Housing overview

Housing is a fundamental human right, but for about 1.7 million households in Canada, housing that is affordable, in decent shape and suitable for them or their families is simply not available. When people can’t access housing that meets their needs, the impacts ripple throughout their lives, the economy, and our communities.

Maytree works with civil society, people with lived experience of homelessness and housing need, and governments at all levels to improve the housing system and ensure everyone in Canada has a place to call home.

As with our work on poverty, we look to find solutions to homelessness and housing need using a human rights approach. We work on advancing solutions that will further the recognition and protection of housing as a human right, contribute to the progressive realization of this right, prioritize those in greatest need, pave the way for accountability mechanisms, and include ongoing and active participation of those with lived experience of homelessness and inadequate housing at all stages of decision-making.

Our work on housing includes shaping and sharing policy ideas, investing in innovative solutions, and supporting partners working to strengthen communities.

Relevant publications


Published on 17/12/2020

We must pay attention to how we build institutions such as the National Housing Council, because they will determine if and how we actually implement the human right to housing.

As a nation, we are in the midst of creating the institutions that should help us fulfill the human right to housing. The decisions that we make, now, about those institutions, will determine if and how we actually implement the human right to housing in Canada. Last time in this space, the Maytree Opinion discussed […]

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Published on 07/12/2020

To align with the City’s human rights-based approach, the forthcoming Inclusionary Zoning feasibility assessments should explore the potential for Inclusionary Zoning to maximize the delivery of affordable housing for those in greatest need.

Download the submission (PDF) In December 2019, the City of Toronto took a landmark step in recognizing housing as a human right and incorporating a human rights-based approach in its ten-year HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan. A human rights-based approach requires the City to review policies against established standards and norms under international law. This includes […]

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Published on 11/11/2020

Report highlights key human rights considerations and implications to help guide the design and implementation of multi-tenant homes policies consistent with Toronto’s existing housing objectives and human rights obligations.

Download the report (PDF) Download the executive summary (PDF) Multi-tenant homes (MTH), traditionally known as rooming houses, are a vital source of deeply-affordable housing in Toronto. They come in a wide range of forms and are home to a diverse array of residents, including newcomers, students, seniors, and many who have experienced homelessness. Members of […]

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Published on 22/09/2020

By acting now and by moving quickly, the federal and provincial governments can become important partners in closing the existing gaps and realizing the right to housing for everyone.

We are on the cusp of big, bold, brave action to address housing and homelessness in Toronto. A one-billion-dollar plan calls for 3,000 new permanent, affordable homes, and funding to assist 2,000 of these residents with the supports required to maintain stable housing. It’s a plan that would mean a path out of homelessness for […]

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Policy brief

Published on 28/05/2020

Ontario tenants who have fallen behind on their rent because of COVID-19 will need provincial help to stay housed when the current eviction ban is lifted. A new analysis calls for targeted rent relief, a gradual easing of the eviction ban, and a reintroduction of rent controls.

This policy brief was originally published on the Behind the numbers blog and is co-authored by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and Maytree. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, provinces and territories have implemented eviction bans that protect tenants from the imminent threat of homelessness but do not prevent them from falling in arrears and being […]

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Published on 13/04/2020

The COVID-19 crisis has changed many things, but some remain the same: Housing is a human right and a necessity for individual and public health.

The COVID-19 crisis has changed many things, but some remain the same: Housing is a human right and a necessity for individual and public health. At this moment, our housing system is in crisis and we need federal leadership to fix it. We need both short- and long-term solutions, and we need to act now. […]

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