Canadian Human Rights Commission welcomes Canada’s first Federal Housing Advocate

February 4, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Human Rights Commission

Following the appointment by Order in Council of Marie-Josée Houle as Canada’s first Federal Housing Advocate, Marie-Claude Landry, Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission issues the following statement:

The Canadian Human Rights Commission welcomes the appointment of Marie-Josée Houle as Canada’s First Federal Housing Advocate. This is an important step towards meaningful access to human rights justice for people facing housing need and homelessness in Canada.

Housing is a human right. It is unacceptable that people still experience fundamental inequalities when it comes to housing in Canada. As we continue to face the effects of a global pandemic and the housing crisis, never before has the right to housing been so urgent.

The new Federal Housing Advocate will be an important and independent voice who pushes for change on widespread housing issues and homelessness that continue to deny people an adequate place to live in Canada.

The Commission looks forward to providing support and working in partnership with the Advocate as they carry out their duties. We all have a role to play to ensure meaningful action on housing need and homelessness.


Background and Quick Facts

  • 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 Advocate is an independent, nonpartisan watchdog, empowered to drive meaningful action on housing need and homelessness in Canada.
  • 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 will amplify the voices of those facing housing need and homelessness in Canada, make recommendations to improve Canada’s housing laws, policies and programs, and hold governments to account on their human rights obligations.
  • People in Canada who are affected by housing need or homelessness will have an opportunity to participate by making a submission to the Advocate on the systemic housing issues they are facing.
  • The National Housing Strategy Act creates a series of accountability tools that aim to address housing need and homelessness in Canada, including the National Housing Strategy, the Federal Housing Advocate, and the National Housing Council.
  • The National Housing Strategy was released on November 22, 2017 and promised legislation that included a rights-based approach to housing. The legislation, called An Act respecting a national housing strategy, or simply the National Housing Strategy Act, was introduced in April 2019 and received Royal Assent on June 21, 2019. It came into force on July 9, 2019.

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