The adoption of the National Housing Strategy Act has uncovered gaps around the application of a human rights-based approach to housing. This approach includes the principles of non-discrimination, inclusion, participation and accountability. This helps to ensure that people who have been made vulnerable have a voice and are able to live in dignity.
The Shift Demonstration project aims to support cities with navigating human rights-based housing policy and strategies. It will provide them with the knowledge and tools to apply a human rights-based lens to their own housing strategies. The outcomes and lessons learned from this project will also help create new insights on a human rights-based approach to housing in Canada.
3 Key Innovations
Equip municipal governments with adequate knowledge and supportive tools for adopting human rights-based housing strategies.
Outline best practices to guide the implementation of human rights-based housing strategies in collaboration with municipal and grassroots organizations.
Develop a model for supporting human rights-based housing strategies.
Project scope and expected outcomes
Securing the right to housing
The Shift is a global movement to secure the right to housing. It was initiated by Leilani Farha, former United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the right to housing. Shift partners include United Cities and Local Governments and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The Shift team also includes lawyers, campaigners, filmmakers, community advocates, journalists and researchers.
The Shift team will lead this demonstration project, with support from the Canadian Urban Institute and the McConnell Foundation. The team is comprised of subject matter experts in the field of human rights-based approaches to housing. The City of Toronto, the City of Kitchener, the City of Yellowknife and the City of Victoria are also key partners in the project. The Shift will work with these municipal governments to develop and implement human right-based housing strategies that are tailored to their communities.
Bringing together municipal authorities and grassroots organizations
The Shift will document the best international and local practices to implement a human rights-based approaches to housing policies. These will be intended for a Canadian audience, but will also be adaptable to an international context.
The project has 3 primary objectives:
- Bring together a wide range of stakeholders, including from civil society, the housing sector and municipal governments. These participants will contribute to the demonstration project and engage in capacity-building and knowledge mobilization activities around human rights-based housing strategies.
- Seek input from stakeholders about capacity-building and knowledge mobilization activities. This will help to identify key ways of supporting human rights-based housing strategies.
- Develop knowledge transfer materials and undertake capacity-building and knowledge mobilization activities on human rights-based housing strategies. These will be performed with a wide array of stakeholders, including municipal governments.
A toolkit for municipal government and civil society organizations
The Shift will develop a public toolkit to help municipal governments and civil society organizations with issues related to human rights-based housing. This will enable governments to develop an approach to implementing human rights-based approaches that is appropriate to the local context. It will also help civil society organizations collaborate with local governments that are interested in implementing a human rights-based housing strategy.
The toolkit will be developed for the Canadian context, with a view to future translation and adaptation for international use.
Developing a model to support organizations
In addition to the toolkit, the Shift will develop a framework for governments to guide local consultations on human rights-based approaches. In particular, the framework will support the development and use of materials to ensure meaningful human rights-based public consultations. This framework will be available through the Shift website for organizations and governments that are interested in adopting this approach.
Participant feedback and knowledge-sharing activities will also guide the creation of a model for supporting human rights-based housing strategies. The project team believes this model will help expand the use of human-rights based housing strategies. In particular, it will enable municipal governments and grassroots organizations to collaborate on human rights-based housing strategies. Lessons learned and evidence gathered will be shared with governments, organizations and researchers interested in rights-based housing strategies.
Program: NHS Demonstrations Initiative (Directed Stream)
Demonstration Title: The Shift
Project Team: The Shift
Location: BC, Ontario and Northwest Territories, with national dissemination
Project Collaborators / Partners:
- Canadian Urban Institute
- McConnell Foundation
- City of Kitchener, ON
- City of Toronto, ON
- City of Yellowknife, NT
- City of Victoria, BC
Get More Information:
Email Innovation-Research@cmhc.ca or visit our website to learn more about the initiatives under the National Housing Strategy.
Learn more about the human rights-based approach to housing.