Right to Adequate Housing: An Approach for Vancouver?

Why is the rights approach to adequate housing not being adopted in Vancouver?

Miloon Kothari, the former Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, asked this question at a round-table discussion hosted by the Commission in July. The round-table on adequate housing was an initiative of the Commission, and not of the City of Vancouver.

Miloon Kothari has been working with the Housing and Land Rights Network of civil society organizations in India on human rights issues. His work on housing has brought him to Vancouver a number of times. In
2007, while here on his mission as the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, he assisted with the work on the Olympics social sustainability initiative. He returned in 2009 in connection with the publication
of his report on housing in Canada.

Miloon Kothari in Vancouver

Over the week of his current visit, sponsored by the SFU Vancity Office of Community Engagement, he is giving two lectures, one on housing and human rights, and one on the realization of human rights in India. He has toured the Downtown Eastside and will have met with groups and elected officials including First United Church, Vancouver Renters’ Union, Housing Justice, Vancouver Foundation, Vancity Community Foundation, City of Vancouver staff, and Federal MP and Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair.

VCPC Roundtable

During the VCPC Roundtable, Mr. Kothari provided an overview of Canada’s record in meeting its human rights obligations in the area of adequate housing. The discussion covered a wide range of topics relating to the Vancouver housing context, including:

  • Emergent opportunities for action
  • Directions for action currently underway
  • Programs and policies: absent, or with unintended consequences,
  • Factors in the decline of Canada’s housing programs
  • Questions and comments with responses from Miloon Kothari

The notes from the discussion are available here. [ 266KB]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *