of those experiencing or at risk of homelessness. By 2021–22, total annual federal investments in homelessness will double compared to 2015–16 levels;
  • introduces coordinated access as a program priority. Coordinated access will help communities shift toward a more coordinated and systems-based approach to preventing and reducing homelessness;
  • will invest $413 million to address Indigenous homelessness over the next nine years; and,
  • introduces a new Territorial Homelessness funding stream that bolsters federal investments available in the territories to prevent and reduce homelessness.To inform this redesign, the Government initiated consultation and engagement processes: 
  • The Government of Canada consulted with stakeholders, provinces, territories, Indigenous partners, and people with lived experience of homelessness on how to modernize programming to better prevent and reduce homelessness across Canada. These consultations were guided by the work of an Advisory Committee on Homelessness chaired by Parliamentary Secretary Adam Vaughan and comprised of 13 experts from across the country representing regional, cultural and linguistic duality as well as those with lived experience of homelessness. The Advisory Committee on Homelessness held 10 roundtables across the country in both official languages. In addition to roundtables, the Advisory Committee participated in site visits with local service providers to talk to frontline workers and their clients on how the Government might better support local efforts to address homelessness. 
  • The Government also launched an online feedback survey that was open from July 17 to September 15, 2017, seeking input from all Canadians and organizations with ideas and suggestions on how to prevent and reduce homelessness in Canada. 
  • The findings from these consultations were published in both the Advisory Committee on Homelessness’ Final Report and in the Homelessness Partnering Strategy What We Heard Report, which were publicly released on May 18, 2018.  Thanks to the National Housing Strategy Act, we’re making sure that this is just the beginning, and that the federal government will be a full partner in giving more Canadians a place to call home both today and in the future.? ?


[1]Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1, section 19

Presented to the House of Commons
Gord Johns (Courtenay—Alberni)
December 6, 2019 (Petition No. 431-00003)
Government response tabled
January 27, 2020
Photo - Gord Johns
New Democratic Party Caucus
British Columbia

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