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 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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Published on 18/12/2019

We have seen time and again that even the best-laid policy plans are only as good as their implementation. For the right to housing to be fulfilled, we will have to mind this (implementation) gap.

Without doubt, 2019 has been a historic year for the right to housing in Canada. For the first time ever, we have federal legislation recognizing housing as a fundamental human right. And the City of Toronto has just passed Canada’s first municipal housing and homelessness plan based on the right to housing, developed together with […]

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Published on 01/11/2019

Comments delivered at a forum for the Wellesley Institute's Solutions Lab on healthy housing quality.

This speech was delivered on October 28, 2019 at a forum for the Wellesley Institute’s Solutions Lab on healthy housing quality. Thank you for the invitation to share some thoughts at the beginning of what will be an important conversation, one that will hopefully have an impact on health and wellbeing through quality housing. When […]

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