Publications, opinions, and speeches
Proposed amendments to strengthen the National Housing Strategy Act and the Poverty Reduction Strategy Act
Published on 09/05/2019
Maytree submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance regarding Bill C-97, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019 and other measures
In our submission, Maytree offered comments and recommended amendments to Bill C-97. Our comments were specific to Division 19 to enact the National Housing Strategy Act and Division 20 to enact the Poverty Reduction Act.
National Housing Strategy Act
As it is written, the National Housing Strategy Act lacks essential elements of an effective human rights framework, particularly in terms of accountability. As such, amendments are needed to ensure that the government achieves its goal not only in recognizing housing as a human right, but in developing the mechanisms it needs to ensure that this right can be upheld. We urge FINA to support our proposed amendments especially with respect to:
- Unequivocally recognizing that housing is a human right;
- Mandating the Housing Advocate to receive and investigate petitions identifying systemic housing rights issues, and establishing a process for a review panel to hear and make recommendations on these issues; and
- Strengthening the monitoring role of the Housing Council.
Poverty Reduction Act
Opportunity for All, the first Canada-wide poverty reduction strategy, sets out a framework for the federal government’s efforts towards poverty reduction. Bill C-97 enacts the Poverty Reduction Strategy Act.
However, we are concerned that the Bill C-97, in its current form, misses the opportunity to embed a human rights-based approach to poverty reduction efforts in Canada. In particular, we would like the committee to consider making three amendments to the legislation that will lead to a stronger approach to poverty reduction. Our proposed amendments regarding the Poverty Reduction Act concern:
- Engaging people with lived experience in the strategy;
- Clarifying the definition of poverty in the legislation; and
- Seeking to develop poverty metrics with an equity dimension.
Both the National Housing Strategy Act and the Poverty Reduction Act are important commitments to pursuing policy that prioritizes meeting the social and economic rights of all Canadians. Our proposed amendments will strengthen these efforts and give a voice to those affected.