The federal housing advocate is launching a review of homeless encampments in Canada, calling the situation a human rights crisis fuelled in part by the failure of all levels of government to provide adequate housing.
Marie-Josée Houle says the review will collect testimony from people living in encampments along with experts in housing and human rights.
The advocate says she is “very concerned” some governments are not taking necessary steps to protect people experiencing homelessness and calls the dismantlement of camps during winter a serious violation of human rights.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, she says there has been a visible rise in encampments across the country as housing becomes increasingly unaffordable and shelters run at maximum capacity.
The advocate’s office has previously called for an end to the policing of encampments and for more funding at all levels of government toward short and long-term housing and support for their residents.
At the end of the review, Houle says she will deliver her findings and recommendations to the federal housing minister.