Press Release: Premiers Urged to Address Housing Crisis at Council of the Federation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ottawa, ON: July 22, 2013A group of over 50 organizations from across Canada has signed a joint letter to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne urging her to place housing at the top of the agenda as she hosts the provincial and territorial premiers for the July 22–24 meeting of the Council of the Federation in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

Led by Dignity for All: the campaign for a poverty-free Canada, the letter calls on the premiers to ask the federal government to recommit $1.7 billion in vital operating funds for social housing providers that is presently set to expire in 2014 – a recommendation echoed by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association.

The diverse group of signatories also requests a call from the premiers for an immediate federal-provincial-territorial housing ministers’ meeting to take further action on housing. Such a meeting could engage key stakeholders and lay the groundwork for a national housing strategy based in human rights that respects provincial jurisdiction.

Leilani Farha, Executive Director at Canada Without Poverty, points to repeated calls to develop a national housing strategy. “Across the country and within the United Nations system, it is recognized that Canada is in a housing crisis. As recently as April, members of the UN Human Rights Council reiterated the need for a national housing strategy in order for Canada to comply with its human rights commitments and obligations.” Farha also noted that, “While the federal government has ignored these recommendations, the premiers have an opportunity to bring the government back to the table.”

“At least 200,000 people are homeless each year while waiting lists for affordable housing continue to grow,” says Simon Lewchuk, Policy Analyst with Citizens for Public Justice. “The links between inadequate housing, poverty, and health are clear. If the premiers don’t push the federal government to take action on housing now, they’ll pay the social and economic costs later.”

Organizations endorsing the letter include national groups such as: the Anglican Church of Canada, Campaign 2000: end child and family poverty in Canada, Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, Canadian Association of Social Workers, Canadian Council on Social Development, Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW), Canadian Nurses Association, Canadian Public Health Association, Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice, Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation, Homes for Women, Income Security Advocacy Centre, Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada, Social Rights Advocacy Centre, and the YWCA Canada.

The letter is available in both English and French on the Dignity for All website.

For more information contact:

Sarah Shepherd, Citizens for Public Justice 1.613.232.0275 x 225

Megan Yarema, Canada Without Poverty 1.604.558.0252

Dignity for All is a multi-year, multi-partner campaign focused on eliminating poverty in Canada. We have the support of over 600 organizations and 10,000 individuals across the country.

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