Ending violence against people experiencing homelessness starts with upholding their human rights

August 3, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Human Rights Commission

Following attacks on people experiencing homelessness, Marie-Claude Landry, Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and Marie-Josée Houle, Federal Housing Advocate, issue the following statement:

We are horrified and deeply concerned by the frequent attacks on people experiencing homelessness in Canada.

In recent days and months, we have seen deliberate acts of violence aimed at a group of people who are in the most vulnerable circumstances in our society. These attacks are outrageous, unacceptable, and must be treated as hate crimes.

It is a terrible reality that hatred and aggression towards people experiencing homelessness happens regularly and openly. People experiencing homelessness are more vulnerable to violence compared to people who are housed.

No one in Canada should feel threatened because of who they are or the circumstances they are in. Nobody is immune to the damage inflicted by hate. Hate dehumanizes people. It creates division and erodes our sense of empathy and compassion for each other. We must all stand up to hatred and the people who spread it.

People experiencing homelessness are already deprived of their right to adequate housing along with countless other human rights. They deserve safety, dignity and protection. Upholding their human right to housing and protecting them from violence is a matter of life or death.


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