How We Help

The right to adequate housing is human right for everyone in Canada.

Adequate housing is more than just four walls and a roof. It is a place to live in security, peace, and dignity. It is central to physical and mental health, community, and sustainability. Having an affordable, suitable and safe place to live helps people and families succeed and thrive.

Housing as a human right is an important precondition for several other human rights, including the rights to life, work, health, social security, vote, and education. Everyone should be able to access housing that meets their needs without discrimination or harassment.

The Federal Housing Advocate is an independent, nonpartisan watchdog, empowered to drive meaningful action to address housing need and homelessness in Canada. The Office of the Federal Housing Advocate, housed at the Canadian Human Rights Commission, helps to promote and protect the right to housing in Canada, including the progressive realization of the right to adequate housing. The goal of the Advocate’s work is to drive change on key systemic housing issues and advance the right to housing for all in Canada.

The Advocate:

  • Holds governments to account on their human rights obligations to address housing need and homelessness across Canada;
  • Makes recommendations to the government and other decision makers to improve Canada’s housing laws, policies and programs;
  • Raises awareness on the most common and critical housing issues people are facing;
  • Amplifies the voices of those impacted by housing need and homelessness;
  • Receives submissions on systemic housing issues from affected groups, and refers key systemic issues to the National Housing Council for hearings before a Review Panel;
  • Monitors and reports on the progressive realization of the right to housing in Canada;
  • Monitors and assesses the impacts of federal legislation, policies and programs affecting the housing system, including the National Housing Strategy Act and the related National Housing Strategy;
  • Analyzes and conducts research, initiates studies, engages with stakeholders, and consults on systemic housing issues; and,
  • Reports annually to the Minister responsible for housing and makes recommendations to the Minister on how to address systemic housing issues.

In line with the Act and the progressive realization of the right to housing, the Advocate will put particular focus on those with the greatest housing need while Canada works towards housing as a human right for all. The groups facing the greatest housing need include: people experiencing homelessness; Indigenous people; women, adults and children fleeing domestic violence; seniors; people who identify as 2SLGBTQI+; people with disabilities; people with disabilities related to mental health or addiction; veterans; young adults; racialized groups; newcomers to Canada; and other groups. The Advocate recognizes women within each of these groups are disproportionately affected by housing need.

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